Working from home has its perks.

Work Snow Days

The snowy view from my home office.

The perks are especially magnified this time of year. With weathermen calling for over a foot of snow this weekend, my blood pressure isn’t really impacted. I’m not going anywhere.

In this post, I thought it might be fun to recap the snow-related benefits of a work-from-home lifestyle.

Finding the Safest Path to Work

The private sector doesn’t stop when snow and ice cover the roads. If you have a corporate job across town, your options are either to take a vacation day or brave the elements.

If you work from home, your path to work is the same as any other day. Simply step into your office, fire up your computer, and you’re ready to go.

Economic Trade Offs

When you work outside the home, snow makes it even more costly to get things done. As I’ve detailed in other posts, you already have to pay for transportation, fuel, and a nice wardrobe. When the weather turns bad, you also face:

  • Accelerated depreciation of your vehicle due to salt on the road
  • Increased risk of vehicular damage
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Greater need for more dress clothes, such as topcoats, gloves, scarves, and hats

If you own a business, stop and think about the negative impact that snow can have on your bottom line (under a traditional work model). Instead of your staff showing up as planned, people take vacation or (worse) call in “sick.” Under a virtual work model, your staff shows up as planned and your goals move forward.

Family Time

The news channels insist that you “give yourself plenty of time” when driving to work in snow. The only problem is that you’re already looking for ways to spend more time with family. Leaving early for work and coming home late due to slow road conditions isn’t all that enjoyable.

Compare this to the work-from-home model, which actually affords more family time in this scenario. School is cancelled, which makes it possible for you to eat all three meals with your children. You might even find a few minutes to sneak away and play in the snow. What could be better than that!

One Potential Hiccup to Consider

Ice has been known to knock out power. In fact, in 2010, we were without power for several days. When your business model is largely dependent upon billing hours online, a power outage can be a knock-out punch.

There are some steps you can take to mitigate this risk. For starters, always have at least one back-up Internet device at your disposal. Many smartphones now offer a Wifi hotspot feature, but you can also invest in a free-standing hotspot as well. With regard to power, you may consider a portal power device or generator. Be sure to shop around and find one that has positive online reviews – and fits your budget. Keep in mind that most outages only last a few hours, so don’t go overboard. There’s only so much you can do to mitigate your risk of downtime.
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Written by Matt Keener

Matt Keener is the original "Executive in Sweatpants," having built a successful online consulting business (from home). His best-selling book offers tips for capitalizing on outsourcing and freelancing. Matt holds an MBA and has been featured by many recognizable brands, including Upwork (formerly oDesk), Elance, Insightly, the Dave Ramsey Show, and Entrepreneur.com.

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