Working from home vs in the office

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wbadbada
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Working from home vs in the office

Post by wbadbada »

I work for a tech startup in NYC and I'm considering working from home as it's an option for me. My boss is completely fine with it and encourages me to work from home if I'm more productive. I've worked from home before and I'm equally productive as I am in the office, probably more since people can't distract me.

There's free food every day, which I eat breakfast, lunch and snack before leaving. So all I have to worry about is dinner every weekday and meals on the weekend. Thus, I reduce my expenses for groceries.

If I work from home, I would save an hour daily of getting ready + commute time, including 30-45 min of extra sleep. There's no commute cost as my work pays for it.

I'm pursuing early retirement, so I greatly value the free food as I can save more money. The tradeoff is time.

What would you do?
Last edited by wbadbada on Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
msk
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by msk »

My daughter has been working from home for the past 15 years. A 1000 miles from her head office. Happy with the arrangement. I have often admired her discipline. On work days she does not get distracted. At all!
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rocket354
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by rocket354 »

wbadbada wrote: Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:46 pm I work for a tech startup in NYC and I'm considering working from home as it's an option for me. My boss is completely fine with it and encourages me to work from home if I'm more productive. I've worked from home before and I'm equally productive as I am in the office, probably more since people can't distract me.

There's free food every day, which I eat breakfast, lunch and snack before leaving. So all I have to worry about is dinner every weekday and meals on the weekend. Thus, I reduce my expenses for groceries.

If I work from home, I would save an hour daily of getting ready + commute time, including 30-45 min of extra sleep. There's no commute cost as my work pays for it.

I'm pursuing early retirement, so I greatly value the free food as I can save more money. The tradeoff is time.

What would you do?
I work from home. You have to take into consideration the cost of your commute. Whether it is your own vehicle or public transportation there is still a cost. And you have to value your time. I doubt the two meals + snacks you get a day are worth the time+money that goes into your commute.

You can eat very nicely at home for $3/meal if you cook yourself, so you are effectively saving yourself maybe $6/day. Most cars cost >$0.50/mile so if your round trip commute is 12 miles, that's the difference right there.Then there's the risk to your health consideration that is every mile you are in a car is another chance to be in an accident; you may be careful but many others are not.

You didn't go into specifics of your commute method or distance, but it sounds likely WFH is the cheaper alternative. For me, the time and commute savings (which would be 15 mins each way) is enormous. The only potential drawback I've seen is it can be a bit isolating. If you're particularly social you should find other ways to get that out of your system.
aarondearu
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by aarondearu »

You could work from home part of the week.
123
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by 123 »

There is something to be said for being in the office since you build relationships with co-workers and get a sense of what's happening in the organization.

The primary problem with always working from home is that if the time comes where layoffs are necessary it is always easiest to let the remote workers go first, they are for the most part often "out of site, out of mind". It's easier to lay off people you don't see daily.
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mancich
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by mancich »

I worked from home everyday in my last role. Now it is only on Fridays. I miss working from home everyday. I would do it, and maybe going in a few times per month to touch base in person, connect with other people, etc.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I had the option of just going into the office one or two days a week, but I chose to not work from home. I would be too distracted at home and I felt that the interpersonal relationships with my employees and coworkers and higher ups was important. I also would be able to get a more immediate response to issues. But I lived within walking distance during all the years I worked, within 2 miles at the most, so commuting was not an issue. There were some weeks when my vehicle would not move except on the weekends. It was a relief to leave at the end of the day, exhale and enjoy a long walk to decompress.
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Artful Dodger
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by Artful Dodger »

Based on what you’ve posted, working from home seems to be a no brainer. You said you were at least as productive, and that’s the key. Most people would value the time savings far more than the the food cost savings.

It seems such an obvious decision, I wonder if there are some other factors in play. Maybe you value the social interaction you receive at work, both professional and conversing with colleagues at meals. There can be a career advantage to being one of those in the office versus those working offsite. Maybe you’re picking up on that.
Last edited by Artful Dodger on Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
HomeStretch
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by HomeStretch »

A mix of working from home and the office might make the most sense for the reasons stated in other posts. I found that having set days of the week where I was in the office worked best for me and for my team/boss. While working from home is great and productive, you build relationships and learn a lot by being in the office too.
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Bogle7
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by Bogle7 »

Old fart who does three index funds, baby.
ThankYouJack
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by ThankYouJack »

I prefer working from home but assuming a short commute, I think going into the office is nice maybe 1 or 2 days a week.

But I work from home 100% myself and love the flexibility as I take a lot of afternoons off for hobbies and family. The downside is that I work a decent amount at night but I don't mind working at night. I also find it tougher to compartmentalize work while working from home. But for people with set hours (~8-5) this probably doesn't apply to them.
herpfinance
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by herpfinance »

HomeStretch wrote: Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:37 am A mix of working from home and the office might make the most sense for the reasons stated in other posts. I found that having set days of the week where I was in the office worked best for me and for my team/boss. While working from home is great and productive, you build relationships and learn a lot by being in the office too.
+1.

I work in the software industry and being present in person allows a far greater degree of collaboration, discussing issues and solutions, as well as aligning expectations. There's also the social aspect which should not be underestimated. Additionally, when you leave the office it's easier to leave your work behind until the next day.

That's not to say that working from home doesn't have its advantages, as it definitely does. Saving the commute is a nice perk, and you get to plan your breaks with greater discretion. Also knowing that you won't face interruptions can be a major boost to productivity.

Ideally I would go into the office on most days and work from home on occasion.
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visualguy
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by visualguy »

One thing to keep in mind is that after working largely from home for a long time, it's extremely hard to adjust to working from an office again.

Working from home is particularly good for pre-retirement jobs where you aren't looking to be promoted, and are more likely to retire as a next step rather than have to adjust to going to an office again.
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gunn_show
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by gunn_show »

rocket354 wrote: Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:31 am
wbadbada wrote: Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:46 pm I work for a tech startup in NYC and I'm considering working from home as it's an option for me. My boss is completely fine with it and encourages me to work from home if I'm more productive. I've worked from home before and I'm equally productive as I am in the office, probably more since people can't distract me.

There's free food every day, which I eat breakfast, lunch and snack before leaving. So all I have to worry about is dinner every weekday and meals on the weekend. Thus, I reduce my expenses for groceries.

If I work from home, I would save an hour daily of getting ready + commute time, including 30-45 min of extra sleep. There's no commute cost as my work pays for it.

I'm pursuing early retirement, so I greatly value the free food as I can save more money. The tradeoff is time.

What would you do?
I work from home. You have to take into consideration the cost of your commute. Whether it is your own vehicle or public transportation there is still a cost. And you have to value your time. I doubt the two meals + snacks you get a day are worth the time+money that goes into your commute.

You can eat very nicely at home for $3/meal if you cook yourself, so you are effectively saving yourself maybe $6/day. Most cars cost >$0.50/mile so if your round trip commute is 12 miles, that's the difference right there.Then there's the risk to your health consideration that is every mile you are in a car is another chance to be in an accident; you may be careful but many others are not.

You didn't go into specifics of your commute method or distance, but it sounds likely WFH is the cheaper alternative. For me, the time and commute savings (which would be 15 mins each way) is enormous. The only potential drawback I've seen is it can be a bit isolating. If you're particularly social you should find other ways to get that out of your system.
Lot of great responses, and rocket hit on a lot of the same comments I would make. A lot of it depends on what you do and what interaction you want or need from your role - are you just a coder and it doesn't matter, are you an exec and facetime does matter, are you a people leader and it does matter, are you an IC sales role and it matters less. On and on.

I have been a remote WFH sales guy for 7+ years now and love it, never want to go back. No commute, no getting dressed, my vehicles are in top shape with little miles, etc. (another hidden fact is your cars will last 2x as long since they will rarely get used, if you have cars). And I am in the middle of my career, long way to go. But my current role/company is also mostly remote, so there is not really one place to live to be "in the thick of things" anyway, especially since I cover a wide territory and it really doesn't matter. What matters most is that I am productive and can get to where my customers are quickly. I also get in front of various members of my team at many junctures, be it customer visits, sales kickoff meetings, team meetings at HQ, etc. So I really don't go too long between seeing most execs that I need to see to keep face time. But ultimately one thing matters the most to me: production. I am in sales, and as long as I produce then it doesn't matter where I live or how I do it. The comments about WFH employees being first to go in layoffs, I call bullpoop. If you are in the top 10% for what you do, you are typically far safer than most, and very visible within your organization that way. If you are just "an average guy working from home" then sure, maybe your job is at risk some day. Just don't be that guy.

I joke with my wife, that the cost of a new employer to ever get me back into a 9-5 office job would be so high, we would be rich if anyone ever sealed the deal on such an offer. I expect it will never happen. Especially as a dad, there are no trade-offs for seeing my kid(s) every morning day and night, more than 99% of dads that go into an office for 90% of a kid's awake hours. I make my own coffee and already have a salad waiting for me in the fridge for lunch. Just plan ahead, and after the months and years go by, you will create your own processes and have it down to a science. I do. I would not trade it for anything. I am far more productive at home than an office as well. It helps to have a spare bedroom with a door for a home office, but we bought this house already knowing we needed a layout that fit the family and dad's WFH office. Anyways... do it, don't think twice.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by SmileyFace »

Does it have to be one or the other? If you opt to work from home do you lose your ability to go into the office twice a week?

In my opinion the time is worth more than the free meals. Working from home for me (having dumped a 45 minute to hour commute) allows me to opt to work more hours (and be more productive) and/or fit in a longer work out. I personally became more fit and healthy when I started working for home for two reasons:
1) More exercise - instead of commuting in the morning I had more time for a longer work-out
2) Healthier food - the food I was eating at work was heavier than the food I am preparing for myself at home.

I'm now being presented with a new role at a new company and I would likely have to work out of the office most days. While the salary increase could be substantial - and potential (albeit lower probability) total financial rewards (pre-IPO company) could be high - the change in life-style gives me pause.
Last edited by SmileyFace on Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
GatorFL
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by GatorFL »

visualguy wrote: Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:47 am One thing to keep in mind is that after working largely from home for a long time, it's extremely hard to adjust to working from an office again.

Working from home is particularly good for pre-retirement jobs where you aren't looking to be promoted, and are more likely to retire as a next step rather than have to adjust to going to an office again.
Completely agree. I have been working from home in my last job until retirement for the past several years. I am not looking to get promoted and have turned down promotions as a trade off for the WFH lifestyle. I love the ability to concentrate and to be available for things that come up. I downshifted from MegaCorp into this job and view it as a great decision.

I work in technology and while I do miss some of the social aspect of being in the office, I feel my work life balance is much better. I am more relaxed and more productive.

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rich126
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by rich126 »

I've never had the opportunity to do so full time. I once took a second job and all of that work was out of the home since it was a startup w/o any real offices.

The negative is the lack of social interaction. And possibly out of sight, out of mind, with regards to getting managers attention and getting on their radar for promotions.

Personally, if I could find a job as I enter retirement where I could work an average of 20 hours at home doing technical stuff I would definitely do it since I enjoy that work. I don't enjoy the politics of being in many offices.

The other negative (kind of) is that you can be so much more productive at home than in a office it seems like I could do 40 hours of work in 20-25 hours at home. And this is sad but in most cases my computing equipment is much better at home than at work so that would be another huge plus.

My brother just took a job this year where he is working from home. So far he really enjoys it.
Atilla
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by Atilla »

Working from home totally rocks. I'm a firm believer in having a dedicated office.

The flexibility is great - wake up with coffee and start working right away. After a couple hours take a break and go for a run.

Quick self-made lunch then take a walk with the dog.

If you have to work a bit late - no biggie because no commute home.

WAY fewer miles put on the car.

No one steals packages off your front porch and no one breaks into your house during the day when normally everyone is gone at work.
EddyB
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by EddyB »

DaftInvestor wrote: Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:33 pm Does it have to be one or the other? If you opt to work from home do you lose your ability to go into the office twice a week?
After working at home near my office for a while, I moved several hundred miles away. Had I stayed near the office, I would not have benefitted nearly so much from my own remote-work arrangement. Practically speaking, I cannot go to the office one or two days a week, and staying close enough to do so would have meant not having some of the best benefits.
Last edited by EddyB on Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Katietsu
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by Katietsu »

I do not think the “money” difference should be enough to be the primary deciding factor. Do what works best for you personally and professionally. Do not focus so closely on pennies on this or any other decision that will so significantly affect your life. Nickels and dimes maybe.
9liner
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by 9liner »

As long as you're the type of individual who would be disciplined enough to work from home (i.e. not easily distracted), this would be a no-brainer. The time saved, reduced stress, and unrealized monetary costs involved in a commute (even if your commute is paid for by your employer) would almost certainly offset the insignificant amount of your free meals. In addition, in times of financial austerity, I feel as if "free meals" would be one of the easiest ways for a corporation to trim the fat. The fact that you would save yourself some time by not having to go into the office is invaluable. It is very difficult to place a true dollar value on time and time is something that you can never get back.

IMHO working from home is a no-brainer in this situation.
levelride
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by levelride »

I agree with the many recommendations of a blended approach.

My office is in DC, but I'm based out of my home in another state. As a consultant, I'm on the road 50% of the time; the other 50% I work from my home office. After 1.5 years of doing this, I would say there are both advantages and disadvantages to working from home.

Advantages include no commute (expect to airport on days traveling), the luxury of not getting into business clothes when working from home, the ability to get some chores done while you work (e.g laundry), and some flexibility with the schedule that allows for things such as a mid-day run at lunch.

Disadvantages include the tendency to work long hours each day (it's easier than you think), communication with others is primarily electronic, and social connections are not as firm (it's easy to feel lonely).

A blended approach would afford the perks of both options while minimizing the disadvantages.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Working from home vs in the office

Post by JoeRetire »

wbadbada wrote: Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:46 pm I work for a tech startup in NYC and I'm considering working from home as it's an option for me. My boss is completely fine with it and encourages me to work from home if I'm more productive. I've worked from home before and I'm equally productive as I am in the office, probably more since people can't distract me.

There's free food every day, which I eat breakfast, lunch and snack before leaving. So all I have to worry about is dinner every weekday and meals on the weekend. Thus, I reduce my expenses for groceries.

If I work from home, I would save an hour daily of getting ready + commute time, including 30-45 min of extra sleep. There's no commute cost as my work pays for it.

I'm pursuing early retirement, so I greatly value the free food as I can save more money. The tradeoff is time.

What would you do?
If I didn't care at all about career advancement, then I'd probably work from home.
Otherwise, I'd be in the office most days and home some days.

It's hard to imaging the "free food" being a significant factor.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
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