Work life balance

My home internet service crashed and burned yesterday, which was a total pain given DJ and I were both trying to work from home. I say ‘trying’ as, frankly, not an awful lot got done. We were concerned that BT digging up the road had something to do with it. My neighbour’s internet and phone went down the previous day. But when we called AOL, our broadband provider, there a recorded message said there was a widespread network problem and it probably wouldn’t be fixed that day. Drat.

Inevitably a few expletives were uttered. But I got to thinking about my old job and remembered that on average the internet there went down far more often than our home one (fingers crossed!). Our one has crashed twice in past six months, whereas my old work one went down about once a week.

In fact, home working, which I’ve been doing for nearly six months now, has a lot to recommend it, not only in the quality of life but also from a frugal standpoint. No wonder Workwise UK is trying to encourage more businesses to provide flexible and home working opportunities, because it helps them save money too. So Thursday 15 May has been designated National Work from Home day. Get it in the diary!

I used to spend £2,400 a year commuting into London, but now I go in only occasionally and during off-peak times. I also previously spent at least £5 a day on lunch and snacks, even considering the subsidised canteen, and more on snacks or bottles of water, newspapers etc. for the journey back and forth. If we assume £6 a day of expenses for 48 weeks of the year, that’s nearly £1400. Now some days I don’t spend anything at all, and I make my own lunch and snacks using ingredients from the weekly shopping, often using up leftovers. True, it’s possible to do this if you commute and there’s a microwave at work, but you have to remember to take your Tupperware container etc. with you. And there’s always the temptation of abandoning your meagre lunch and going out for slapup meal!

Even with the expenses of home working, such as broadband internet (which we already had anyway), lighting and heating costs (and extra tea bags consumption..), my outgoings have fallen. You also have more time to do things you enjoy, as well as cook casseroles and other meals for the evening – the temptation to eat out or order a takeaway is less because you’re not so exhausted from commuting that you can’t face cooking.

Not that there aren’t downsides. You have to be completely self-motivated – it’s no good if you’d get distracted and want to watch Trisha all day – and the isolation can be difficult. At work you automatically have company and somebody to talk to. At home while you can email and message friends, it isn’t quite the same, so you need to have a routine and make sure you get out of the house. And sometimes it can feel like you’re on top of the shop. But on the whole I think home working is great. Although, of course, I realise I’m extremely lucky that my line of work is compatible with home working, because not everybody’s is.

How do you save money at work? Do you fritter away money on lattes? Or have you found a cheap alternative to commuting?

Happy Easter holidays everybody!


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5 Responses to Work life balance

  1. rik says:

    Have you read "How to be Free" by Tom Hodgkinson by any chance? From the above I\’d say you either have, or you think like him (up to a point)! The whole idea is to take back your own time, spend less so you need to work less. Then you can do want you want to do, not what you have to do. (He\’s also big on growing your own veg.). Worth a look.

  2. health says:

    To spend one RMB,to earn ten RMB.
    that my proposal

  3. piper says:

    Good for you Healthy Lin!  Must check out \’How to be Free\’ Rik – thanks for the suggestion. xxx

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