In a recent issue of People Magazine, the First Lady argues that moving into the White House was a surprise blessing for her family. Rather than tearing her nuclear unit apart, it's actual brought them closer together. That's because the President and First Lady essentially "work from home", and daughters Sasha and Malia now get to eat breakfast and dinner with their parents most days.
Michelle Obama's comments got me thinking, especially as I enjoyed spending more time with my own family over the Memorial Day holiday. If the President and First Lady can successfully do their jobs from home, why can't the rest of us? Sure, an argument can be made that their colleagues work out of the White House too. But certainly with the Internet and cell phones, most of us could manage to communicate with our coworkers from just about anywhere.
While I think achieving a better work life balance is priceless, there are also some very strong arguments for why working from home is beneficial financially, even if you telecommute just one or two days a week.
- First, you would save considerable amounts of money by not commuting every day. Depending on how you get to work, it could be on gas and maintenance for your car (the average person drives between 20 and 40 miles a day) or on fares for public transportation.
- Second, you could spend less on child care. Parents who spend two hours a day commuting could potentially save more than $1,000 a year if they pay a sitter $10 an hour.
- Third, if you qualify, you would save money on your taxes by writing off your home office. Check out the IRS's website to see if this makes for you.
- Finally, you could spend less by eating more lunches at home and cutting out a portion of your dry cleaning bill. Saving just $5 a week on a sandwich and another $5 on a pressed shirt and you'll have an extra $500 a year for other expenses.
Unfortunately, it's often the boss who needs the convincing, not the parents. But surely, if the President can manage to successfully "work from home" all the time, we could all manage to do our jobs well telecommuting just once or twice a week.
White House image by dcjohn, C.C. 2.0.