Does your job provide you the luxury of flexible working hours? Furthermore, are you able to choose to work from home?
I guess I am quite lucky in the sense that I fall into both of these categories. My job enables me to manage my own time and (within reason) work from home. I currently live and work in the London area and a reasonable commute of around 45 minutes / 32 miles. Unfortunately London’s traffic is unpredictable at the best of times and said commute can sometimes take me in the region of 90 minutes one way. Occasionally cars pile up or big festivals make this time even longer! If you read that news article you will find that people got so annoyed with the delay that they cracked out a cricket bat / football and started playing games!
Why I Hate Commuting
Commuting sucks. There is no two ways about it. Firstly, it is expensive. My journey costs around £8 per day in diesel and even more in proportionate car maintenance / servicing costs. If I can work from home 1 day a week, it will leave me with around £35 a month extra in the bank – or £380 a year better of. This is equivalent to almost double that on equivalent pay rise (when you factor in deductions for tax / national insurance. If I can work from home 2 days a week, I can double these savings and will be £70 a month better off after tax! With all of the new cloud based systems that let people more easily work from home these days, you can live in one country and work in another one! For example, you could still maintain a residency in London whilst working for a Canadian finance company simply by using a cloud accounting software package like Provisor.
The car depreciation costs also concern me. I bought my current car with economy in mind, but am well aware that driving 400+ miles every week is a quick way to knock thousands of the value. Unfortunately I am adding in the region of 20K miles a year and by the time I look to get rid of it in a few years time, it will have done about 100K miles. Many of my friends at work have bought themselves fantastic looking new cars, but while I am regularly commuting into work, it is not a good option for me.
Then there are the psychological benefits. Commuting is mind-numbing and seriously boring. The route is tedious and quite frankly a waste of time. It is of course frequently stressful and definitely not a good thing by any means.
WFH: It’s a Win-Win Situation
So you can probably tell by this stage in the article that I am quite a strong advocate of being able to work from home. That said, I do believe that it is important to collaborate in a face-face environment on a regular basis. Instant messaging, email, VOIP from a sip provider, video calls and other virtual sharing is all fine and well, but definitely does not compete with face to face time.
The ability to work from home on a semi-regular basis enables you to be ultra productive (I work the time that I would usually be driving) and give you back some sanity…. and perhaps most importantly for personal finance junkies, this saves us a small fortune!
I plan to take the money saving element of this a step further and start cycling into work a couple of days each week. This would mean that I would potentially only need to drive once a week! In addition to saving me a small fortune (£140 ish per month) this of course has the added health benefits with the exercise that I would get.
It’s a Looooong Way
A few months back I bought myself a road bike for my birthday. With this in mind I have slowly (but surely) started venturing out on longer trips. I have bought myself a new innertube, wheel lever and CO2 pump from eBay and am pretty much good-to-go. All I need now is the motivation (and courage) to go for it!
Perhaps the £8 per trip I will save will be spent on fuel to feed me energy!?