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I was first offered the opportunity to telework full-time 10 years ago. I jumped at the chance and never looked back. At that time, I lived in Lawrenceville and commuted to Alpharetta. I was thrilled at the prospect of reclaiming countless hours consumed by the daily trek through the gridlock of the metro area’s northern suburbs. With the additional incentive of savings in gas money, I had all the motivation I needed to be a successful home-based teleworker.
In the ensuing decade, I’ve come to appreciate many of the smaller, unexpected benefits of telework. In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things about working from home:

  • Comfort and control of my environment. I’ve never been the work in pajamas type. My weekday morning routine still includes taking a shower and getting dressed in real clothes. But, every day is a casual day and I never wear shoes. On beautiful spring and fall days, I open my office window. When I’m not on a conference call, I’m enjoying my own iTunes playlist or Pandora station while I work.
  • Reduced stress and increased energy. As a natural introvert, the virtual work environment is a good fit for my personality. Until I began working from home, I didn’t realize how much energy I was expending in daily social interactions at the office. Don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy network of friends and family and I’m in no danger of becoming a hermit. I do enjoy and appreciate my co-workers, but for me, it’s just as effective and much less stressful to interact with my professional colleagues primarily by telephone, email, instant messaging and desktop sharing technology.
  • Work-life balance: the little things. I can put a load of laundry in the washer and grab a healthy snack from my kitchen in the same time it would have taken me to walk to the office break room and buy junk food from the vending machine. I never lose a half-day of work waiting for the cable installer, furniture delivery truck or plumber. If I finish my workday at 5 p.m., by 5:05 p.m. I can be in the kitchen starting dinner, on my way to work out, or winding down with a beverage while catching up on social media.
  • Increased productivity. Even the busy times when my workload requires that I put in extra hours are less stressful and more efficient as a teleworker. There is no need to stay at the office late or lug a laptop and a stack of papers back and forth from my office to home. I can walk away from my desk, eat dinner with my family, and return to my home office for a few late-night or week-end hours when the email onslaught has slowed down and I can actually get some work done.

Not only does telework make my life easier, it benefits my employer– in real estate savings, employee retention, and the aforementioned increased productivity. And then there are the environmental benefits of eliminating the emissions of a 10-year daily auto commute! Telework may not be right for every job or personality type, but for me it’s been a win-win-win proposition all the way.

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