Whether you are a freelancer, remote employee, home-based business owner, or have been asked by your employer to work from home for a certain period of time for any number of reasons, you might be under the impression that working remotely is going to be a breeze.
However, that may not always be the case.
For a lot of people, working from home sounds like an ideal situation. After all, if you are working remotely, you wouldn’t have to wake up a couple of hours before your shift starts, make yourself presentable for the workplace, and then commute to your office. Instead, you can just roll out of your bed, turn on your laptop, and start working without having to physically interact with your boss, colleagues or anyone else. If you have the time and resources to set up a home office, that’s even better. While it may sound wonderful to some, there are quite a few drawbacks of this work from home lifestyle.
Since working out of a home-based office is not everyone’s cup of tea and there are some who might prefer working in isolation, we will explore the reality of working from home vs working in an office by discussing the pros and cons of working remotely.
This will also help you figure out if a work from home lifestyle is meant for you.
Let’s get into it.
Pros of Working from Home
There are a number of pros and cons of working from home one has to consider before agreeing to it.
Here are some of the most noteworthy advantages of working from home that make it a popular option among both part-time and full-time workers around the world.
Save Time and Money on Commute
This is arguably one of the most important advantages of working from home.
Having to work from home helps you save precious time and money that you would’ve otherwise spent on commuting to your office. Apart from the commute itself, you also wouldn’t have to worry about traffic jams and being surrounded by other stressed-out commuters.
What can be more comfortable than having to work from home? Of course, this might vary on a person-to-person basis, but remote employees don’t have to get dressed or do their hair and makeup – unless they have a Skype meeting to attend. Even if you submit your work dressed in sweatpants while lounging on a comfy chair with the TV playing in the background, no one would know.
More time with family
For those with a 9 to 5 job, spending time with family is almost a luxury. Most office workers only get to catch up with their family members or hang out with their kids during the weekends. However, if you are working from home, you can easily spend more time with your family without letting it affect the quality of your work.
Going to the office can be quite stressful for some. First, you have to deal with an annoying commute, then you have to wait for an elevator to take you to your workplace. Once you are finally inside, you may have to deal with the constant noise of keyboard hammering, phones ringing, loud and talkative (or both) colleagues and much more.
Work from home eliminates all these stressors and allows you to focus more on your assignments.
Improved communication skills
Work from home may limit your physical interaction with your boss and colleagues. But owing to the advancement in technology, you can still stay in constant touch with them, honing your personal communication skills.
From texting your co-workers to attending Skype meetings and utilizing different workflow apps, working remotely helps you become a communication expert.
Working from home can be really good for your health. For starters, more sleep and reduced levels of stress can do wonders for your mind and body. Secondly, the lack of daily commute and not working in a closed office environment minimizes your exposure to different bacteria and viruses.
In addition to that, you can take small breaks during the day to sneak in your workout routine and stay healthy.
Cons of Working from Home
Now that we’ve discussed the pros, let’s take a look at the disadvantages of working from home.
No human interaction
Working from home for employers located elsewhere significantly limits your human interaction. Even if you attend online meetings with your manager every day or are required to call your clients on a daily basis, you will most likely be doing all of it from your office while sitting alone.
Lack of break room conversations, quick coffee breaks, exchanging of ideas with your team members and zero social interaction can eventually take a toll on some.
Hard to switch off
While working remotely, it is extremely important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. If you don’t set up strict working and leisure hours, then you’ll find it hard to keep your office and home lives separate.
Not being able to switch off and working from home at all odd hours of the day will only lead to more stress and make your job feel like a burden.
Too many distractions
This one is a no brainer – especially for people with kids.
Regardless of whether you have to work from home occasionally or you have set up a personal home office to avoid distractions, there is a good chance you’ll still find yourself being distracted from work for a myriad of reasons.
Lack of ideas
Depending on the nature of your work, you may find working from home a little less productive than working from the office. It may also be difficult to come up with good ideas when you don’t get a chance to engage with your peers and manager in a face-to-face setting.
Not to mention, good ideas may get ignored or go unheard in such situations.
Can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle
While working from home can definitely improve your health, it can also lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.
For example, if you are unable to switch off, you might find it hard to follow a proper sleeping pattern and may experience a change in your appetite. Similarly, filing your work while lying on the couch all day and munching on snacks will only leave you with terrible back pain and indigestion.
Last but not the least, you might experience a communication gap between you and your teammate while working remotely. Since you don’t see each in person every day, you may find it hard to connect with each other. Despite all the digital tools for social interaction in today’s world, lack of personal communication while having to work from home can really affect your work quality.
This is one of the major challenges of working from home.
Is Working From Home The Right Choice For You?
Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons of working from home, it is up to you to decide if it’s an ideal choice for you.
As you can see, developing a healthy work-and-life balance varies with each person. Some may find it really easy to succeed at their job while working remotely, while others may suffer due to lack of social interaction and direct feedback.
However, if you are someone who prides themselves for having a lot of self-discipline, shows commitment to staying focused, doesn’t get distracted easily and can work without constant supervision, then work from home may be a piece of cake for you. On the flip side, if you aren’t great with time management and struggle with spending most of your day all by yourself, then you may be more suited to an office lifestyle.
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