It’s Tuesday night. Today officially marks the start of my 5th week working from home. Honestly, it’s been a blur. I seriously can’t believe I just wrote the phrase, “5th week”, but it’s true! Yes, just like many of you, I’ve been stuck at home because of this crazy scary virus. At times, it’s been challenging. Quite honestly though, I believe I can think of far more benefits of being stuck at home than I can of the negatives.
You might be pulling your hair out. You might be yelling at your kids every 5 minutes. And, perhaps you’ve even gotten in your car and drove in one big circle just to get out…without being exposed or exposing yourself to anyone else.
You’re saying, “Benefits??! Really??”
Absolutely. I think it might actually be a sad day when I start going back into the office. Here’s why.
1) I See My Kids More
I used to say “goodbye” to my kids at 7:35am (if they were awake) and didn’t see them again until 5:30pm. Then, I saw my son for about an hour before putting him to bed, and my daughter for another hour after that. Not much time at all.
Basically, we just had Saturday and Sunday to quickly bond before my work took me away from them for the next five days.
Now, I get to see them all the time (which is why we have kids right? To spend time with them!).
I’m still working, but since I’m at home I get to see my kids…
- for an extra 25 minutes since I now have no drive-time
- when I come downstairs for a snack
- when I put them down for their naps
- through my window when they’re playing outside with my wife (and sometimes I’ll even sit outside and work while they’re playing)
- and then immediately at 5pm when I’m able to close my computer and appear like a super-hero from my secret lair! (instead of driving for another half-hour) 🙂
It has really been awesome. They’re starting to understand that I still need to work during the day, but they love seeing me around, and I love to see them too!
2) We’re Eating Things We’ve Ignored for Years!
Food is getting low…Hmmm, what can we do with pudding and couscous?… 😉
We used to get down to…you know, like, 50 items in the pantry and then go out and buy some more groceries. It’s a luxury we could afford, so we just did it and didn’t think twice about it.
Now, we think twice about it.
- Do we really want to go to the store with tons of other people?
- Do I really want to touch those doors, those shopping carts, and that gross credit card swipe machine?
Mmmmm, nah. Let’s make it one more day. We’ll see what couscous pudding tastes like.
3) I’m Drinking Far Less Coffee
At work, I would down 5-6 cups of coffee every day.
- It’s free
- It’s a nice warm drink that soothes me (caffeine doesn’t make me jittery)
- I like to hold a mug while I walk around the office, chatting about work and business. It just feels natural and calming.
Now, the more coffee I drink, the more likely it is that we’ll run out… I need to ration myself!
This mentality has had multiple benefits.
- Basically overnight, I have gone from 6 cups of coffee down to one or two – it saves us from going to the grocery store
- All those cups were suddenly costing me money. Now we’re spending far less than we would have, had I kept up the habit.
- I’m drinking more water now, which I hear is good for me 😉
- It’s no longer a vice/addiction. I used to drink coffee on the weekends just because I’d get headaches if I didn’t! Now I can probably power through without.
4) We’re All Exploring Our Property More
Yup, we’re stuck at home. Thankfully we moved onto 6 wooded acres just last year and man are we glad we did right about now! Almost every day, we’ll walk through the front woods, the side woods, the back woods. Just seeing what we can see.
- Mammoth pine trees
- Deer tracks
- A bazillion squirrels and birds
- And even the occasional rabbit that jumps out of some brush once in a while
We’re really enjoying the atmosphere and all of the fresh air. We love the continued exploration and plan to keep it up as long as we can!
5) We’re Hitting Spring Projects with a Vengeance!
With the new property has come a fair amount of work as well.
- trees that are encroaching in on the house and need to be cut down before they become a problem
- areas of landscaping that slope toward the house instead of away from it
- a bunch of leaves that need to get blown far away from the house and drive
- a light faded yellow house that really needs to get painted
- window screens that need to be cleaned and installed
And probably many other projects that I’m not even thinking of right now (perhaps subconsciously on purpose…so as not to overwhelm myself…)
We actually don’t mind the projects. We’re still young and we really like to give houses a face lift – especially our own! Since we’re stuck at home, now is the time for us to get after it – heck, we’ve already taken care of the first two bullet points! Staying at home is great! 🙂
6) I’m Actually Exercising MORE
I’ve seen so many negative tweets about people gaining weight because they’re stuck in the house…
Sure, you can’t go to the gym anymore, but that doesn’t mean you have to get fat!
- Eat less (since you’re moving less)
- Do some at-home workout videos (there are like, a million of them on YouTube…just pick one)
For me, I used to squeeze my workouts in during lunch-time.
- I’d hop in my truck at 12:00pm,
- get to the gym at 12:10pm,
- change out of my office clothes, into my gym clothes, and start my workout at 12:15pm.
- I would then workout for 30 minutes,
- take a shower, change back into my office clothes,
- and then eat my home-made lunch while driving back to the office, getting back around 1pm.
You know what I do now?
- I stand up from my desk at 12:00pm,
- Walk to the basement and start working out at 12:01pm
- I exercise until 12:50pm or so,
- and then make a lunch before I sit back down at my desk.
Also, I can get out for runs more easily now and I don’t have to worry about sweat dripping down my face even after my shower (anybody else relate?…)! After being stuck at home for a couple months, I might just be in the best shape of my life!
7) Less Laundry
Aside from all the sweaty work-out clothes that I’m still producing, our laundry volume has gone way down. Sorry dress shirts, but I just don’t need you anymore.
Hmmm, should I wear the same sweatshirt that I put on yesterday? Yup, I think so!
8) Spending Far Less on Gas
We’re stuck at home….and going nowhere except to get groceries once every two weeks or so (that is, if we don’t get them delivered – apparently it’s free for the first three deliveries!). I think in the month of March we spent $60 on gas. In April, we’re on pace to spend $0.
That works for me!!
9) My Wife Is Getting the Sleep She Deserves
My wife has a much harder job than me. She’s a manager and is in charge of two other employees. To put it nicely…her reports are basket cases.
- Their emotions run wild,
- they rarely listen to what she instructs them to do, and
- they almost never produce anything of value for the firm…
The only reason she hasn’t gotten rid of them is because they’re our kids…
That’s right ladies and gentlemen. She has the nearly impossible job of being a stay-at-home mom.
Now that I’m working from home, she can sleep in longer and take extended naps during the day (our oldest needs a very short nap, but she can sit quietly with me while I work, until the youngest wakes up an hour later).
Based on what I’ve seen these last few weeks, I’ll gladly give my wife all the sleep I possibly can!
10) My Wife Can Actually Leave the House!
Here’s the other big perk of me working from home. My wife is no longer a permanent prisoner in our house! That’s right, the quarantine has actually given her freedom! 🙂
She can now, without worry…
- explore the woods
- do a little landscape work
- walk for miles and miles if she so chooses
I’m home and can pitch in if the kids wake up early from their nap or are about to kill each other…or themselves (accidentally of course… When do kids develop common sense? Hopefully they’re coming up on that magical age soon…).
11) More Time to Talk, Plan, Communicate
When I was working at the office. I wouldn’t talk to my wife in the morning (it takes her a good hour to fully wake up, even with the help of America’s wonder-drug, coffee). And, by the time I would get home and eat I was pretty tired. And then it was time to play with the kids! So, by 8:30pm when everyone was in bed, it was pretty much all we could to just sit and watch a show on TV, or just go to bed early!
You know what we do now?
We actually talk once in a while.
We talk about:
- our kids and the cool stuff they did that day
- our next financial move since the stock market is on clearance right now
- a potential add-on to our house (we’re thinking master suite – I was fairly negative about it at first…but I’m slowly starting to ease up my grip on our dollars. I’m cheap…it takes a while sometimes.
- the government, our next president
- the world that’s changing before our very eyes
- we even talked about our love for music the other day
It’s been refreshing. I hope we find a way to keep it going, even after I start punching the clock at the office again.
12) Proves That We Could Actual Handle Early Retirement
Ha, this is a good one. My wife and I are both pretty hard-headed. She’s right 100% of the time…and so am I. It makes for some pretty interesting “discussions” sometimes.
I used to talk about early retirement (you know, the FIRE movement more or less), and she’d get nervous…
- about the cost of health insurance,
- about what we’d actually do with our time,
- and most importantly…about the fact that we might not be able to handle each other 24/7 (she never expressed it quite like this, but that’s the sense I get from the blank stares and long pauses as she talks about it… lol!)
Now that I’ve essentially been home 24/7 and we’re actually having a good time with it, this just proves that early retirement is possible. Sure, I’ll still need something to do during the day (hello…blogging! :)) and so will she (she enjoys horse-riding and photography), but with just those few things, I think we’d make it work juuuuuust fine!
Are You Stuck At Home? What Cool Things Are You Discovering?
So sure, there are some negative things about being stuck at home….like, not being able to go anywhere…. but I’m sure you have a few examples of ways this has actually improved your life. Heck, I just thought of 12! I’m sure you can think of one!
Leave your “benefits of being stuck at home” in the comments below! I want to read and react to them all!
AUTHOR Derek Sall
Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.