Can’t afford to live near work? Telecommute!

The numbers are exploding: people can’t afford to live near where they work. Near means within half an hour or so from home to workplace (see my recent blog) . Now, in an article by George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury News, the plight is laid out for the Silicon Valley. Titled Housing woes spur Bay Area residents to ponder exodus from costly region, poll says, Avalos writes that the battle between ever-so-slowly-growing supply and bursting demand for homes in the valley clearly affects prices. “In July, the median price of a single-family home in the nine-county Bay Area was $804,000, up 10.1 percent from a year earlier ” Avalos wrote. Mind boggling.

There are two possible solutions to this dilemma: a) suddenly become immensely rich; b) move to your employer’s facilities full time or; c) move to where you can afford the housing. The second option evokes, mostly negative visions of the company town. The third option requires some serious thought.

For starters, affordable usually means at some distance away from your current workplace. Aye, there’s the rub! Pay outrageous prices near work or suffer endless boring (or terrifying) commutes, right? Many people have started considering a fourth option: give up and go elsewhere. A [Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies Poll] quoted by Avalos “found that 65 percent of people aged 18 through 29 have considered a move out of their region of the state, while just 38 percent of people aged 65 or older had thought about leaving.” That’s probably because those 65 and older bought their home when the prices were a fraction of what they are now.

But wait! If you’re a skilled information worker you may have some serious leverage for convincing your employer to let you telecommute at least part time. Let’s face it, the amount of time you need to spend in face-to-face interaction with your colleagues is probably less that 8 hours weekly on average. The rest of your time is spent thinking or interacting with some computer or other. For those 32+ hours weekly you could be anywhere, such as in an affordable home in a nice neighborhood some distance away. Your work may be mostly location-independent. You could be telecommuting; being at work without actually going there.

As the title of this piece says: Can’t afford to live near work? Telecommute! Decrease your own stress as well as the stress on your wallet. It’s trending.

 

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