I Just Out-Performed Bitcoin by Working Remotely

Working remotely returned more on my investment than bitcoin in 2017

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.

Time

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.

Question:

Have you ever done something really simple that’s paid extraordinary dividends in your life?

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8 Comments

    1. Yeah for sure – I think having some sort of ‘value prop’ argument makes it an easier sell. In my case my boss was already primed for the convo so I didn’t even bother with that haha

  1. Just think how rich you’d be if you moved closer to work? 😉
    Nice analysis. I should show this post to my buddy who’s all over BitCoin. I tell him he’s nuts, even as his 2K investment soars past 5K in less than two weeks. I’m not biting.

    1. Hahaha, if I could just work from home every day and keep my salary that’d be nice. Honestly even if I dropped down by some percentage, I’d probably still consider it. Though being in the office DOES make some things easier.

      And yeah bitcoin seems to have plateaued a bit for right now. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares in 2018…

  2. That’s great! As a two-year teleworker, the only thing I’d say is to watch out for “workday creep” (I just made that up). It’s easy to start working longer hours because you’re at home and just need to walk over to the computer in order to work. It’s also easy to switch to personal tasks during the day, and then wind up working nights and weekends to catch up.

    1. I worked from home for three years, so plenty aware of what my problems are – and I try to avoid them when possible 🙂 I like to limit my personal stuff to 15 minutes in the morning (start laundry), over lunchtime (eat and then shovel like I did yesterday) and then some more time in the afternoon. I tend to work a little bit longer, but since I’m already home, I don’t mind.

  3. Congrats man. Yeah, sometimes you just gotta ask for what you want and voila – you might just get it.

    Car-commuting sucks. I started cycling in to work this year after they added bike lanes on one of the roads I need to go on. It was a bit too dangerous before that. I love it, I haven’t even had to get an oil change for my car all year!

    1. Thanks! Asking is half the battle – I feel like most people don’t even bother to bring the subject up out of fear or something. Meh. Worst that happens is they say no, right??

      If my commute wasn’t 26 miles I’d definitely bike in. I’m jealous of your bike lanes!!

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