What to Consider if You’re Considering Working from Home

Feb 25, 2020

More and more people are working from home, and that’s having a serious impact on suburban searches.

Working from home is an increasing reality. The number of employers offering a work-from-home option has grown 40% in the last five years and, now, nearly 4 million people work from home at least part-time.

While that’s a definite win for any employees, it’s particularly beneficial for working parents in the suburbs. Think about it: not having to commute in and out of the city daily will boost your work time AND family time—and that’s a win.

That said, working from home comes with lots of unique considerations. From space to work in and out of the home to ensuring you’ve got a direct route into the city when you need to, here’s what to consider when you’re considering working from home…in the suburbs.

Benefits of Working from Home

#1. You can live further out—and get more house

Since you aren’t commuting to the city daily, moving further out may be in the cards—and that could mean greater affordability, bigger properties and, overall, more options to explore.

On Long Island, for example, homes in Nassau County—the county closest to the city—average 18% higher sale prices than in neighboring Suffolk County. Same on the other side of New York—Westchester homes average 35% more than in Rockland County. If you’re not commuting daily, you can swap a few extra minutes on the train when you do head in for tens or even hundreds of thousands in savings on your home.

“Many families want to look in towns with a sub-30-minute train ride into the city,” says Suburban Jungle Strategist Erika Ades. “Those towns are great, but you’ll also find amazing schools, beautiful downtowns, tons of family activities and, often, larger properties for 20% to 50% less if you’re willing to look in Suffolk. These are incredible communities, with usually an hour-plus train ride into the city.”

Many of these towns, she adds, are “destination” communities for Long Island families — towns like Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington, Northport and others are packed with amazing restaurants, beaches and more, making them ideal for families craving a laid back but, still, super-active lifestyle.

#2. You will, though, need a solid train…

That said, you’ll likely need to head into the city from time to time. While many people are fine with an hour-plus commute if they aren’t going to the city daily, it’s important to have a reliable train line. When you do need to go in, you definitely don’t want to be stuck or find yourself with limited options when it comes to getting home.

#3. Make sure you can GET OUT when you need to

Many work-from-homers find that, at some point, they need to get OUT to get work done—make sure your town has spots to support that. Whether it’s a local Starbucks, a WeWork or other community spot, look for space you can work from as needed—a space that has comfortable seating, wifi and a positive, not-too-loud vibe that will ensure you can be 100% productive on your work-from-home (but not home) days.

“Don’t be afraid to think outside the box,” Strategist Maya Konig notes. “You don’t need an ‘official’ workspace to get work done. Many of my clients work from libraries, cafes, coffee shops.” Apps like WorkFrom are, she notes, making it easier than ever to find spaces. “You can check out apps and other sites like WorkForm and find a table at a cool cafe or restaurant that’s happy to have you grab a table and work, especially when they’re slow. That really makes working from anywhere a possibility.”

#4. But be sure you have dedicated workspace

At the same time, you’ll no doubt be working from home a lot, too. Be sure your new home has enough space for you to carve out a dedicated workspace. While a kitchen island or corner of the den may seem like a great spot to work, soon enough you’ll want something that’s more focused and more organized around your workday. And, besides, when the kids come home, you won’t want after school snacks tossed all over your presentation…

#5. Find places to network

In the city it’s easy to pop out and get in the mix—that’s a bit tougher in the city. Ideally, look for opportunities to engage with fellow professionals, entrepreneurs and work-from-home parents. Local business organizations, sites like MeetUp, Facebook and, even, your kids’ schools are great places to look for these networking opportunities.

Top 5 Chicago Suburbs to Work from Home

No longer a cubicle dweller? While working remotely allows freedom from a humdrum routine, you also need an environment that encourages productivity. So where do you live when you can work anywhere? Worry no more! From comfortable coworking spaces to resourceful libraries to great coffee shops, these 5 Chicago suburbs will help you embrace location flexibility.

Naperville, IL

Just over 10 percent of Naperville’s workforce works remotely (FlexJobs). With its beautiful riverwalk and trendy downtown area full of eateries, cafes, and boutiques, it’s no wonder why Naperville is consistently voted as one of the country’s top places to live.

Express trains zip you downtown for occasional client meetings, and Naperville’s first-rate Chamber of Commerce offers Lunch & Learn programs, panel discussions, and workshops. Stay on task at NaperLaunch, a free workspace in Nichols Library, or try Rev3 Innovation Center, a friendly coworking space. Alternatively, java lovers will embrace the ambiance at Sparrow Coffee and Adagio Teas.

Glen Ellyn, IL

Glen Ellyn flaunts the best of both worlds: peaceful, emerald-hued parklands and a simple 47-minute commute. Add in its dynamic, pedestrian-friendly downtown, and you’ll understand why Glen Ellyn is one of Chicago’s top suburbs. Plus, the village’s 29 parks and serene Lake Ellyn encourage midday work breaks (but we won’t tattle!).

As an excellent work from home Chicago suburb, Glen Ellyn’s Chamber of Commerce provides marketing opportunities, networking luncheons, and social media workshops. Or if you’re nuts about science, tech, or digital art, meet fellow enthusiasts at centrally located Workshop 88. When nap time becomes too tempting, pack your laptop and head to the public library for quiet meeting rooms, or stake out a spot at Blackberry Market or Tuovo Tea. (Bonus points for their motivating sweets and savories!)

Lake Forest, IL

If you can work anywhere, why not work near a beach in one of Chicagoland’s premier suburbs? If you’re dreaming of spacious lawns, brick streets, pristine beaches, and a pleasant family atmosphere, Lake Forest is the work-from-home suburb for you. And without a commute to consume your day, you have time to join the Lake Forest Running Club!

The local chamber hosts a revolving calendar of professional and social networking events for freelancers, small businesses, and mobile professionals. Members of the conveniently located LifeWorking Coworking enjoy ergonomic workspaces, free coffee and snacks, and bike storage. On the west side of town, Regus’ coworking spaces include a complimentary fitness center and deli.

Barrington, IL

Surrounded by countryside rich with equine heritage, Barrington’s residents rave about their community’s sociable activities, scenic splendors, and welcoming vibe. Weekends beckon locals outside to enjoy the village’s baseball fields, picnic areas, and trails that wind through wetlands and forest preserves. And Barrington’s ensemble of annual parades, charity functions, and golf outings will provide plenty of much-needed family time.

Although Metra’s BNSF line makes the Chicago trip in under an hour, why leave? Given the chamber’s plethora of marketing services, golf leagues, and networking events, including the Women’s Biz Net and Young Professionals luncheon, you’re bound to find all you need right here; making this a perfect work from home suburb.Co-Optim and 25N Coworking provide shared spaces near Barrington, or Cook Street Coffee is perfect for a working day on the town. Better yet, meet other independent and remote workers through the Barrington Cowork.Zone Meetup group!

Lake Forest, IL

If you can work anywhere, why not work near a beach in one of Chicagoland’s premier suburbs? If you’re dreaming of spacious lawns, brick streets, pristine beaches, and a pleasant family atmosphere, Lake Forest is the work-from-home suburb for you. And without a commute to consume your day, you have time to join the Lake Forest Running Club!

The local chamber hosts a revolving calendar of professional and social networking events for freelancers, small businesses, and mobile professionals. Members of the conveniently located LifeWorking Coworking enjoy ergonomic workspaces, free coffee and snacks, and bike storage. On the west side of town, Regus’ coworking spaces include a complimentary fitness center and deli.

La Grange, IL

La Grange checks all the boxes for primo suburban living. A thriving downtown with clothing, antique, and unique stores galore. Impressive gastronomy with sushi, Indian, Southern comfort food, and much more. Outdoor activities—from tennis to swimming to golf—that appeal to any fitness connoisseur. And cultural options, including a symphony orchestra, art league, and Mother Cluckers comedy group.

When downtown comes a-callin, journey to Union Station aboard the BNSF Metra line. If you’re prone to binge-watching Netflix, try Suite Spot Coworking, which offers an energizing, light-filled coworking space with 24/7/365 access. Locals also like Owl and Lark for its cozy atmosphere and superfood smoothies. Hang out for a bit and finally get your Gmail inbox organized. Winning!

There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.

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