I started letting Bear out of his crate at night by the time he was 6 months old. I first started with the nighttime being uncrated and then gradually let him stay out of his crate for short periods of time during the day. It helped that my DH is primarily at home with him all day and we could do this in half hour to hour increments.
I think it depends on your pup, it sounds like your pup is pretty reliable. I felt the same way with mine and that is why I felt comfortable leaving him.
Bear is now 15 months old and so far we have left him for up to 3 hours by himself.
Good luck, the first step is always the hardest