Pros and Cons of Living Closer to Your Work

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Last Updated on October 19, 2022

TL;DR: Living closer to your work will save you more time in exchange for higher cost-of-living expenses. But the convenience of not getting stuck in traffic is the cost we pay for choosing to live near our workplace.


While still in my previous job, I lived two cities away from work. And anyone who’s ever lived in Metro Manila in recent years can attest that commuting there is a nightmare.

A Timeline of my Metro Manila Commuting Journey

man in train standing going to work
Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

Commuting in Metro Manila is a miserable experience. It is not only due to the traffic but also because commuting includes waiting time, transferring one vehicle to the next, buying tickets, and other inconveniences.

With the public transportation inefficiencies in Metro Manila, commuting can almost be more toxic and stressful than your work.

From 2015 to 2017, my job was in McKinley Hill, Taguig City, but I lived in Boni Ave., Mandaluyong. To go to my office, I had to ride in a jeepney to EDSA, followed by a bus or MRT to Ayala, then finally a van to McKinley Hill. It takes at least 1.5 hours to arrive at my office if I leave early, but it can be as long as 2.5 hours if I leave late.

My last project assignment from 2017 until I resigned in 2019 was at Eastwood City, QC. I was on the night shift, so I had to go along with the commuters’ heavy flow from Boni Station to Cubao.

That commute would typically take at least 2.5 hours to 3 hours each way but can take longer during “payday Fridays” and rainy days.

So after three years of grueling commutes around the city, I decided to live in Pasig City, a little bit closer to my Eastwood office. That decision dramatically improved my life, and I realized the importance of living closer to work.

So, when I returned to my home province, my commute instantly plunged from as much as three hours in Metro Manila to as fast as a two-minute bike ride.

How near is “closer to your work”?

Since I am using the two-kilometer rule, I’ll say that anywhere around that distance is considered close. Based on my experience, here are the pros and cons of living closer to work in Metro Manila.

However, finding a place to live as close as a kilometer away from your work will work wonders for your personal life.

What are the advantages or disadvantages of living near work?

Living close to your work offers different advantages and disadvantages which can, directly and indirectly, impact your overall well-being while working in Metro Manila.

Most disadvantages are related to the grueling experience of traffic. In contrast, most advantages are related to the opened up free time of living close to your work.

Disadvantages of Living Close to Work

crop faceless black businessman leaving metro station
Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

1. The rent prices closer to the business district are higher.

Most people live far away from their workplace to avoid the high rental cost, which at face value, can be intimidating.

And according to Dave Ramsey, rent should not be more than 25% of your take-home pay, which is a good rule of thumb.

So, it can be helpful to look for friends or housemates working around the same area to share the rent.

2. Since you live closer to work, your boss can quickly contact you in case of a work emergency.

When work emergencies require extra hands, it is easier for your superiors to tap you.

Though you can always say “no” to extra work, it would be pretty awkward if someone who lives farther away came into the office instead of you.

3. Food costs are higher, so you’ll need to cook or learn to cook.

Living closer to the business district means the cost is also higher, and food prices are what usually takes a big slice of your monthly budget.

So, it would be wiser if you’ll learn how to cook your food. As I said in my previous post, cooking is also an adulting skill everyone should know.

Related: 12 Adulting Skills We Need to Learn

4. You will live away from your family.

While working in Metro Manila, I met some people who prefer living in their homes in nearby provinces like Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, and Cavite.

They said they’ll get homesick and miss their family if they rent. Plus, they are concerned that the rental cost will be too much for their budget.

That’s why many employees from nearby provinces who work in Metro Manila prefer to take three hours each way and sleep during the commute instead of renting.

Advantages of Living Close to Your Work

photo of a woman standing inside bus
Photo by João Jesus on Pexels.com

1. You’re more likely to arrive early. (It can also be a con if you’re a perennial late-comer.)

The one thing expected of people living closer to work is punctuality. Ironically, it can also make some people living closer to work complacent, thinking there is more time, and ending up being late.

2. You have more time to do other things.

The best part about living closer to work is that it gives you more time to do things other than wasting it on traffic. Re-allocating commuting time to personal hobbies or interests is a better use of your time.

Related: 10 Productive Activities You Can Do Within 30 Minutes

3. You can sleep in your bed.

Living in Metro Manila taught me that traffic increases exponentially.

During my first few weeks of work in McKinley Hill, I lived in Pasig City. I was on the dayshift from 8 AM to 6 PM, and my experiences are as follows:

  • If I leave before 6 AM, I’ll arrive at 7 AM. 
  • If I leave at 6:15 AM, I’ll arrive around 8 AM.
  • But if I leave at 6:30, I’ll arrive at 9 AM.

Living closer to work gives you more time to sleep in your bed instead of resting on the headrest of an old jeepney or bus.

In recent years, working from home has been one of the good things that came out of the pandemic.

Related: Pros and Cons of Working From Home (WFH)

4. Living closer to work means lower to no transportation fares.

As mentioned in Cons #1, rental is expected to be significantly higher in areas closer to business districts.

So your savings from transportation costs can be reallocated and added to rent and food expenses.

5. You are less stressed by traffic.

As my rule of thumb, the commute times should not be more than an hour, regardless of the distance, traffic, and other external factors.

Unfortunately, commuting in Metro Manila became almost unbearable today, so living within walking distance from your work can be life-changing and boost productivity.

Final Thought

Personally, I’ll choose to live closer to my work, even with a higher premium on rent and food.

However, the most significant factor that you should consider where to live is the stress you’ll experience caused by commuting in the urban jungle of Metro Manila.

Strategize your budget so you can afford to live closer to your work.

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2 responses to “Pros and Cons of Living Closer to Your Work”

  1. […] am also fortunate to live near my work, which allowed me to go to the school by bike or a 6-min […]

  2. […] you can always have the option of moving closer to your work, but that will also be another adjustment to your […]

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