Today is the best day to work from home — here's why: by @lvanderkam via @FastCompany
Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.

Why You Should Be Working From Home Today

Prolonging the weekend with a work-from-home day is tempting, but Wednesday is actually the best day to work from home.

If you decide you’d like to try working from home, you know the usual advice: schedule a meeting with your supervisor, and ask to try it one day a week.

But which day?

For most people, the default answer is "Friday," which makes sense. Your manager knows that Friday is less productive than, say, Tuesday. People schedule fewer meetings. Therefore, it’s less of a risk.

But there are reasons not to automatically ask for Friday. First, asking for any specific day negates much of the magic of working from home. What if Thursday has fewer meetings this week? What if you really need to crank something out on Tuesday for a Wednesday deadline, and your office has way too many distractions? Rather than negotiating for any specific day, getting permission to work from home when you need to is a much better benefit.

But, if you are going to ask for a specific day, keep this in mind. Some research finds that people who telecommute are less likely to be promoted. One possible reason? When you work from home on Friday, people may believe you’re cutting out early for the weekend. They may be right. It’s human nature to start in on the errands, especially if you’re pretty sure everyone at the office is wasting time on Facebook. Asking for a "peak" day—Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday—shows that your request is about productivity. You’ll work more hours without the commute, and you’ll get more done without distractions. It’s not about scoring a long weekend.

Alissa Williams, an assistant director at a library, negotiated to work from home on Thursdays. Enough staff work on Thursdays that she usually doesn’t need to man the desk. Working from home gives her peace and quiet to select books and plan programming. Then she can bring these big ideas back to the library. "I like going back in on Fridays to finish the week and make it feel complete," she says. "Overall it’s worked really well for both my employer and myself during the past two and a half years."

That’s the argument against Friday. As for the particular upside of Wednesday, consider this: Studies of happiness find that commuting ranks at the absolute bottom of the human experience. If your commute is much longer than average, you’re inviting even more misery into your life. By working from home on Wednesdays, you’re never more than two days from respite.

That’s why Sharon Glazer, who works at an academic medical center in Massachusetts, regularly chooses Wednesdays as her one day per week to work from home. "I have a one-hour commute (45 miles) each way, which is why I negotiated for a work-at-home day when I was hired," she says.

"Wednesdays are good because I like to break up the week. Although I am working, my day is so much more relaxed, not to mention two hours shorter, that it’s like a mini-weekend." She can see her personal trainer at 8 a.m. and be working at nine—when she normally starts. Having just two "mini-weeks" on each side of her work-at-home day makes even a horrible commute bearable.

[Image: Shutterstock]

Add New Comment


  • Michael Seong

    Hello, my name is Michael Seong who is living in Korea and operating a small business by myself. I just got this information from this network and really want to work from home with stress free. But unfortunately, I am not skillful computer and poor English, so I am worry about whether I can involve this group and do something as many peoples doing already. Please give an idea or opinion...with many thanks.

  • Roger Waibel

    I enjoyed your post, Laura. As an insurance agent, the traditional regime was office meetings, training sessions and meeting with clients at their kitchen table. Now it's done by webinars, videos and social media to attract prospects to a site that will help them make informed decisions about their insurance needs.

    It's a matter of using technology to meet people where they are and working smarter.

    Virtual Financial Group

  • adrianflores456

    I work from home every day, been doing so for the past year and a half now. I started off on Fiverr and slowly but surely adapted to other websites as well offering my gig to many potential clients out in the world. I gotta agree Wednesdays are the best and most productive days out there. First thing first, a nice tall cup of hot coffee on the rocks! Thats right chilled. Then get started. ! I love doing this and I couldnt have it any other way!

    Check me out when you can!

  • I work from home on Wednesdays, have done for about 5 years and for me it's 100% the break from the commute. It re-energies me for the rest of the week, which is only 2 days!

  • The above information is exactly how I approached working from home. I now work Wednesday and Thursday, unless a key face-to-face meeting is scheduled, and am loving it. Productivity is way up for me and the things that usually stress me out (commute, the office gossip buzzing, manipulative dress code) are not an issue because I know I will escape them within a day or two. Try it! I works for me.

  • lvanderkam

    Jerry- I'm glad to hear it works for you! Yes, doing a WFH day in the middle of the week breaks up the week and can help you manage energy.