Before jumping into something new, we often weigh the pros and cons. What would the outcome be if X happened? How would Y benefit me? If you're just getting started with remote work or working from home, you're likely in the process of evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of this new work style and what they'll mean for you.
It's often helpful to hear from people with prior experience who have seen the pros and cons of working from home firsthand. We reached out to the work from home, remote work, and digital nomad communities to get their perspectives on remote work and working from home. Plus, we included tips for combatting the most common challenges of working from home. Keep reading to see what the remote work community had to say.
Pros and Cons of Working from Home
Pro: remote workers feel less stressed and more focused., con: working from home can be lonely., pro: no daily commute., con: communication and collaboration can be a challenge., pro: remote workers have flexibility in their schedules., con: it's challenging to build a remote company culture., pro: people who work from home have a better work-life balance..
Remote workers report that increased productivity, better focus, and less stress are some of the top reasons they work remotely . When you work from home, you're less likely to lose focus due to in-office distractions like background noise or interruptions from coworkers. With increased focus, you can get your work done more efficiently.
That being said, some people thrive in a typical office environment. If you're new to working from home and struggling to focus, we have some productivity tips and music playlists to help you focus .
Pros: less stress, greater ability to do focused work, being there for my family, more time for pretty much everything that matters (fitness, creative pursuits) Cons: have to be far more intentional re: social engagement. It's easy to put systems in place to deal with other cons — Scott Dawson (@scottpdawson) January 7, 2020
When you work from home, you're likely flying solo most of the time. This can create feelings of isolation and loneliness, and can often have a hurt your health and productivity. It's important to build in time for social interaction, even if it isn't in-person.
Schedule a virtual coffee with a coworker or join a Slack community to socialize with other people who share similar interests as you. If you need even more inspiration, check out these tips to combat the work from home loneliness you might be feeling.
Started remote work three years ago and missed the "built in" community that an office comes with. And after a move to a new city, felt isolation even more. It pushed me to get creative with where I found my people (in physical sense) and with my work team. — Ashley Gatlin Sachs (@AshleySachs) January 7, 2020
If you work in a city, you've likely experienced the hassle of commuting. Whether you're taking public transportation or stuck in traffic, your mind might wander and think about all the other things you could be doing during your commute time. Studies have shown that commuting negatively impacts health and happiness . When you work from home, not only will you have more free time in your day, you're likely to see an improvement in your well-being too.
Pros, location freedom, no commute, time to spend with my people, in community, enjoying hobbies. Personal experience, better Comms, more intentional focus on trust. Cons, isolation, career progression, stigma from those who don't understand remote "but do you really work?!" 🙈 — Rose Barrett 🌹🍀 (@RemoteRose) January 7, 2020
Effective communication and collaboration can be hard to achieve when you and your colleagues are distributed across different locations. This means that the tools and strategies you use to communicate need to be thought out and intentional.
Determine which asynchronous communication tools you'll use (e.g., Slack and email) and make sure you have a consistent schedule for face-to-face conversations via video conferencing . When everyone's clear on the methods of collaboration, miscommunication will become less frequent.
Love this! Landing a consistent style of collaboration and actively promoting inclusion are areas companies need to explore for a positive experience for remote workers. These are key challenges for “hybrid” companies (HQ-based office workers, periodic wfh, and compete remote). — Julie Carey (@jcarey2424) January 7, 2020
Raise your hand if you have responsibilities and obligations outside of your day-to-day job? I'm sure most (if not all) of us have our hands up. Depending on your organization's remote work policy , you might be able to schedule your day to accommodate aspects of your life outside of work.
Need to run to a doctor's appointment in the morning? Go for it! Have to hop offline for an hour to pick up your child from school? No problem! Remote work gives you the flexibility to manage all aspects of your life, whether they're directly related to your work or not.
The biggest perk is the flexible schedule that allows me to be around for my son, but I also love that I'm showing him that a job doesn't have to be from 9-5 — your career can be on your own terms. — Erica Jackson Curran (@Calendar_Girl) January 7, 2020
My parents are in their 80's. I can travel to their home, spend time with them (and clean out the refrigerator) while working. The only con is they don't believe I'm working 😂 — Kitt Miller (@netbaby1997) January 9, 2020
Co-Founder and CEO of Donut, Dan Manian , says, "The biggest myth about company culture is the idea that leaders can think about it later, as if it's something you can decide when you want to decide it".
If you have a remote team, there are certainly pros and cons of employees working from home. For one, company culture needs to be more intentional. The ways remote teams get to know one another and collaborate are different than they'd be if everyone worked together in the same office. Luckily, there are remote culture tools and resources that can be used when team members aren't able to get together in-person. Remote leaders and managers need to remember that transparency is key for employees to have the information they need to work independently and feel engaged with their work.
We love our remote workers! Pros: -Communication is more purposeful -Flexibility of time encourages diverse hires Cons (unless you're @GAPartners ): -Losing out on company culture -Collaboration can be a challenge #remoteworkers #digitalnomads #wfh — G&A Partners (@GAPartners) January 8, 2020
The 2019 State of Remote Work report found that one of the top reasons survey respondents gave for working remotely was work-life balance. As we touched on earlier, the flexibility that remote work provides gives people the ability to better manage their obligations whether they're work-related or not.
You might feel more motivated to finish a project once you've taken a quick walk around the block. Or maybe you need to spend some time meditating to clear your mind before an important meeting. One of the biggest work from home pros is that individuals can structure their workdays in a way that supports their productivity and enables them to enjoy their lives outside of the 9-to-5.
We would have to say the habits that you are allowed to construct as a remote worker. For example, taking a short walk, going to the gym, having the time to cook healthy foods, meditating, and other health-related benefits become easier to do. — Remote Habits (@remotehabits) January 7, 2020
To me it pretty much comes down to feeling respected. A company that acknowledges that work should adapt to your life, not the other way around is a huge positive indicator. It is why our company is 100% remote and will always be. Happy team = great team! — Charles Vinette (@Charlesvinette) January 7, 2020
As more people begin working from home, it's important to address working from home pros and cons. Addressing any challenges head-on ensures everyone can work from home successfully. Do you have any tips for working from home effectively? Share your tips with us on Twitter @OwlLabs .
Pros and Cons of Working From Home
Be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of working from home when considering your ideal work environment.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home may have seemed like a perk that only freelancers got to do. Now, many more full-time employees have experienced working remotely or in a hybrid role.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pandemic has resulted in over one-third of companies across a wide range of industries increasing telework for some or all of their employees. The BLS also reports that around 60% of the organizations that expanded their telework options are planning to keep them indefinitely.
If you recently joined the ranks of virtual staff, your visions of the remote working life may have been dashed by reality. Working from home may sound like an ideal situation, if you've imagined simply rolling out of bed and arriving at your home office in moments, without the hassles of first making yourself presentable and then commuting to a workplace with a boss and colleagues who may drive you crazy .
In reality, though, just like working in an office, remote work comes with pros and cons. The following pros and cons list emerged after conducting informal interviews with more than 100 people with remote jobs. Read on for some positive aspects of telecommuting and the challenges that come with a work-from-home lifestyle.
Benefits of Working From Home
Pro: more flexibility to take care of appointments and errands. .
- Pro: Fewer interruptions from meetings and chitchat.
- Pro: No commute time or expense.
- Pro: More time spent with family.
Pro: You can often do your work when you're most productive.
Pro: you can get more done., pro: you can save money on your work wardrobe., pro: the ability to live where you want to..
One of the hardest things about committing to a 9-to-5 desk job is that it prevents you from being able to handle almost anything else that comes up in your life, whether attending a routine dentist appointment or picking a sick kid up from school. When you work from home, while you still have to meet your deadlines and be available when you say you will be, you generally have wider bandwidth to tend to other responsibilities without jeopardizing your job.
Pro: There are fewer interruptions from meetings and chitchat.
It's easier to get into a deep state of focused work when you're in your home office without colleagues dropping by and sitting down impromptu to talk about their weekends. Limiting unnecessary interruptions from your colleagues and boss is a big plus of working from home and is one reason many remote workers are often more productive than office-based workers. While you may need to dial in for specific meetings, you'll likely get a break from attending several others – many of which may be unnecessary to your role – that confront staff workers daily.
Pro: There is no commute time or expense.
You can save a lot of money and avoid wasting hours spent getting to and from work when your office is right down the hall. Avoiding traffic battles tops the list of benefits for some of those who work from home. Many remote workers also mentioned saving money by eschewing a pricey professional wardrobe unless they meet with clients.
Pro: More time spent with family.
Office workers must kiss their loved ones goodbye each morning when heading off to work; not so for virtual workers, who can work side by side with a work-from-home spouse or with kids who are learning in a digital classroom . By doing away with the commute time, there is more time to be spent with loved ones.
When you work in an office, your schedule is rarely your own. Between the aforementioned interruptions from colleagues and meetings, plus your boss hovering nearby with agenda items and to-dos, accomplishing your focus work may be a "catch as catch can" situation, grabbing time to think and compose important reports and communications between events that others have imposed.
It's still always essential when working from home to be mindful of your team's needs and be available to dial in for virtual meetings. But remote employees generally have greater latitude to select their time of peak productivity to do their most important work and – depending on who else is working at home with them – have more quiet time to hone in on tasks that require concentration.
A number of recent studies have confirmed the growing body of research that prove working from home can help you be more productive than you can in an office, with stats showing productivity increases of up to 77%. It makes sense when you consider the above points that you have fewer interruptions and can work when you’re at your best while working remotely.
In addition to saving drive time and gas expenses, the work-from-home crowd can generally save on clothing costs as well. While you may need to have professional garb at the ready for video calls (at least for your top half on camera), most who work from home have more freedom to wear what they want while they work.
While some employers have restrictions about where you can live as a remote employee and may change your pay according to the area you reside in, a huge perk of the remote life is the ability to choose your location without needing to worry about a daily commute. Even if you’re in a hybrid role or need to make occasional visits to the office for meetings, if you don’t need to drive in each day, you have a wider range of possible places to settle besides right near the office.
Cons of Working From Home
Con: no physical separation between work and leisure time. .
- Con: Easy to misread cues via electronic communications.
Con: You have to make the effort to get a change of scenery.
- Con: Less in-person contact with co-workers.
Con: You are not on-site for in-office perks.
Con: you have to be more self-motivated., con: some bosses may be biased against those who aren’t in the office..
Many who work from home lamented that they often find themselves working around the clock, since their labor has no definite start or end times; those lines can often be blurred. As a result, they sometimes feel as if they are always at work, making it difficult to shift to the post-work relaxation mode that many office workers take for granted.
The absence of an obvious division between the personal and professional realms means some remote workers get distracted by housework. Setting boundaries and sticking to them is important when you're working from home.
Con: It's easy to misread cues via electronic communications.
While few who work from home expressed feeling "lonely," as is typically assumed, many did point to the difficulty of getting the tone right through digital communication systems, such as email, chat, social media and text. Without body language, facial expressions and other cues, remote employees have to put in extra effort to maintain positive communications.
What can be a blessing can also become a curse in the form of cabin fever. Some freelancers and others who work from home lamented that where they work during the day is the exact same place where they'll be sitting later that evening; getting involved in their work often translates to spending a huge portion of the day indoors. Pre-pandemic, many stressed the importance of scheduling lunches and other meetings to keep them in the mix and avoid the rut of never leaving the house.
Con: There is less in-person contact with co-workers.
While you may have more time with loved ones when working from a home office, the flipside is less opportunity for face time (minus a screen) with people at your company. If your co-workers drive you crazy, then reduced time on-site might be a perk for you. But if you enjoy office-based camaraderie and like to be able to socialize with your team in person, then the remote life might make you miserable.
You can't swing by the break room and grab a doughnut or hit the company gym if you're working from home. This may be more of a disadvantage for workers in industries such as tech, with impressive on-site offerings like game rooms and chef-made food among their company benefits. If there's a perk you like about being in the office, then working from home may make you miss it.
If you’re the type of person who procrastinates working unless a boss is breathing down your neck, then you might find yourself underperforming in a work-from-home role. Remote workers have to motivate themselves to get the job done, which puts more onus on people working from home to manage their time wisely to complete their projects, instead of having someone else setting the timelines and spurring them along.
A study by researchers at the University of California at Davis and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that “face time” – the amount of time that you’re seen at work either within normal business hours or outside of them – can affect how your boss and others perceive you at work. If you’re not in the office and others are, some managers may be either intentionally or unintentionally biased against you. You may find that your contributions aren’t noticed or appreciated as much by your team and may feel compelled to make extra efforts to keep on everyone’s radar screen.
Weighing the pros and cons of working from home has become even more important in the wake of the pandemic, since many companies are now giving their employees the option to not come back into the office. If you are given the choice to consider working from home permanently, be sure to think through each of the pros and cons of working from home to land on a solution that matches your priorities. Remote work has clear benefits, but no situation is perfect. Understanding the reasons to work from home – as well as the reasons not to – can go a long way in learning how to work from home successfully .
Tags: careers , work-life balance , Company Culture , money , personal finance
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Remote work became the new normal for many employees given the COVID-19 pandemic, but as many slowly return to the office, you may be considering whether or not working from home is best for your future. There are seemingly endless reasons to work from home, like the lack of a commute to decreased spending on childcare. However, remote work has its costs too, whether money comes out of your salary for a new ergonomic desk setup or you’re shouldering a more expensive utility bill.
We surveyed 1,006 workers to see their opinions on whether employers should cover remote work costs and found that approximately 70 percent agreed that employers should cover some or all of the costs associated with working from home. See the breakdown of results below:
- 37.5% agreed employers should cover all remote work expenses
- 32.8% believed a partial budget should be provided for remote work expenses
- 29.7% said that employers shouldn’t pay for remote work expenses
Regardless of what your work model looks like, there are several pros and cons to working from home. Read on to evaluate whether the benefits outweigh the costs for you and your career or jump to our infographic .
Does Working From Home Save You Money?
Working from home allows you to pocket the money you would spend on transportation, child or pet care, and work expenses like wardrobe or parking. Transportation is one of the most expensive parts of in-person work — Americans can spend up to $5,000 on transportation each year.
Another opportunity to save money with remote work is that you’re less inclined to spend money on coffee, lunch, and other food-related expenses with coworkers. Commuting can also impact how willing you are to cook since more of your energy will be expended via transportation.
The Pros of Working From Home
As we briefly mentioned above, there are several benefits to remote work that can save you money and increase your productivity. So much so that many remote employees want to keep it that way; in fact, 65 percent of remote workers surveyed said they wanted to remain remote. Luckily, the pandemic has increased the amount of work-from-home remote jobs on the market. Below, we listed some of the benefits of working from home and why it’s definitely worth considering.
1. Save Gas Money
One of the most common costs when it comes to transportation is gasoline since commuters can travel from far and wide to get to work. The average commuter can travel between 5 and 13 miles each way to get to work, which requires frequent trips to the gas station.
Working from home allows you to save money on gas by reducing the amount of trips to the gas station and ultimately saving you hundreds of dollars in the process.
- Pro tip : If you live in a metropolitan area, chances are you can use a rideshare app or a short-term rental car service to get from place to place. This is another great way to save money instead of constantly refilling your gas tank.
2. Tax Break Eligibility
Remote employees, freelancers , and self-employed individuals are more likely to be eligible for tax breaks like a home office deduction or a depreciation of equipment deduction.
- Pro tip : Taxes can be complicated, so make sure you meet the criteria outlined by the IRS to avoid unnecessary fees or penalties.
3. Eating at Home
Working in an office can increase your likelihood of eating at restaurants or stopping by coffee shops around town. Over time, this can amount to thousands of dollars.
As we mentioned before, commuting can deplete energy levels to the point where commuters don’t have the energy to cook and, consequently, order out instead. Not only is eating at home cheaper, but it’s generally better for your overall health.
- Pro tip : Meal order programs like HelloFresh ship your ingredients and recipes right to your door so you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping and finding what to eat.
4. Save on Clothing
In-person work often requires a dress code that can range from business casual to formal attire. Clothing items like suits, ties, dresses, and other work-appropriate items are required for certain professions and they can have a hefty price tag. This can also become increasingly expensive with dry cleaning and other laundry expenses.
Remote work still requires appropriate clothing and professionalism, but it drastically reduces the need for formal work attire. You can save hundreds of dollars on clothing and laundry services by working from home.
- Pro tip : Buying clothing items that can be worn for work and leisure are a great option for remote workers. Clothing items such as jumpsuits, polo shirts, and other business casual attire can help save you money in the long run.
5. Increased Productivity
Many remote workers in the past year reported increased productivity due to working from home. In a survey of remote teams, 65 percent of workers said they felt more productive at home than they did in the office.
- Pro tip : Setting limits on your phone for social media, games, and other activities can help you stay focused while working from home. You can also turn off notifications during the workday to stay productive and keep focused.
6. More Family Time
Long hours in the office can reduce the amount of time you’re able to spend at home with your loved ones, especially if you work night shifts or long days. Working from home allows for more quality time with family since you’re more likely to be in the same place at the same time.
- Pro tip : It’s important to make time for important people in your life. To do so, set boundaries and stick to a hard stop when your workday ends so that you can spend quality time with loved ones.
7. Environmentally Friendly
Commuting has an effect on the entire ecosystem we live in, given the pollution that comes from transportation. In fact, 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions came from transportation alone in 2019. Most people don’t have electric cars, so exhaust and other car emissions contribute to the carbon footprint on Earth.
A daily 30-mile commute to work can result in hundreds of thousands of miles on your car and significantly impact the environment throughout your career. This makes a remote work environment a healthy option for you and the planet.
- Pro tip : To increase your positive impact on the environment, consider sustainable office furniture that is made from eco-friendly materials such as recycled wood, glass, and iron.
8. Increased Work-Life Balance
Working in-office full-time can fill up most of your day and leave you with little time to yourself after commuting. In-person work can also be so draining that by the time you do get home, you may not have the energy to meet friends and family.
Remote work can allow for more mental and physical energy, which ultimately improves your work-life balance and overall mental health.
- Pro tip : Burnout from remote work can also happen. Be sure to do the necessary self-care to conquer burnout such as therapy, meditation, yoga, and other acts of self-love.
9. More Schedule Flexibility
The typical 9-to-5 work shift takes up most of the day so it can be difficult to schedule appointments, attend your child’s events, or other important happenings in life. Working from home allows for more flexibility in your schedule where you can fit in important events and appointments without having to take time off.
- Pro tip : Once you’ve booked appointments or blocked off certain times on your schedule, make sure to let your coworkers or manager know not to schedule meetings at those times to avoid overlapping events.
10. Work From Anywhere
Many remote workers took the opportunity to work from anywhere, whether it be another country or a family member’s home. The flexibility of working remotely allows you to work in different locations, like a local coffee shop, for a change of scenery.
- Pro tip : If you do plan to work from a place other than your home, make sure the location has access to secure, high-speed internet for video conferencing and other work that requires you to be online.
The Cons of Working From Home
While there are plenty of advantages that come with remote working, it has also posed new challenges that we didn’t think about a year or so prior. Lack of movement, reduced social interaction, and other changes were some negative consequences of working from home. Below, we’ve listed some disadvantages of remote work to consider before making a decision.
1. Lack of Social Interaction
Communicating with managers and coworkers isn’t the same when conducted through a screen. Although video conferencing can help bridge the gap between social isolation and interaction, in-person interactions are few and far between when working from home.
- Pro tip : If you do decide to work from home, make sure you have scheduled outings with family and friends in-person to make up for interactions you can’t get from work alone.
2. Increased Likelihood of Overworking
Since working from home can take out in-office distraction, there is such a thing as being too focused on work. Overworking and burnout are common results of work-related stress that comes from remote work. Getting used to spending most of your day sitting in front of your computer is a hard habit to break.
- Pro tip : Overworking and burnout can be reduced by setting work-life boundaries like clocking on and off at certain times of the day. This ensures you aren’t working late into the night or starting so late that you’re forced to work later.
3. Distractions at Home
For some, working from home means peace and quiet as well as freedom from distractions. However, some remote workers may have children, dogs, and other things to cater to at home that can make remote work a lot more difficult.
- Pro tip : Should you choose to work from home, having set times where you request not to be disturbed can help decrease the number of distractions at home. You can even book a baby or dog sitter for important meetings or conferences to make sure you’re focused on the task at hand.
4. No Set Routine
In-person jobs require you to clock in and out at specific times, whereas remote workers can clock in and out with more flexibility. The lack of a set routine when working from home can result in an unpredictable schedule.
- Pro tip : Make sure you have a list of things you plan to accomplish for the day or a simple routine to follow to give yourself a sense of normalcy.
5. Increased Need for Self-Discipline
Similar to not having a set routine, remote work requires self-discipline given the independent nature of the work model. It’s your responsibility to make sure you’re not on social media for hours when you have a project that needs to get done.
- Pro tip : We mentioned in the pros section that increased productivity at home can be achieved through setting limits for social media and games on your phone. Another way to achieve self-discipline is creating a schedule for each day that you can hold yourself to.
6. Home Office Costs
Setting up your office at home requires space and materials that you may not have access to. This also means that your electricity bill might be higher if you work on a computer with multiple monitors. Although there are sometimes home office tax deductions, they’re not guaranteed for everyone.
- Pro tip : There are plenty of innovative ways to incorporate an office into your home, like the closet office. Make sure not to make your bedroom your office space if you can help it so you can maintain work-life boundaries.
Home office materials can be costly, especially if you need special technology like a computer or software. We conducted a survey to determine whether American workers felt that employers should cover the costs of working from home, and about 70 percent said employers should cover some or all remote-work related expenses.
7. Less Office Perks
Being in the office has its benefits: free lunch, access to the office gym, and other amenities that aren’t available to you if you work from home. There are also perks like office holiday celebrations or a simple chat with a coworker that make an in-person job more rewarding or enjoyable.
- Pro tip : Working at a company with a positive and engaging company culture can make remote work more enjoyable. If you have ideas on how to make your workplace more remote-friendly, try pitching them to human resources or a culture committee at your company.
8. More Effort in Changing Scenery
Although remote work allows you to work from virtually anywhere, it does take more effort to get out of your comfort zone. If you use your computer for work, you may not have access to a laptop to bring to a local cafe or coffee shop.
- Pro tip : If you don’t have access to a portable computer, see if your company has some to spare. A technology stipend may be in their best interest if they want increased employee satisfaction.
9. Telecommunication Difficulties
The increased telecommunication that became apparent during the pandemic was a challenge for many. Some may argue that it is more difficult to communicate via messaging platforms like Slack or email, so those who don’t prefer telecommunication may experience challenges.
- Pro tip : It might be in your best interest to communicate with a manager or coworkers that you prefer hopping on a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Skype to talk through projects and assignments.
10. Motivational Challenges
Having the motivation to succeed in your career goes hand in hand with self-discipline — it’s much more difficult to discipline yourself when you don’t have the motivation to. Especially for those who work remotely in the long term, it can be difficult to get up and do the same thing every day.
- Pro tip : While having a routine is important, make sure to mix up your workday. Try to start with different tasks or take breaks at different times to add variety and novelty to your schedule.
Deciding whether to work from home or in-person is a life-altering decision for which you must weigh the pros and cons. Remote work is not for everyone — introverts may thrive in remote work environments while extroverts struggle to get their needs met. Employees with children or noisy households might consider in-person work more advantageous, while independent young professionals may prefer the cost-effectiveness of remote work.
Regardless of your situation, there are plenty of telecommuting pros and cons to consider before making such a big decision . If you have the choice to work remotely or in-person, remember that no work model is perfect but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Just know that whatever work environment you choose, you’re not alone.
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Working From Home: The Pros and Cons
You wake up at 8 a.m. with the sun streaming through the blinds. As you take a leisurely shower, you listen to the radio and hear rush-hour traffic’s a nightmare. Good thing you don’t have to jump in the car to head to the office. In fact, you don’t have to go to the office at all. Sure, you’ve got two deadlines to make by the end of the day, but that’s nine hours away.
At the moment, the more important question seems to be: coffee at home or a cappuccino from your favorite café down the street?
Does this sound like your typical morning? If so, you’re living the dream—the dream of working from home .
- Working from home comes with the benefits of no commute, your own personal space, increased flexibility, and more money saved.
- The downsides of working from home include social and professional isolation and lack of innovation from in-office interaction.
- If you're self-motivated and introverted, working at home might be for you while if you enjoy being in the middle of the action, you might regret going remote.
- After the Coronavirus pandemic, working from home has become more common and acceptable.
- Recent studies show that employees are more productive when they work from home.
As the Internet has grown and allowed for faster connections, high-quality video calls, and the ability to send larger amounts of data, working from home has become as straightforward as working from the office.
Many employees consider working from home, at least one day out of the week, a work perk. Because an employee doesn't have to get up and get dressed or commute, it allows for more time to sleep, a less rushed morning, and money saved on not eating out during office hours.
For many employees, however, it's not an option. Kindergarten teachers, carpenters, and nurses, among many others, do not work remotely; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where individuals were encouraged to stay at home, working from home became more common for such jobs, such as teachers.
With the right digital equipment, software tools, and mobile devices, more jobs can be performed remotely from home. Before the pandemic , 4.1% of the U.S. employee workforce telecommuted either half of the time or more. At the peak of the pandemic, this rose to 69%, showing that working from home can be done if needed, encouraging a greater shift to working from home once lockdowns eased.
Years before the pandemic, according to a 2013 study by Stanford University in collaboration with Ctrip, a Chinese travel agency, home-based workers said they were more productive, happier , and less likely to quit. The flip side? Those working from home were half as likely to be promoted as their office-based colleagues. They were also more likely to feel lonely. In the end, 50% of the home-based workers in the study requested to return to the office.
In the years since, working from home has become a lot more acceptable, especially by employers, and after the pandemic, a necessity. The pandemic demonstrated that working from home was possible without a reduction in productivity and preferred by employees.
Employees particularly believed working from home was better, with 70% of employees stating virtual meetings were less stressful with 64% preferring hybrid meetings.
Some studies showed that working from home is more productive . Individuals who work from home, on average, are 10 minutes less productive in a day, work one more day per week, and are 47% more productive.
Though working from home has shown to be more productive, it still socially isolates individuals that may gain positive health benefits from in-person interaction in the office.
Before taking the plunge, talk to coworkers, friends, and the people in your network, especially people who work in similar industries . Among your acquaintances who have worked from home, what challenges have they faced? Have they seen a real improvement in their work-life balance and overall quality of life? What have they unexpectedly found they missed?
If possible, it helps to create a separate office space in your living area that can be used for work, thereby separating your work life and home life, allowing for more productivity and less burnout.
Here are a few pros and cons of working at home to consider, whether you work for a single employer, freelance, or run your own small business .
You'll Have Greater Flexibility
Want to take a month off for the whitewater kayaking season in Patagonia every year? By working from home, you just might be able to pull it off, either by working more hours the rest of the year or by working remotely from your holiday spot.
On a less ambitious scale, working at home allows you to adjust your schedule from day to day, taking a three-hour lunch and then making up the hours at night if you want to.
Of course, many appreciate the flexibility for more practical reasons: to provide childcare or eldercare or simply to be at home when the plumber shows up.
You'll Save Money
Commuting costs go away. Your professional wardrobe goes seriously downscale. Whether you're a business owner or an employee, there are incidental costs to showing up at work five days a week that disappear when you stay home.
You May Be More Productive
Are you an introvert who finds social interactions more draining than energy-giving? Then you might thrive in a work environment without other colleagues. If you feel more focused in a quiet environment with few distractions, working from home may give you the opportunity to be your most productive.
Working from home led to more people exercising due to more time available by not commuting, improving physical and mental health.
Your Commute Time Is Zero
In some cities and job sectors, almost two-thirds of workers say they would switch jobs if the change would ease the burden of their commutes. Think about what zero commuting hours a week would do for you.
It Is Isolating
You could be surprised by how much you miss the workplace camaraderie, not to mention the interpersonal drama, the office politics, and the ill-advised romances. And don’t discount the benefits of professional collaboration and social bonds forged in the workplace. They often lead to future opportunities.
Staying Motivated Isn't Easy
Are you an extrovert who thrives on collaborating with others on projects? Do you get energy and inspiration from the kind of impromptu socializing that occurs among colleagues? If so, the solitary nature of working from home might drain rather than augment your energy. It's all too easy to take a break that lasts for hours.
Working at home requires you to motivate yourself.
There Are Distractions
Your home circumstances might have built-in distractions. These might include family members or roommates around the house. They might be tasks that you think you have time for now that you're not going into the office. In any case, if you can't set aside time to devote to work and only work, you can't pull this off.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Working From Home?
The pros of working from home are no commute, more time available to sleep and rest, money saved by not commuting or buying lunch when at the office, greater flexibility, more independence, and no office distractions. The cons of working from home are isolation and loneliness, lack of motivation, at-home distractions, and unmonitored performance.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Working From Home From a Company’s Perspective?
From a company's perspective, the pros of having employees work from home include increased employee satisfaction, which leads to higher employee retention, the ability to hire from a larger pool of talent as opposed to the physical location of the office, increased employee productivity, and lower costs, in regards to rent, operations, and equipment. Some of the cons for employers include lack of team building, lack of team innovation, challenges with communication, and the inability to gauge performance in person.
What Are Some of the Best Work-From-Home Jobs?
Some of the best jobs to work from home include web developer, therapist, teacher, financial analyst, interpreter, computer specialist, writer, editor, social media professional, graphic designer, and computer engineer.
Though working from home comes with many benefits, such as more time, less stress, and more money, the negatives of isolation, at-home distractions, and motivating yourself can make heading to the office seem appealing. In general, employees have found that a mix of working from home and the office is a good solution.
Global Workplace Analytics. " Latest Work-at-Home/Telecommuting/Mobile Work/Remote Work Statistics ."
Quarterly Journal of Economics. " Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment ," Page 165.
Quarterly Journal of Economics. " Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment ," Pages 170 and 215.
Quarterly Journal of Economics. " Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment ," Page 183.
Apollo Technical. " Surprising Working From Home Productivity Statistics (2022) ."
Mass Biotechnology Council. " MassBio’s 2019 Transportation Survey Finds 60% of Respondents Would Change Jobs for a Better Commute ."
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The 27 Pros & Cons of Working From Home
With 15 Years of Remote Working, I Can Share The Real Pros & Cons of Working From Home. Costs, Commute, Flexibility, Promotion, Engagement & More.
Working from home is a true blessing. There are so many real and tangible benefits to working remotely. But there are however a few serious problems that you can overcome easily with a little planning.
1. Pro: Time Saved With Less Commuting
No commuting is one of my favorite benefits of working from home. Removing the commute from your life has many knock-on effects, which will be covered in the following sections.
My local office is approximately a 45-minute drive away. By skipping the commute, I save 90 minutes per day. The average person has roughly 30 days of vacation and public holidays per year. So, removing the weekends and vacations from the year, we have 230 working days or commute days per year. Let’s guess that your career will span 35 years because, of course, you plan to retire early.
This equates to 90 minutes X 230 days X 35 years = 12,075 hours of commuting.
This means you could save 503 days of your life, 72 weeks or 1.3 years.
Removing a typical commute could save you 1.3 years of your life
2. Con: Temptation To Overwork
One of the great things about working from home is zero commute time. That means you can save from one to two hours per day of your life. The problem is you inevitably spend that saved time by working more. I have worked too many hours in the day; in fact, I could not even report my hours in the system because Germany has legal requirements on maximum hours of work, and if I reported them, I would have been breaking the law. So, I worked around it by taking unofficial time off when I needed to.
What is my point? You should try to create a normal working regime where you start and finish at a specific time and don’t do emails on your phone in bed while ignoring your partner, you loser. 🙂
3. Pro: Lower Carbon Footprint
Not only do you save over a year of your life while not commuting, but you also can have a good conscience about the environment if you drive 30 miles per day to work that equates to 241,500 miles in your career.
According to Carbonfootprint.com , in the scenario above, if your commute were 30 miles per day (48 kilometers), you would increase the world’s CO2 emissions by 55.5 metric tons. So you would save 55.5 metrics tons of CO2 over your career.
You may save 55.5 tons of CO2 emissions over your career.
If you still commute, you will need to plant five trees and have them working full time for 40 years to absorb that amount of CO2.
4. Con: Scattered Working Hours
If you want the joy of the flexibility that telecommuting offers, that means you may end up scattering your working hours across the day. You may want to take a few hours off at lunchtime to prepare food for the children or deliver your kids to their sports clubs.
That flexibility means you will need to work later in the evening or get up a lot earlier in the morning to compensate. For myself, the flexibility outweighs the scattered working hours, but it is still something you need to consider.
5. Pro: Decreased Commuting Costs
Not only saving time and the environment, but you will actually save money too. It costs you 60.8 cents per mile on average, according to the AAA in a 2017 report. This means that traveling 30 miles per day, 230 days per year over 35 years, will save you $164,200. Yes, you read it correctly. I double-checked the math on it; it’s true.
You will save $264,220 dollars over your career by not commuting
6. Con: A Less Structured Daily Regime
As the old sayings go, “humans are creatures of habit,” or “people need structure to thrive.” There is some truth in these proverbs, so you need to recognize that if you are a creature of habit or if you do need a fixed work-life structure, then working virtually or remotely may not be for you.
“It sounds crazy, but to be truly flexible you actually need discipline”
This actually means that adopting a flexible approach to your working hours and your life requires the deep discipline to actually achieve your working goals. If that means working late into the night because you took time out in the afternoon, then do it. Commit to delivering your goals and be flexible as to what time of the day you do that, and you will be fine.
7. Pro: Lower Chance Of A Motor Accident
According to the Federal Highway Commission , the average number of miles per car accident for the average US driver is 165,000. In our example of 30 miles per day, you would cover 241,500 miles.
This means you would avoid one car accident in your lifetime. Also, 1 in 77 car accidents is fatal, so that means it is undeniably better to telecommute than really commute.
8. Con: Finding Space For A Home Office
Ideally, you should have a part of the house that is separated by a door, and the door is lockable. In a large corporation and working across organizations and functions, 99% of people do not know you work from home. The fact is home workers are considered less serious than those who drive into an office. So, there is no reason to broadcast the fact that you work from home. In fact, don’t talk about it; get the job done. A dog barking or your child screaming gives the game away, and you will not be taken seriously after that.
Make sure you have a private room, we all know the phenomena; on a conference call, and someone is working from home in the kitchen where you can hear a crying baby or the wail of police sirens. To maintain the air of professionalism whilst in meetings, you need a quiet private room with no disruptions.
You need to dedicate a part of your house to this, which will take space away from your family.
9. Pro: Decreased Stress
Working from home also decreases stress in two ways. Firstly, you do not have the stress of commuting to work in the morning. Secondly, you do not encounter the high levels of stress involved in personality clashes or workplace politics.
If you need to take a break or have a power nap to freshen your mind, you can because you have more flexibility. No prying eyes are watching your every move and judging you like in the office; that is stress relief in itself.
10. Con: Less Human Time With Your Team
Now here is one of the biggest drawbacks, the human connection. There are no workarounds for this. Being in the office means you will, over time, develop relationships with certain people that turn into friendships. You will even have professional relationships where you gain a mentor or simply someone to bounce your work issues off. This does not happen for telecommuters, or at least the opportunities are far fewer.
11. Pro: Increased Flexibility
One of the great benefits of working from home is that you can also do everything outside the house at off-peak Times:
- Visiting the doctor at 11 am is 15 minutes of waiting – at 5 pm, 90 minutes.
- Go Food Shopping at 9 am no queue 20 minutes – at 6 pm long queues 1 hour.
Literally, all appointments during the week are so efficient during working hours you can save months of wasted time, which you can make up earlier or later in the day.
12. Con: Less Movement Impacts Health
If you wear a fitness tracker watch or use your phone to track your steps, you will know your goal is usually 10,000 steps for the day; then, you are successful.
That is great for normal office worker humans; most people can actually achieve that without thinking. You get up, make breakfast, walk to your car, drive to work, walk around the office, walk to lunch, walk to meetings slowly, but surely you can, with a little effort, get to 10,000 steps.
As a home worker, this is not the case. You take 50 steps, and you are at the office; you do not walk to meetings. A big expedition for you is to walk to the coffee machine in your kitchen.
This is a serious problem. Ten thousand steps are not a target for fit people; it targets a human being not to rust up their joints.
If you work from home, you need to exercise to minimize the impact on your health.
13. Pro: A More Flexible Approach To Exercise
If you telecommute, you need to exercise. But the joy of it is that whenever you have a gap in your agenda, you can jump into your shorts and go for a run for 30 minutes. Do 45 minutes of jogging, and you will hit 10,000 steps.
If you need to clear your head go for a walk, take your next meeting on skype on your phone with a Bluetooth headset whilst walking in the sunshine. It is all possible: technology is your friend.
14. Con: Overdependence On Technology
A serious downside to telecommuting full-time is a dependence on technology. If your broadband is down, you cannot work effectively. If your laptop hard disk fails, you may be out for a few days and need to drive to technical support hundreds of miles away to get it fixed.
Choose a high-quality internet service provider (ISP) and make sure you use the cloud to back up all of your important documents. Have email and Skype on your phone so that even if your office hardware fails, you can still attend meetings and access documents via your phone over 4G.
15. Pro: Increased Work Presence
If you work in a geographically spread team across different time zones, your work presence can actually increase even though you are not in the office. But how is this possible?
When you work remotely to the office, you have more flexibility to schedule your time according to business needs. For example, my team was spread from Australia to Costa Rica and everywhere in between. My teammates in the Philippines, for example, would start to work much later in the day to be able to work with me in Europe and our colleagues in the USA. If they had strictly abided by local office hours, I would have only had a few hours to work with them during my working day.
Additionally, my team in the USA would routinely start work at 6 am to catch a bigger time window with Europe and some time with Asia. They were more present across the globe than if they were in the office.
16. Con: Increased Electricity Bills
Logically, being in a state of permanent telecommuting, your electricity and heating bills will increase. The lighting, power for your laptop and screens, and perhaps in summer, your air conditioner.
Without a doubt, your costs will increase, but they will hardly be noticed and will be completely offset by the huge savings in your commuting costs.
17. Pro: Improved Ability To Manage Children & School
We have all been there, you are in a meeting at work, and you get the call from the school, your child is sick, and you need to pick them up. Easy when you work from home, because you are close to school, very difficult when you work in the city and your commute is one hour. Add to this the fact that when they are sick at home, you can check in on them regularly and still deliver your working goals.
Also, it is much easier when it comes to your child’s extra-curricular activities. For example, I need to drive my daughter to the gymnastics club twice per week and her saxophone lesson once per week. I also take my son to his golf lessons weekly. It is all manageable when you have flexible work from the home regime.
18. Con: Loneliness Or Isolation
My mother used to say, “I am just talking to myself until I get used to the people” or “the more people I meet, the more I like my dog.”
In some ways, working remotely means you are more isolated and encounter fewer social situations than when in the office. I cannot stress this enough if you are a super social animal that craves contact with people face to face and in person, then teleworking is not for you. You can, however, counter this missing social aspect of your life by joining local clubs, meetups and ensuring you cultivate a close group of friends locally.
19. Pro: More Family Time
If you have a family, then one of the great benefits of teleworking is that you are closer to your children. I am there to make my two little ones breakfast in the morning, and when they get home, I have lunch ready for them. So, we eat two meals per day together, at least. When my wife arrives home, we have dinner together. Due to the flexibility I have, I can then work in the evenings to make up the time lost, making food and fooling around with my kids.
20. Con: Ability To Maintain Discipline
As a rule, I only allowed my staff to work from home if they had demonstrated their self-discipline. If you cannot be disciplined in your work, it will definitely become evident when working from home. Constantly late for meetings, missing deadlines, or even a lack of preparation for projects or meetings are all telltale signs that you do not have the discipline to self-regulate your work without your manager looking over your shoulder.
21. Pro: Time Saved Preparing For Work
You know the routine, wake up, brush your teeth, shower, shave, do your hair, select your clothes, get dressed, grab a coffee, leave early to avoid the main rush hour. All of these activities take time. When you are a telecommuter, that time is radically reduced. You can even reduce your prep time to “wake up, brush teeth, grab a coffee.” That means unshowered, unshaven, and working in your pajamas, but each to their own.
I have read on other websites advice like, “for psychological reasons, prepare yourself every day like you are going into the office.” But that is crazy; I will not splash on aftershave and wear a suit to work from home. At least for me getting into work mode is as simple as firing up the laptop, logging in, and attending my first meeting.
When I was one of the global leaders at Hewlett Packard, I often had to present remotely at our virtual “all-employee meeting” in the US time zone. That meant being ready at 5 am to present. Here was my routine, get up at 4:30 am, brush teeth, throw shorts and a t-shirt on, grab a cup of tea and a cup of coffee, log in on by 4:45 am, present at 5:05 am. Happy days and no suit required.
22. Con: No Face To Face Chats At The Water Cooler
If you enjoy randomly talking to and making new acquaintances in the office, also known as water-cooler moments, then be prepared as this does not happen for telecommuters. You simply do not randomly call someone up and chat with them about the weather when working from home.
23. Pro: Healthier Eating At Home
Another hidden benefit of working from home is that you do not need to eat the pig swill from the work canteen. I am English, but I live and work in Germany. What I do know is that if you like schnitzel, sausage, bread, and potatoes, you are well looked after here in the land of sauerkraut. I have eaten in work cafeterias in New York, Texas, Cupertino, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Singapore, Malaysia, India (that was an experience), and in London, and they are all the same. Only one place had great food: the canteen in Lyon France that featured red wine and Boeuf Bourguignon…hmmm.
24. Con: No Office Parties Or Work Night Outs
If you are working far away from the office, or if your head office is in another country, then you are going to miss out on the Christmas party or the leaving celebration of a colleague. If this matters to you, then do not telecommute.
25. Pro: Fewer Distractions
If you need a lot of what I call “think time” in your work, then working from home can be a huge win.
For example, let’s say you need to plan out the foundation for a huge project you have been tasked with. That takes a lot of thinking time to do it right. You need to get in the zone, and when you are in the deep think zone, you are at your peak levels of thought and abstraction. Every time you get distracted in the office, it drags you back into the real world, you lose your train of thought, and it takes time to get productive again.
Working remotely, you can simply turn off instant messaging and your email, and you are free to explore the depths of your mind.
26. Con: Decreased Promotional Prospects
I firmly believe that if you consistently deliver your objectives on-time in the right way and collaborate and coach your team members, you are automatically considered for promotion. However, the fact remains that if you are not in the office in person, this may impact a part of the relationship-building process that sets the groundwork for promotion.
To combat this, increase your usage of video conferencing or web conferencing for important meetings. Also, try to get to the office regularly, so you get that feeling of belonging and that people can put a face to a voice and a personality to your name.
27. Pro: Higher Pay
There is a widely held belief that working from home means you will get a lower salary. While it may be true that if you have a low-skilled work-from-home job, you may receive a minimum wage, but for a skilled worker, the opposite is true.
For example, research at flexjobs suggests that as a freelance software developer, you can earn even more than someone full-time in the office.
In my personal situation working as a corporate transformation leader, I found that there was no impact on my salary, quite the opposite, in fact.
Summary: The Pros & Cons of Working From Home
Focus on your goals; even as a remote worker for 15 years, I managed to get promoted four times to director level. How? Always deliver on your targets, stay disciplined and focused. Additionally, learn a great Zoom/Microsoft Team manner and smile when you talk; it makes a difference.
Did you enjoy this post, then share it and leave a comment below?
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The pandemic has changed the way people live their lives. People were forced to sit at home to prevent the spread of the virus. This popularized the idea of working from home. Since last year, many companies are still continuing with the work from home concept. Moreover, some companies have made this work from home concept permanent. This article has greatly listed the pros and cons of working from home.
Hello, Barry. Excellent article on remote working!! As we’re on the subject, there’s this wonderful article I saw the other day about how, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, practically everyone who is currently working has experienced some type of remote work. However, changing decades-old working techniques and habits is rarely easy. As you mentioned in your blog, finding the ideal work-life balance is difficult. I’m attaching the link to that article for anyone interested in learning some remote working tips, tricks, and hacks: https://www.skuad.io/blog/remote-working-13-secret-tips-nobody-told-you-about/
For me the biggest advantages of working from home is saving time, freedom (to a degree, at least), ability to do private stuff in the times I wouldn’t be able to do if I worked in the office. The disadvantages, however, are there too. For example, it happens that I work longer. One more little task before I finish, one more mail, one more phone call, and it appears that all together it took an hour. Another issue might be a collaboration with your team. There are some projects that you can’t carry on with if you’re not sure what happened when you weren’t working. To solve that problem, my team uses kanbantool.com . Thanks to it, we see right away who did what, we can also leave comments to make sure everything is clear. It helps to avoid confusion and work overlap.
Hi Amanda, thanks, I see a lot of people use Kanbantool. Barry
Hello, I currently work part-time and care full time for my only child. I am losing my drive for my job and how the company I work for runs their business. My enthusiasm for my job depletes more every day. I very much want to put in my two week notice, find a stay at home job and call it a day and move on. How do I go about finding a stay at home job before I leave my current one? I also am concerned with how I would get paid by the company that hires me to work from home or if I am being scammed out of a paycheck unlike my current job? Please leave any advice for this full time mom and part time employee.
Hi J, thanks for the message. My advice here would be to search for a job with an established company. This should help ease your worries about getting paid. Check companies out on http://www.glassdoor.com to get feedback from current or ex-employees of that company. Barry
Con: Managers may feel more comfortable working with the people whom they’ve worked with in person and pay less attention to those whom they’ve only worked with online. Con: Reduced ability to gain news and information through informal channels. Con: May not find out about meetings that the organizer didn’t think to invite you to.
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Top 10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Working from Home
Table of contents.
Let’s be real, no matter where you’re working from, you’re still doing just that: working.
So, should you work from home or work from the office? It honestly comes down to the environment you’ll be most effective in, along with the industry you’re in. (And how nice your home office is.)
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the classic benefits of telecommuting!
Top 10 Advantages of Working from Home
- Flexible schedule. You can take breaks at any moment, feel no rush to hang up on your family members when they call, and eat lunch at any weird time you want.
- Custom environment. Set up your noise level just the way you want it — somewhere between insanely quiet to being at the front row of a Lady Gaga concert. And if you’re mindful of your workspace ergonomics , you can create a stronger rhythm for your workflows.
- Cozy clothes. You get to wear those sweatpants from college with the letters peeling off, or the leggings your friends don’t know you own. (And hopefully never will.)
- It’s easier to make calls. You won’t have to scramble to find a conference room or deal with a particularly chatty co-worker. (Granted, kids and pets at home can make this tough for some remote employees.)
- Knock off some weekend to-do’s. That Mt. Everest laundry pile waiting for you? That thing you set a reminder to get from the store 11 weeks ago? Cross. It. Off.
- No office distractions. Avoid co-workers debating the merits of cryptocurrency, sirens wailing outside your window, the AC kicking in as you hide your icicle tears.
- Zero commuting. From bed to … bed? Hey I’m not judging, it’s nice.
- Save money. Lunch is expensive if you work in a city or downtown. In San Francisco, it’s not crazy to see a $15 sandwich or $4 coffee. At home, you can save big time by going to the store and preparing food.
- Forget crowds and traffic. No stuffing yourself into a rickety transportation tube, having people scuff your new shoes, or walking behind agonizingly slow people who apparently don’t know what a straight line is. (Am I bitter? No … not bitter … )
- More time with loved ones. Take care of a sick significant other at home, be ready for your kids earlier in the day, get some extra snuggles in with your doggo, or simply get some quiet time to yourself!
Top 10 Disadvantages of Working from Home
- Willpower. Gotta get jamming on this new project, but Netflix says you still have 4 episodes of Tiger King to watch…
- Difficulty sticking to a routine. The order you do things at work is almost never the order you do things at home. It can be tough to mirror your schedule and processes once outside the office.
- Missing important calls or pings. Oops, my phone was on do not disturb and I missed a meeting! Or my boss slacked me and asked to prioritize something else and now it’s 4:45pm …
- Calling UberEats anyways. You thought you were saving money, didn’t you? Blam-o! $20 minimum and a $5 fee for the higher rated Thai place. Should’ve remembered to buy bread …
- Power naps. This could arguably could be in advantages … unless it accidentally lasts 45 minutes after your delivered double entree Thai lunch.
- Boredom. Those office convos? Kinda missing Susan’s cat stories, eh? How long can you go without seeing another living human being?
- Working slowly. Sometimes the office has an energy. Sometimes your home does not.
- No second monitor. How did I ever work without two giant screens looming above me??? All 74 of my tabs are essential!
- Iffy WiFi. At home or in a cafe, when the wifi start to spaz and you switch locations a couple of times but honestly spend more time parking and ordering a 6-shot mint mojito coffee with coconut milk and 16 grains of sugar than doing work.
- Waiting for an answer. You need to ask a super quick question, but it’ll impact how you do something for the next hour or even the rest of the day. And there’s no response. (Cue “The Waiting.” )
FOMO at Home. FOMO at Work.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
When you’re at work, nothing sounds more amazing than a toasty day indoors with your favorite blanket. When you’re at home, you reminisce about making jokes with your co-workers and wonder if the coffee machine made good coffee that day.
Either way, it’s important to choose the environment you’ll be most successful in. After all, each person has their own unique experience with remote working and finding what works and doesn’t work. One person’s productivity booster can be another’s distracting disaster. As you begin to work longer and build more experience, learning to focus in any surrounding is a valuable life skill, and will only help your professional career in the long run — especially as remote-first companies are gaining traction. If you’re still newer to the remote workforce , start by simply finding out where you do your best work and why.
To Thine Own Self Be True
Some important things to consider are what environment you stay focused in the longest, how long it takes you to get back on track, and how you best communicate. If you’re self-motivated, adhere to a routine well, and enjoy minimal distractions, then working from home is the right choice for you.
If you thrive on social interactions, feel inspired by seeing others working, and stay on track best if others see you, then working from the office is the way to go.
Occasionally there are projects that require more quiet time or more collaboration and resource planning . It’s important to be able to mix it up, depending on where you think you’ll be most productive!
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14 Work From Home Pros and cons
Table of Content
Working from home is a new concept to most people and most people prefer work from home jobs. I t can turn out to be a tricky situation for some. There is much work from home advantages and disadvantages.
For employers, performing from home can boost productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs, while employees enjoy perks like flexibility and therefore the lack of a commute.
To work effectively from home, you need to be sure that you've got a separate workspace, internet service that meets your need, the right remote work tools a workable schedule you'll stick with, and ways to attach with others.
Top fields for remote work include computers and IT sectors, education and training, and healthcare; positions include customer service reps, virtual assistants, marketing assistants, data entry and transcription, teachers, and more.
Work from home means either no office or at the very least, a lot less office space. If you don't need a completely remote environment , try staggering your employee's work-from-home days to save on office space. Dedicate the money saved on office space to fund a huge travel budget.
A variety of top firms, including Amazon, Microsoft, Dell, Infosys, Accenture, and Salesforce, offer remote work opportunities, but it is also important to remember scams. We are listing some of the pros and cons of working from home below so you are aware of what you are getting yourself into and can be well prepared beforehand!
Work From Home Pros
There are various advantages to consider if you're looking for work from home opportunities. Below are a few of them.
1. Flexible schedule
One of the most essential benefits of working from home is a flexible schedule. You can take breaks whenever you desire and require. You have tons of flexibility with most telecommuting jobs. As an example, many remote work positions are unaffected by normal business hours, making it easier to attend to life events like medical appointments. Work-from-home roles are often an enormous benefit for folks who work unconventional schedules to accommodate their families.
The idea of work from home can help employees improve their work-life balance e.g. staff that might have had to commute will now be ready to use that point for themselves giving the idea for a far better work-life balance. Staffs are happy to do jobs from home and they are ready to slot in household chores around their working day giving them more free time within the evenings eg loading or unloading the dishwasher or preparing dinner on their lunch break.
2. Custom work environment
When you work from home, you can set up your home office anywhere and in any way you like. Some people do well in a noisy environment and some require pin-drop silence to work. So, you have the liberty to work in a custom environment created by you.
Employee satisfaction in remote positions could also be higher due to the pliability in performing their jobs. Not only are you ready to make decisions independently, you're also ready to work comfortably without the fear of office-related stress, interruptions, or other challenges you would possibly find during a traditional workplace. This will have an immediate influence on your overall job satisfaction.
The web has made it possible for workers to be continually connected to the office. Tools like Skype have made communication between colleagues and teams much easier and sometimes can cause more efficient and effective meetings.
3. No dress code
The best part of working from home is that you do not have to dress up for the office every day. Just simply put on your favourite pyjamas and tie up your uncombed hair and you are dressed for work! Nothing is better than your cosy clothes.
4. Time to do chores
Along with doing your office work, you can also complete your house stores like doing your laundry for filling up your pantry that you have been putting off for weeks as you have more free time now that you are working from home.
5. No disturbing coworkers
Do you know that colleague of yours who keeps on talking loudly on his phone or the one who would not stop talking about cryptocurrency while you are trying to make your presentation ? Well, working from home is the best way to avoid them and get your work done faster. Working from home can provide autonomy and independence in your job which may be absent during a physical workplace. Also, these sorts of roles require self-discipline and enough motivation to manage time responsibly and complete job tasks.
6. No commute
Another thing that will make you feel that working from home is the best possible way to work is that you do not have to deal with the traffic as there is no commuting. You can just wake up, get a cup of coffee and your laptop, and sit at your favourite couch near the window or on the soft mattress of your bed with your pet and start working!
Recruiting from home - Make it more effective
7. money saver.
Working from home is also a money saver as now you won't have to pay for your commute as well as you can save up on the money you are spending on food that you would purchase for your lunch or snacks when working from the office. You can now cook anything at your home and it could also be a healthy choice of living.
8. More job opportunities
Remote positions can open up additional job opportunities for people with limitations to working in traditional roles. As an example, people with disabilities that prevent them from travelling or working long hours can build their careers remotely . The power to figure from anywhere also can mean a rise in available jobs in industries like technology, healthcare, and education.
Work From Home Cons
Working from home has several disadvantages in addition to its advantages, including:
1. Lack of motivation
When you are working from home it can be difficult to wake up and get the motivation to work with the same energy that you would do in an office. Lack of motivation isn't just a danger to our work, yet can detrimentally affect our emotional well-being and this can add to a general absence of inspiration and efficiency levels start to plunge. You must have a lot of self-discipline to work dedicatedly from home.
Working from home can be alone only for a few people who are used to working in an environment where one has to constantly interact with their coworkers. You can become quite isolated performing from home if you spend the bulk of some time by yourself, working independently. The key to avoiding loneliness and isolation as a foreign worker is to schedule outings and events with friends and family. Some remote workplaces offer regular team or recreation events to encourage socialization.
3. Work-Life balance
Another thing that one must keep in mind when working from home is that while you are working you must shut down your personal life and not end up being agitated all the time. you must learn to balance out your personal and work life at home. Although performing from home offers you the chance to balance your home life together with your job, it also can be challenging to make a definite separation between your career and private life. Set clear boundaries between your work hours and private time, and communicate these boundaries with others in your home.
4. Small living space
One thing that most people are concerned about when working from home is that they end up losing their living space as they now have to create a home office. This is a problem that is faced by people who already have a small space for living with pets or kids.
Work from home with kids may be difficult sometimes as in between an important video conference or when you are working on a deadline. But, isn't it adorable when a funny friend or a cute kid pops up in the video?! Distractions just like the television or household chores can affect how you perform your job. Too many distractions can cause a decrease in your productivity and motivation. You'll avoid this by limiting anything that you simply find distracting in your home. Use noise-cancelling headphones and play relaxing music to dam out noises like traffic and neighbourhood activity.
Sometimes working from home can lead to miscommunication due to a weak internet connection or maybe because one is not able to express themselves in a better way as opposed to when they converse with someone face to face. This can negatively impact workflow.
Summary on Work From Home
Most people choose work from home jobs due to the pandemic and we have seen the pros and cons of working from home. But it suits better for some jobs than others. Equally, working from home suits some personality types but not others. Some people may like better to contact their colleagues by face to face communication.
The coronavirus pandemic has provided employees with an option to work from home. It has enabled employers to possess first-hand experience of the benefits and drawbacks of home working. This experience is often very beneficial in the longer-term direction of employees' working practices moving forward.
By putting some effort and maintaining work-life balance you can easily adapt to the work from home lifestyle. Also, keeping the above pros and cons in mind you can mould your home office, your work hours, and other things accordingly to overcome any problems beforehand!
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Pros And Cons Of Working From Home You Need To Know
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Remote work isn’t an entirely new concept. In recent years, it has become increasingly popular with the younger generation who prefer the freedom of freelance work over the stability of corporate jobs. However, recent events have abruptly thrown businesses across various industries into the setup—unprepared and ill-equipped for such a scenario. If you’re new to leading a remote team , you’ll undoubtedly face new challenges . And with almost everyone else new to the work-from-home, it can be even more daunting. However, these teething pains don’t necessarily mean that it can’t be a feasible work format. With the right tools and strategies , WFH can actually be an effective work mode alternative that you can include in your long-term business plan.
Pros And Cons Of Working From Home
The pros of working from home.
Some people have readily embraced the WFH setup for the convenience it offers. But aside from saving costs on transportation and being able to work without a dress code, it has plenty of other advantages. Among those are:
1. More work flexibility
WFH gives you more flexibility to make independent decisions and work with your own rhythm. This results in higher employee satisfaction and morale.
2. Improved focus
Unless you live in a noisy and crowded dorm, WFH means you have an entire room all to yourself. With no office distractions and interruptions from coworkers, you can focus better on your work and finish tasks much faster.
3. Better attendance and punctuality
No long commutes and no traffic jams mean fewer instances of tardiness and absenteeism. Even if you have errands to run or personal appointments to go to, you won’t have to completely miss work to accomplish them.
4. Access to a wider talent pool
You can build your team or enhance your existing one without worrying about location. Some individuals may be highly qualified but hindered by limitations such as disabilities or geographical location. Through remote work, you can include them in your team without restrictions.
5. Better collaboration
A WFH setting removes geographical boundaries and enables you to work with partners across states and all over the world. With the right tools and communication plans, you and your team can collaborate in real-time despite being in different time zones .
The cons of working from home
While working from home has a lot of advantages, it has its downsides too.
1. Costly equipment
You must invest in the proper equipment for your team. Unlike in the traditional workplace where employees can share some equipment, you’d need to provide them for each of your staff.
2. Risk of lower productivity
With remote work, people either over perform or become complacent. If you find it hard to switch off from work mode at home, you can become too stressed and suffer from burnout. You can also become too relaxed in the comfort of your home that you lose motivation to work efficiently. Either way, it can have potential negative impacts on productivity.
3. Plenty of distractions
At home, the line between family and work becomes blurred. There are no clear boundaries between personal time and work hours. You can easily get distracted by pets, kids, chores, television, and even neighborhood activity. Here are more work from home distractions and ways to avoid those to ensure WFH productivity.
4. Social isolation
With no face-to-face interactions, it’s easy to feel alienated from society. You lose your sense of belonging and feel as if you’re not part of the team. If unaddressed, this can affect the employee turnover rate negatively.
5. Limited access to information
Among the greatest challenges that remote work poses is enabling access to information. In a WFH setting, you can’t simply walk to another person’s cubicle to ask for feedback or details on a current project.
Turning a temporary setup into a long-term solution
Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of working from home, you can make more informed decisions on whether to offer it as an alternative to your employees or not in the longer run. If you decide to do so, here are some points you need to consider:
1. Develop a digital work culture
It’s important to establish a company culture in a traditional workplace. Similarly, you must also develop a digital work culture for WFH setups. Although physically distant, ensure that everyone adopts the company vision and has a sense of belonging. It’s also essential to set clear boundaries and establish a structure for work.
2. Focus on employee experience
The abrupt shift to remote work can lead to anxiety. Employees may struggle with the new workflow, which can affect their performance. Make the transition smoother by providing them with the necessary tools and offering encouragement. Acknowledge individuality but maintain a standardized way of working to develop consistency.
3. Enhance communication and collaboration
Stay connected through daily check-ins, weekly meetings, or monthly socials. Maintain constant communication to monitor the team’s progress and each individual’s well-being. It is ideal to use a digital work platform that provides unified communication and contextual collaboration to do so.
4. Provide technology support to remote employees
Equip your team with the tools they would need to do their job. Leverage cloud technology to give them easy access to information. Use mobile apps for maintaining communication and providing feedback to team members.
5. Ensure productivity using digital tools
Use tools such as time trackers and task management applications to ensure productivity. A unified platform such as the Digital Workplace creates a single space where your employees can easily access all the data, systems, and tools that they need. It can enable effective collaboration, coordination, and project management.
Transforming your business for the future
Remote work may come with many challenges, but you can overcome these by learning new skills and imbibing a digital culture. With the right tools and proper mindset, you can unlock new possibilities and transform your business for the future.
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Want to work from home? Understand the pros and cons before deciding
Imagine: Your office chair is your couch. Your commute is the length of your hallway. Your snack drawer is your entire pantry. Think it’s a dream? Not these days when we're all learning how to live with the reality of coronavirus . Work-from-home jobs are very much a reality.
Jobs that let you work from home, an arrangement known as telecommuting, are here to stay. In the most recent American Time Use Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57% of workers in 2018 had a flexible schedule. Additionally, 42 million wage and salary workers (29%) could work from home, and 36 million workers (25%) worked at home some of the time.
Some employees would even be willing to take a pay cut in order to work from home, according to the State of Remote Work 2019 report by Owl Labs . The study reported that 34% of workers would be willing to take a 5% cut; 24% would take a 10% cut; and 20% would take a cut larger than 10%. The reasons workers want to do their jobs remotely aren't surprising: better work-life balance (91%), increased productivity/better focus (79%), less stress (78%), and to avoid a commute (78%).
“Working from home is more and more of a hot topic because of how tight the marketplace is,” says Dawn Fay, senior district president for Robert Half, a recruitment and staffing company. One winning way companies can compete for top talent is by luring would-be employees and retain existing ones with creature comforts.
“Companies will do all sorts of things to entice employees, including offering flex time and work-from-home options,” says Fay. Indeed, according to a survey by Robert Half , 77% of workers said they’d be more likely to accept a job if it offered the ability to work from home at least some of the time.
Or course, while working from your couch sounds great in theory, like everything else, it’s important to understand the pros and cons so you know how to best maximize your arrangement.
If you’re suddenly working a remote job, here are some of the potential advantages and pitfalls to be mindful of:
You are truly independent. It’s much more than just the benefit of getting to work in your pajamas. Working from home means you’ll learn to rely on self-motivation, self-discipline, focus, and concentration.
“As you work through your career, those are really critical components for success,” says Fay. “It sounds simple and obvious but the time management and scheduling you have to do is an important skill to have.”
You can get more work done. As long as you’re not sneaking off binge Netflix, you can actually be more productive when working from home .
“For starters, the remote worker isn’t spending hours commuting,” says J.P. Giugliano, partner at talent acquisition firm WinterWyman. In fact, when Giugliano works remotely, he says it adds three hours of stress-free productivity to his day. Plus, you won’t have the occasional annoyances of office life : interruptions, loud co-workers, chatter, et cetera.
You’ll become a communications expert. When having a quick meeting in the break room isn’t possible, you have to get up to speed on what communication tools are available, says Fay. “From texting, Skyping, emailing, web meetings—out of necessity, you become very savvy in all of those.”
You may forget to clock out. While people might think working from home means doing less, the opposite might be true for diligent employees. “When you don’t have that separation of going to and from the office, your workday kind of blurs together into your home life,” says Fay. Feeling like you’re always “at work” could even lead to burnout .
You can feel out of the loop. You might not realize it until you’re not there, but there is a lot of casual collaboration that happens in an office, says Fay. Whether it’s picking up on the best practices of your colleagues or having an impromptu brainstorming session over lunch, it’s hard to replicate that from home.
You might not have full access to technology platforms. For the most part, cloud technology has made it easier than ever for remote workers to work from anywhere. However, Fay notes that there are situations in which data security or consumer protection concerns might prevent telecommuters from having full access.
Co-workers might accuse you of slacking. When you work from home and can’t get to a call or email right away, your co-workers may not give you as much leeway as they might if you were in the office. People might wonder if you’re taking it easy rather than pulling your weight. “Remember,” says Fay, “the onus is on the work-from-home individual to be overcommunicating what they’re doing and what they’re accomplishing.”
Tips for working from home
Don’t underestimate face time. Be more communicative than usual, if only to boost camaraderie. “There are fewer such opportunities for spontaneous team building when working remotely,” says Giugliano, “so it is important to be proactive in finding ways to engage your co-workers.”
The next best thing? Pick up the phone to congratulate someone after a job well done, or the completion of a project rather than sending an impersonal email or IM, he adds.
Keep it professional. Even if you don’t have a dedicated office, try to set up a workspace and make it off limits to the rest of your household while you’re working. There’s nothing worse than being on an important work call only to have the doorbell ringing, the dog barking, and the kids screaming in the background, says Fay.
Be responsive. Get in the habit of sending a prompt reply whenever you get an email, even if it’s just to say, “Got it,” or, “I’ll get back to you by noon,” says Giugliano. And, do your best to be available for conference calls or other collaborations, even if you don’t have strict work hours.
Set specific touchpoints with your team. It’s smart to set a time each day/week for regular check-ins with your manager and/or your colleagues, says Fay. That will not only help you stay accountable, but it will also remind your office counterparts that you’re still an important part of the team.
Always strive to be a better worker
By entering into a sudden work-from-home situation with the right mindset—knowing you may actually be putting in more effort than before—you can do a great job and enjoy the benefits that go along with it. Could you use some help achieving that balance? Join Monster for free today . As a member, you can get career advice, job search tips, and communication tips to help you be an awesome team member from afar.
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Hot jobs on the muse.
When I’m stressed during work, I sit on the floor and do some belly breathing or throw on some music for a kitchen dance party where the VIPs are just me and my dog, Joy. I work from home for a technology marketing agency , so I can use these stress-relieving strategies as needed without distracting anyone.
Until recently, the idea of working from home was firmly in “must be nice” territory for most employees—the stuff of wistful conversations during post-work happy hours. The Pew Research Center found that before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 20% of people whose work could be done remotely were working from home most or all of the time.
Since then, the workplace has undergone a seismic shift. Global lockdowns forced all but essential workers to adopt remote work almost overnight. People scrambled to set up home offices and adjust to back-to-back virtual meetings and online collaboration.
As of February 2022, nearly 60% of U.S. workers with jobs that can be done remotely are working from home all or most of the time, according to Pew . And in a Muse user survey conducted that same month, 80.8% of the 4,681 respondents said they’d like to work from home full or part time going forward (with users under 25 being the most likely to say they’d prefer full-time in-office work).
Still, the reality of a 30-second commute from bedroom to home office (or dining room table) is more complex than the fantasy. There are significant advantages to working from home for many, but there are disadvantages and challenges too. Let’s look at the pros and cons of WFH so you can determine where you’ll flourish the most.
9 benefits of working from home
If these advantages spark excitement or “I could get used to that” thoughts, WFH may be a good fit for you. But keep your circumstances in mind—remote work isn’t ideal for everyone.
1. You get greater flexibility in your schedule and your day-to-day life is easier to manage.
With remote work, “I can sleep in a little later. I can get up and make sure the kids are moving along and I can go to the gym every morning,” says Heather Bostwick, VP of Marketing and Analytics at Education Dynamics , a higher education enrollment growth agency. Before the pandemic, remote work wasn’t an option for her; now her company is fully WFH and only maintains office space for monthly meetings.
So Bostwick can take care of the ceaseless laundry pileup that comes with kids during her workday. “I used to have six to eight loads of laundry to do on the weekend and then I’d be exhausted going to work the next week,” she says.
Flexibility shoots to the top of the pros list for me too. I can use my breaks to get dishes out of the way or cut veggies for dinner, which gives me more time to spend with my husband and the kids in the evening.
Some remote jobs may also come with flexible hours, which allow you even more control over when you get your work done in addition to where . This depends on your job and employer, but for me, WFH means I can take an hour or two away from my computer to go to the dentist or pop to the store during business hours. When my kids were younger, WFH meant I could make school events without much scheduling fuss, or easily pick up a sick kid from school with just a quick message to my boss.
My mom has also reached the age where she needs help managing day-to-day activities. I’m grateful for the time with her and for my siblings who share in the challenges and joys of caring for an elderly parent, but the stress of being in the sandwich generation is intense. Remote work helps me cope. I can take a break to meditate, exercise, or go for a walk. I can take a half day (rather than use a full day of PTO) to take her to a doctor’s appointment. Going into an office every day would have made this phase of life overwhelming—if not impossible to sustain.
2. You can ditch the time-consuming commute.
Your daily commute can compound or increase your stress levels as you deal with factors beyond your control, such as rude passengers, vehicle breakdowns, and traffic jams. A longer commute can also reduce job satisfaction and worsen your mental health. For many, a commute can be more stressful than the job itself. And if something goes wrong, that can make you late to work.
Plus, even when things go perfectly, even a relatively short commute of 20 minutes will take 40 minutes out of your day—that’s more than three hours a week. If your commute is longer, it’s easy to see how the lost time can add up. Working from home gives you back that time to use how you want. You could squeeze in more work—but I want better for you. We all need a break, so take that extra time to call a friend, play with your pet, hang with your family, or go out to your favorite spot for dinner.
3. You can complete more work tasks and assignments.
A pre-pandemic experiment conducted with the employees of a Chinese travel agency showed that a group randomly selected to WFH showed a productivity increase of 13%—which was attributed to a quieter work environment and more minutes worked per shift. And a 2021 survey of remote workers found that 6 in 10 reported they’re more productive working from home than they expected to be because they don’t have the commute and may be getting a better night’s sleep. At home, workers also gain back time lost to in-office distractions and interruptions, such as:
- The noise and activity of an open office plan
- That chatty coworker who has trouble ending conversations
- Those impromptu meetings or coffee breaks that run long
That’s not to say that there are no distractions that come with remote work, of course, but for many people, the in-office ones are more disruptive to their productivity.
You’re also able to match your breaks to your natural peaks and dips in focus. “Working from home allows you better control over managing your energy,” says Rachel Wallins, founder of Accelerate Talent Management and a productivity and leadership expert.
If you usually hit an afternoon lull at 2 PM, for example, you can take a quick power nap or go for a walk to refresh yourself for the remainder of the workday. At an office, you might feel you need to ‘power through’ like your coworkers, but taking these micro breaks can increase work engagement and productivity.
4. You can be way more comfortable and cozy.
“I don’t miss pants. I don’t miss jeans. I certainly don’t miss underwire bras. Those are never coming back into my world. Never. Nope. Uh-uh.” says Bostwick, who is now a sports bra aficionado. Day-to-day comfort is personal, but working from home gives you choices beyond business or business-casual looks—especially on days that are light on virtual meetings.
Many people with disabilities, such as chronic back pain or mental illness, can also benefit from WFH gear and settings personalized to meet their needs. An employee with chronic joint pain, for example, may feel more comfortable in their ergonomic home desk chair. A worker with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can position their desk near a window to get more sunlight. Someone who moves or fidgets often through the day can do so without worrying about distracting others.
For me, greater comfort means shifting back and forth between my desk and a portable standing desk, as well as working on the comfy couch in the living room with my dog in my lap. Among work perks , that’s priceless if you ask me.
5. You spend less money outside of the house.
According to a 2021 survey by Bankrate, 57% of workers said remote work had a positive impact on their finances. For example, I always spent a lot on lattes and lunches when I left the house for work, so I’m saving for sure now that I make my own.
Of course, individual spending will vary, but here’s where you might save:
- Commuting: Whether you take public transportation or drive your own car—gas, tolls, and monthly passes for the bus, train, or ferry can add up.
- Clothes: A few comfy leggings or joggers, a rotation of relaxed but presentable tops, and you’re good to go. You can get dressed up if you want, but you don’t necessarily have to have a closet full of business garb and professional shoes.
- Food: Getting ready for work and making lunch at the same time is great, but not everyone can fit meal prep into their weeks. At home, you’ve got your own fridge with your own favorite snacks and meals at hand. Best of all, you don’t have to write your name on your chow to keep [redacted] from HR from grabbing your yogurt.
- Childcare: This depends on your circumstances and your child (or children), but if you’re a parent or caregiver, you might be able to save money on daycare or afterschool programs.
On the flip side, you’re home more often which may mean using more power than you would if you were at the office, for instance, or buying yourself some home-office furniture—like a comfortable chair or desk. If you work from home, ask your employer if they offer any reimbursements to offset one-time purchases like that furniture or recurring expenses like the costs of increased electricity bills or the need to pay for a higher-speed internet package.
6. You can choose where to live because you’re not tied to a city or region.
Approximately 5 million workers moved between 2020 and 2022 because remote work made it possible. No longer connected with a physical office, many fully remote employees could keep their jobs and move closer to family, to a dream location, or to an area with a lower cost of living . (Maybe all three!) Just keep in mind that in some cases—like employers that want you to attend in-person meetings once a week—changing locations may not be ideal. You should also make sure to check that your organization can legally employ someone based in the state or country you’re looking to move to.
7. You’ll enjoy more creative control over your workspace.
At an office, you can add some pizzazz to your cubicle with plants and family pictures and knick knacks—to a point. But in a home office, you can make the space truly your own and ensure it sparks joy for your workday. Go minimalist. Go midcentury. Go steampunk if that’s your style! You can also curate your optimal work environment. Set the thermostat just the way you like it. Choose your favorite music and set the volume to “nightclub” if that helps motivate you. Work in your favorite oversized chair with your legs over the arm. When your surroundings match your work preferences, you’ll be able to get more done.
8. It puts you in charge of reducing your carbon footprint.
With no commute, you contribute fewer greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. At home, you can have more control over the environmental impact of your office. Turn off most of the lights in your home, use surge protectors, and set your office equipment to power-save mode. There are also federal and state incentives to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Remote work is not, however, the slam dunk for sustainability you might think. Researchers have found sustainability is not an automatic byproduct of WFH—but it can be an intentional one.
9. Remote work provides wider opportunities for diversity and inclusion.
WFH policies can open up more work opportunities to people with barriers to working in an office environment. Remote work can increase job possibilities and improve job satisfaction for:
- Minorities who report greater comfort working from home. In a survey by Future Forum , Black employees specifically reported twice as much sense of belonging at their company and a 64% boost in their ability to manage stress when switching to remote work, in part because they don’t have to ‘code-switch’ as often and experience fewer microagressions.
- Women who are often the primary caregivers of young children and elderly parents.
- People with physical and mental disabilities or chronic health conditions that make it difficult or impossible to commute to work or spend the traditional 9-to-5, Monday to Friday in an office.
- People who don’t have the ability to cover the costs of childcare or transportation.
- People who don’t live near a company’s physical location. For example, someone who can’t afford to live in a major city or needs to live in a certain area due to personal responsibilities.
5 drawbacks of working from home
Now let’s look at the not-so-awesome aspects of WFH. Many of these may be manageable with some mindset and habit shifts, but be honest with yourself about where you work best—so you make the call that’s right for you.
1. It can be difficult to separate ‘work’ hours from ‘life’ hours.
The boundaries between your job and your life can become blurred when you work from home. According to research from NordVPN Teams , remote employees in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada put in an average of two extra hours of work per day in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you may know firsthand, when work expands and seeps into your free time like this, it can throw off your work-life balance and accelerate burnout .
Working from home means work and life are woven together, Wallins says. But you can use your time wisely and establish boundaries throughout your day to lessen the effects. She recommends:
- Scheduling 45-minute meetings (instead of hour-longs) and using the extra 15 minutes for breaks.
- Taking an actual lunch break—away from your desk.
- Keeping a consistent day-to-day work schedule that starts and ends at the same time.
- Creating a ritual to end your workday. For example, Wallins cleans her office, shuts off her laptop, and then turns it face down until the next morning. Other possibilities include writing your to-do list for work the next morning, taking a walk, or reviewing the workday accomplishments you’re proud of (like a gratitude journal for work ).
2. You could experience isolation and feel disconnected from coworkers.
Loneliness and collaboration challenges were the biggest struggles for remote employees, according to a 2020 report by social media company Buffer. But while isolation from your coworkers may persist if you work from home after the COVID-19 pandemic , you’re not nearly as restricted as you were in the early days of lockdown.
So you’ll have opportunities to counter the impact of isolation by:
- Making regular plans with friends and family.
- Scheduling in-person meetups with local coworkers (if you have them).
- Making time for in person or remote one-on-one or small group meetings with coworkers, which tend to be more relaxed than ‘all hands on deck’ meetings.
- Pursuing a passion beyond work. Join a book club. Learn to knit or play guitar. Create a weekend canoe club. Whatever floats your boat.
- Bringing more of yourself to work. If you’re comfortable, you can share your passions or other bits of yourself with your colleagues. Show off that sweater you knit. Play guitar during a coworker coffee hour. Start a parent or pet owner group within your company. You’ll feel more connected when you learn what makes your coworkers unique and share your authentic self.
Read More: Yes, You Can Still Make Friends at Work If You’re Remote. Here’s How.
3. You may experience the bias some remote workers report.
In a hybrid work environment, there can be bias against those who go fully remote. For instance, your bosses may not notice and appreciate your accomplishments as much or you may not be pulled into meetings that impact your work. You also miss out on spontaneous chats that can deepen workplace relationships, build trust, and lead to promotions.
How can you counter this? If you’re job hunting, ask companies about how the team communicates, how performance is evaluated and recognized, and what strategies or policies are in place to ensure all workers, including remote employees, have opportunities to advance. They should welcome the questions and have clear answers for you about their efforts. If you think remote workers get passed over for opportunities at your current company, you can raise your concerns, share the research, and advocate for more conscious inclusion of WFH employees with your manager, HR, or a trusted higher up.
4. You may lose the creative spark and speed that comes from in-person collaboration.
“We’re on FaceTime and Zoom every day, but you can’t have the same quick side conversations on a video call,” Bostwick says. In her experience, these impromptu interactions often generated the most creative ideas and problem-solving , and she noticed a loss of productive collaboration when her company first went remote.
To compensate, her company now schedules a full in-office day once a month for face-to-face meetings, brainstorming, and team building . “We had an in-person meeting and a colleague had a brilliant suggestion and within an hour we did a reorganization,” Bostwick says. “That would not have happened within an hour if we were all at home.”
Still, Bostwick says her colleagues are adjusting remote collaboration and creating a remote team culture . As they learn what works (e.g., one-on-one calls), they build on that. When they see what slows them down (e.g., back-to-back-to-back meetings), they adjust.
What do you need more of to be creative at work? Perhaps it’s occasional in-person meetings with your team, if that’s feasible. Perhaps it’s one-on-one online meetings every few days. What do you need less of to do your best work? Possibly back-to-back meetings or meetings without a clear objective. Make a list and consider talking with your manager to try to build a better remote collaboration strategy.
5. You’re surrounded by the temptations of home.
You’re on the last episode of your favorite streaming show. The living room needs tidying. Your spouse also works from home and you’d prefer to talk with them than respond to the 37 new emails in your inbox. You’re not surrounded by these pulls on your attention at an office. (Though there are other distractions to be sure, such as the loud phone talker or the chatty coworker.) There’s also less oversight—if that helps you stay on track in the office.
Wallins suggests consciously enjoying those temptations in small doses (say 10 to 20 minutes) and without guilt. That way you’ll keep them in check. She also recommends creating tiny rituals or events to carry you through the days and weeks so your structure doesn’t exclusively come from meetings and deadlines, which can be demotivating. Enjoyable, at-home rituals could be as simple as walking the dog, doing 10 minutes of yoga, or scheduling a lunch every Thursday with a local friend who also works from home.
“Replicate that trip you used to take with a colleague to the coffee shop at home,” Wallins says, “See people. Sit outside in the sun.”
WFH is here to stay and provides new levels of work-life balance and flexibility for more people. But the pros for some people are cons for others, and vice versa. If you imagine your ideal work environment and pursue (or advocate for) conditions that come closest—you’ll set yourself up for success no matter where you work.
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