Home & Garden

Having a home office is a smart move

Setting up a home office can help you make the most of occasions when you can telecommute.
Setting up a home office can help you make the most of occasions when you can telecommute. Fotolia

Having a home office makes sense even for those of us who report to an office every day.

The day will come when you need to be out to meet a repairman, nurse a sick kid, or wait for a winter storm’s ice to thaw from the roads.

Working from home is part of a culture shift. Telecommuting grew by about 80 percent between 2005 and 2012, according to a report from Global Workplace Analytics.

And the more we work from home, the more money we can expect to save on gas, food, and maybe dry cleaning and coffee drinks.

This also can be good for the environment. One of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States is from burning fossil fuels for transportation, according to the EPA.

Most employers see the benefits, but for other reasons. Flexibility for at least occasional telecommuting can serve businesses well. That was especially true after major winter storms shut down offices in the Northeast for long stretches, said Brie Reynolds, director of online content for FlexJobs, a service for finding and posting remote and flexible jobs.

“Instead of having people home and not working, they (employers) can maintain a basic level of productivity,” Reynolds said.

Here’s what Reynolds suggests for a home office that can sub for corporate cubicle:

▪ High-speed Internet that is secure and stable, whether wired (sometimes preferred) or wireless.

▪ A new-ish desktop or laptop computer. Newer computers tend to have faster processors.

▪ A work area with a door, for times when the dog won’t stop barking.

Karen’s blog: www.charlotteobserver.com/living/home-garden/smarter-living/homelife-blog/; on Twitter @sullivan_kms. See earlier Homelife columns at http://homelifeclt.blogspot.com.