Have you ever done something a little bit on a whim that ended up paying huge dividends? I had one of these experiences this week. No, I didn’t start my own cryptocurrency or anything like that. After thinking about our semi-crappy one-car situation and getting frustrated over the past few weeks about our schedules, I decided that Monday was as good a day as any to ask my boss about the possibility of working remotely one day a week.
To my delight, she was super on board with it. I probably should have expected as much – in addition to receiving pretty great feedback in general, I knew she was open to working remotely.
She works from home semi-frequently, and we even have somebody on my team who moved to Hawaii over the summer.
The Pitch of Working Remotely
To say that this was an easy sell was an understatement. It was so easy, in fact, that I am pretty sure my supervisor was surprised I hadn’t asked earlier. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey, I’ve been thinking about how we juggle this whole ‘one car’ situation. What would you think of me working remotely on Fridays? I already asked [Coworker 1/Project Lead] about it and she was on board. I’d still come in for working sessions or anything like that where it’d be easier for me to be here.
Boss: Sure that’s fine with me!
Me: Uh, okay. That was easy.
Boss: Yep! What are your Christmas plans?
Incredible! Just like that, a working arrangement much more appealing to me.
I don’t think this conversation was typical, but I’d been slowly dropping hints on working remotely for the past 4-5 months. My boss knew that we’d moved quite a ways from work and that my commute wasn’t ideal.
She also knew that she wanted to keep me around, and so I felt good that she’d be on board for at least hearing me out.
In a typical scenario, if I hadn’t felt so comfortable about it, I’d have put together more of a compelling argument. The entire decision is self-serving and realistically is a neutral move for the organization.
Sure I may be more productive at home, but I also work on an incredibly collaborative team. We’ll have to see how things pan out on Fridays and if I feel like I’m missing out on important conversations.
The Math of Working Remotely
Working remotely even one day a week has an incredible impact on the amount of time I’ll have and how much money is being spent directly or indirectly on commuting.
Since we were only using one car, my Thursdays and Fridays were a bit messy. I’d drop Kristin off in the morning, then pick her up to go to work out in the afternoon. I’d run other errands normally during that time, and pick her up about an hour later.
This meant that my Thursdays and Fridays saw me leave for work around 6:45am and get back home around 7pm.
With the new schedule though, here’s what we’re tentatively thinking:
Thursday: Drop Kristin off to work out at 6:30. Go in to work. Kristin will procure a ride from a coworker who also works out in the mornings, so I’m off the hook.
Pick Kristin back up at 5pm. Grocery shop for the week, then head home. Probably back by 6pm.
Friday: Kristin takes the car, I hang out at home. Start work around 7ish (when Kristin leaves) and since I work a little longer on Thursdays, wrap up by 230-3.
Overall I initially thought this would save ~3 hours every Friday.
When I do the math though this appears to be even more favorable. In reality I’ll free up about 4 hours of time every week. That’s kind of like getting a 10% raise.
Money: Gas and Wear & Tear
In addition to the time benefits, not having to commute on Fridays will shave off 34 miles of driving each week. Based on the IRS reimbursements for 2017, that’s another ~$855, based on 47 working Fridays annually.
That’s kind of a ‘fluffy’ number, but even gas savings is a few hundred bucks a year.
Best 30 Second Investment
All-in-all, it was the most valuable 30 seconds, career-wise, of 2017. If I do the math, that 30 seconds was effectively buying me back about 188 hours annually (based on 47 working Fridays). Expressed as return on investment, it was around a 75,200% ROI. Even better than Bitcoin this year.
That easy conversation will free up some time to work on things around the house and work on the blog. Not driving will make my soul-sucking 26 mile commute slightly more tolerable.
Anything that makes me happy and puts money back in my pocket is a win for me. And if I’m less crabby it’s a win for Kristin, too, haha.
Have you ever done something really simple that’s paid extraordinary dividends in your life?