Working from home: Yay or nay?
Raise your hand if, getting up early just to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for an hour before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee is something you love doing? Thought not. Why would you choose to commute for long distances each day when the furthest you’d have to travel if you worked from home, would be from your bed to your home office?
Whilst this may sound appealing to some, others know, without a doubt, that working from home just wouldn’t work for them. There are both advantages and disadvantages to setting up shop outside of the normal office environment, and it certainly isn’t for everyone, so it’s helpful to be aware of what the pros and cons are before taking the leap.
Let’s begin with the positive side. Here are the advantages to working from home:
- Fewer interruptions: If you’re someone who gets easily distracted by what goes on around you, working from home can really help to reduce the amount of interruptions you experience on a daily basis. You won’t have people coming to your desk to ask you questions every five minutes, nor will you have to contend with that rowdy bunch enjoying a fat chat at a decibel level that is far above comfortable. Experiencing fewer interruptions essentially means better focus and hopefully better productivity.
- Flexible working hours and more freedom: When you work from home, you’re able to have the freedom to create a workflow that works for you. If your most productive time of the day is from early in the morning until noon, then you’re able to get your best work done then without having to worry about staying within the usual office hours.
- Zero commuting: Say goodbye to frustrating rush-hour traffic to and from work, and hello to a generally better mood (and clearer mind), something that is conducive for creating quality work and retaining focus for longer.
- Save cash: Of course, once you eliminate having to drive to work or using public transport to get there, you’ll be able to save that money, not to mention the cash you won’t have to spend on buying lunch at the office every day.
- Less stress: Being removed from the office environment usually means you’re no longer exposed to the stresses that come with it. You no longer have to deal with panicked colleagues or pressurising managers breathing down your neck.Leaving you in a calm, quiet space in which you can put your head down and get your work done.
- Goodbye work attire: Working from home means that if you want to wear tracksuit pants all day, you can. However, should you have a meeting scheduled on Skype, it’s a good idea to wear suitable office clothing for that.
With the good, comes the bad - moving on to the disadvantages:
- Feeling isolated: Whilst removing yourself from the hustle and bustle of the office environment does have its perks, it can leave you feeling very alone and isolated from your colleagues as well. Be sure to always have lines of communication open when working from home (email, Skype, etc.) and stay in constant contact with your co-workers. You can end up missing out on that feeling of camaraderie too, but keeping in touch with your team members will help.
- Different distractions: This is something working from home is meant to help alleviate, yet the home environment can also present a whole set of other distractions. There may not be constantly ringing phones or a “Chatty Cathy” at every turn, but there are things like TV, bed and that mountain of laundry. If you’re one to be distracted easily by these things, then you’re going to have to be extra diligent when it comes to working from home.
- You have to be highly self-motivated: This ties in to the previous point. If having a healthy dose of self-discipline is not something you possess, then you should seriously consider whether working from home would be the right move for you. If you easily get de-railed and find it challenging to focus your attention, then perhaps working in an office would be best. Working from home requires a huge commitment on your behalf and you need to be willing to make it.
- Harder to separate working life from private life: When your living and working space combine, it can become difficult to separate the two. This can be especially tricky when you need moments away from work. Normally, at the end of a work day, you leave the office and return home – it’s your sanctuary – but when home is where you work, then you no longer have this luxury and it can all become too overwhelming.
- Put in too many hours: When you work from home, it’s very easy to get caught up in what you’re doing and end up spending far too much time on one task. This can not only be a sign of poor time management, but even when you are working so hard, there’s no one to see you doing it. Very often people need to see your work ethic to truly appreciate it.
- Less collaborative: This of course comes with the territory. When you’re not in the office attending face-to-face meetings and brainstorming sessions with your colleagues, you can begin to feel quite removed and less collaborative. Sure, you’ll still be working together in a way, but it won’t necessarily feel as rewarding as if you were doing it in other peoples’ presence. It can also mean you find it harder to form close relationships with the people you work with.
Does your personality and work style match the working-from-home lifestyle? This is something you definitely need to be asking yourself before trading in your office cubicle for a home-office desk. Working from home can be tricky so be sure it’s the right thing for you before you make the move.
You may also be interested in reading: Flexi-hours: The pros and cons
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