From the April 2000 issue of Startups

When he's feeling drained or his creativity needs a blast of adrenaline, Gary Joseph Grappo straps on his inline skates and zips around his Fort Lauderdale neighborhood. Or he'll grab his ice skates and hockey equipment and hit the rink.

His choice of exercise adapts perfectly to his night owl and traveling work habits, says Grappo, owner of ASTEC International Human Asset Technologies, a homebased human resource training and development firm. In fact, whether he's traveling on a training job in Europe or the United States, his skates are frequent companions. "It's a reflection of the fact that [homebased business owners] have flex time," he says. "Although I work 'til four in the morning, I can take two hours off during the middle of the day. It gives me a lot of flexibility."

Grappo's skating isn't the only thing inline. So, too, are his recreational habits with those of his work-at-home peers. According to a recent Simmons Market Research Bureau survey of 33,000 America households-including 1,700 homes with at-home entrepreneurs or teleworkers-many said their recreational preferences tended toward X-Games.

More at-home entrepreneurs than the population at large said they preferred to skate (ice, inline and board), snowboard, ski (snow and water), swim, surf and even snorkel. Low on their thrill list-as compared to most Americans-were golf, rowing, and stationary or mountain biking.

The results aren't surprising, says Stephen Carnevale, general manager with Simmons, a New York City research firm. They show that at-home workers have more free time and disposable money for recreation and vacation time than clock-punchers and Americans at large, he says. With flexible hours and no bosses to hold their schedules in check, at-home workers are more likely to participate in a wider variety of eclectic sports and recreation.

"People who work at home want to have more control over their time during their day," Carnevale says, "and their obvious interest in sports and leisure activities point to some of the reasons why they work from home."

Journalist and author Jeff Zbar has worked from home since the 1980s. He writes about home business, teleworking, marketing, communications and other SOHO issues.