Working from home is not for everyone. But, for the right kind of person, it’s the best way to work. The biggest reason I’ve worked exclusively online for the past seven years is that personal freedom is my most important value.
But, the truth is personal freedom isn’t one thing. It’s made of several small freedoms — things that seem insignificant on their own, but when bundled together make life incredible. These small freedoms are the often-overlooked benefits of working from home.
The Freedom to Rock Out or Not
When I’m at home, I can listen to any music I want, as loudly as I want. There is no need for headphones. If there were a hidden camera in my office, you would see me dancing in my chair and bopping my head as I got started working on a project. As I gain momentum and enter the zone, the dancing stops, but the music keeps playing.
Sometimes, when I’m working on a challenging article, I turn the music off. It’s nice to be able to work in my quiet home office when I want to.
The Freedom to Take Ridiculously Long Lunches
Most days, I take two-hour lunch breaks. I love the feeling of not being in a rush. I eat slowly. Often, I leave the house and eat out so that I can remember what the outside world is like. I listen to podcasts as I drive around town.
I also use this time to go for long walks or run errands. Nobody is watching the clock, waiting for me to get back to the office. Sometimes I even stop and read a book in a park for an hour.
There is something soothing about eating a leisurely lunch.
The Freedom to Run Errands in the Middle of the Day
The worst time to get a haircut is Saturday morning. I don’t have to worry about that. I get my hair cut in the middle of the day and rarely have to wait. I’ve even been known to pull my kids out of school for lunch and a haircut just to avoid weekend crowds.
I also get to save time by shopping at the grocery store in the middle of the day. Being able to set my own schedule means that I get to avoid the crowds for almost every errand.
The Freedom to Pick Up My Children from School
We live too far from the school for my kids to be able to walk. But, instead of putting them on the bus. I get to take them and pick them up from school. I get to hear from them all about their days.
We also get to talk about everything from music to friends to The Mandalorian. Every day I’m reminded that our time together is limited, and so I savor each moment with them.
The Freedom to Avoid Office Contamination
I rarely get sick. Part of the reason I don’t get colds or the flu very often is because I don’t have to shake hands with anyone on a regular basis. I get to avoid all of the contaminated surfaces that you interact with at an office.
I never worry about coworkers coming in sick.
The Freedom to Not Work with People for Any Reason I Choose
Poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay once said:
I love humanity, but I hate people.
I feel the same way. Working from home means I get to choose my clients and coworkers. Sometimes I just get a bad vibe from someone. I decline to work with them. I don’t have to justify my decision to anyone.
Being able to work with people I enjoy lowers my stress and makes work more fun.
The Freedom to Not Work at Home
Working from home doesn’t mean I have to actually work from home. I have the freedom to work from anywhere. Sometimes I work from coffee shops. Sometimes, I get crazy and take a long hike with nothing but a notebook. I take long breaks and write in my notebook. If I need to, I can also write on my phone.
There is no need to ask for permission. Work fits into my life. I don’t have to try and fit my life around my work.
I’m not a digital nomad, but because I work online, my work doesn’t tie me to any one place.
These small freedoms make life more enjoyable. For me, working from home has meant that I don’t have to long for retirement or pine for a time when I can use my vacation days. I love my work and how it fits into my life.
You can’t buy that kind of freedom.