A few years ago I read The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris and I was inspired to find a way to work less. Ultimately it led me onto the path to FI and a big reason for where I am today. One of the big things I changed in my life at the time was a huge career change that would help me get more vacation days. 9 WEEKS MORE!!!
How was this possible?
You might think I just decided to start working part-time. But no, that’s not it. Maybe I just started slacking off and just worked 33% less without anyone notice. Nope not that either (although that probably could be possible).
The secret was working from home. I’ve always worked in an office environment in the insurance industry. It’s pretty standard office type work. Really boring stuff… It’s been a steady job and I’ve grown to have a very good career with a good salary and benefits. The problem was, like most people I commuted at least 45 minutes each way to work every day. That was 90 minutes lost!! Every single day.
A year or so after we decided we were going to pursue the FI path, an opportunity at another company came up. The exact same job as I was doing for slightly more money. Plus I get to work from home. All the time… It was a no brainer.
As a pretty normal office employee in Canada I get 4 weeks vacation plus 12 holidays per year. So that leaves 228 workdays per year. I have eliminated 90 minutes out every single workday of the year! So what is 90 minutes X 228 days?
- 342 hours OR
- 45.5 standard 7.5 hour workdays OR
- 9.1 weeks!!
What about everyone else?
Obviously not everyone would save this much commuting time. But pretty much any sort of work-from-home arrangement could help anyone get more vacation days. It’s staggering how much time people spend commuting every year. My 45 minute commute each way was a bit above average but the Canada-wide average in the 2011 census was 25.5 minutes. 17% of Canadians had commutes of over 45 minutes.
So the average Canadian worker spends at least 5 workweeks commuting. And nearly 20% of the Canadian workforce spends over 9 workweeks a year in their car!!
Work from home opportunities are not available to everyone but it’s a good idea to always put your commute time in perspective. Especially when it comes time to choose where to live and proximity to your work. You can gain an enormous amount of time in your life if you make decisions that could reduce commuting.