Working from home pros and cons
Working from home is still considered by some people a “trend”. No matter how much they try to fit it into this notion, however, it is here to stay. With the new technology advancements and opportunities like cloud services, virtual offices, and a plethora of apps and programs helping work-from-home people, this is, I believe, the future of work. Period.
Well, of course, if you need to be physically present (e.g. if you are a cashier or a bartender), you obviously can’t work from home… But if your job includes a desk, a (decent) chair, a laptop, Internet connection, and a fax/printer, you are totally eligible for working from home.
As convenient as it may seem at first sight, working from home has its downsides as well. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of working from home:
Working from home is, hands down, one of the most flexible ways to get work done AND attend your personal/family needs. Unless your employer/client needs you to be available during standard office hours, you can cross both professional and personal tasks off your to-do list and still get (almost) everything done in time.
An extra hour (or two)
Depending on the distance between your home and your office (and the traffic), you can get an extra hour (or two) by just choosing to work from home. You can use this extra time as you wish – sleeping an hour more, hitting the gym, keeping up with tasks that you are running late with, etc.
Dress code – every day is Casual Friday
I am not saying you shouldn’t look/feel good just because you are working from home. The truth is, you will most certainly find it way more comfortable to work in your casual home wear than in high heels/a tight tie. I am totally guilty of writing this in an oversized tshirt and a pair of cozy jeans, by the way. And barefoot.
Corporate restrictions-free environment
“Oh, how I miss morning meetings”, said no working-from-home person ever. A great advantage of working from home is that you don’t have to stick to office politics. When you work in an office, you cannot lock yourself out of your surroundings – there will inevitably be people interrupting your work, chatter distracting you, etc. When you work from home, you set your own environment so you are more productive (and less annoyed).
More time with your family
Having the freedom to set your own rules means you get to spend more time with your family. You are there for them to cook lunch, pick children up, drop them off, etc. It is very convenient, especially for women with small children.
Last, but not least, when you work from home, your stress levels are way lower than if you work in an office. This is a natural consequence of not having to get up at 6:00 a.m., getting stuck in traffic, etc. Besides this, your home will always have this casual stress-free vibe that (almost) no office space can provide.
One of the worst things about working from home (especially for women) is home distractions. These are little details in your sight that drive you crazy and constantly drag your attention away from the task at hand. Home distractions include dishes that need to be done, laundry that needs to be folded, toys scattered on the floor, beds that need to be made, etc. The solution to this problem is to make sure there are no such distractions at sight. Or clean up the mess before you get to work, of course.
Keeping the work/family balance
Working from home can make it really difficult for you to draw the line of where work time ends and family time starts. No matter how much effort you have put into setting up a functional home office, it is still in your home. And vice versa – once you start working from home, your home will never bring you the feeling of a work-free environment again. Still, there are ways in which you can switch between the two – all it takes is a willingness to do it and some practice.
Willpower (or lack thereof)
It is no wonder that so many people find working from home impossible mainly due to lack of self-control and self-discipline. When your home is your office and you are the one who decides when to work, it is easy to get distracted and not be productive all day. An essential part of being successful while working from home is planning and sticking to your to-do list as strictly as possible.
When you are an employee, this obviously doesn’t apply to you. But, if you are a freelancer who works from home, you don’t get paid sick days or paid leave. This means you have to cover these costs yourself. There is a bright side to that as well, though – at least you get to choose when (and for how long) to be absent from “work” to recharge your batteries.
When you work from home, you are usually paid for results/projects done, not for the time spent in front of the laptop. This means you don’t have the luxury to kill time until the end of the working day, because the end of the working day is when you actually get your job/project done! In other words, when you work 9-5 in an office, your boss pays for your idle time. When you work from home, you are the one who pays for your idle time (usually by working late in the evening or at the weekend).