Working from home presents both benefits and challenges. Here's our list of 5 pros and cons to help you decide if working from home is for you.
While many people glorify working from home, it’s still work and comes with pros and cons like any other job. The truth is that some people will thrive more in a home office environment, while others could benefit more from the structured approach of a typical office.
If you’re trying to decide whether to work from home or not, it’s worth considering the advantages and disadvantages before you choose. What works for you may not work for others, so think about the conditions that are best for you to thrive and be great at your job.
5 Benefits of Working from Home
What do you stand to gain from switching to a home office? Let’s look at some of the advantages of working at home:
1. A Personalized Office
When you work from home, you can design your office the way you want it for maximum productivity. Seeing your own décor can enhance your mood while you work and lead to more efficiency. If you work better with some greenery around, you can position your desk near a window.
And part of your personalized office means a personalized work “uniform.” You can also wear whatever you want and stay in comfy clothes, which some find helps their focus.
2. A Custom Schedule
One of the most alluring aspects of working from home is the freedom that comes with it. Take your lunch break whenever you see fit and choose when to start and stop work for the day.
Maybe you are an early riser who likes to take a long break in the middle of the day. Or maybe you’re a night owl that likes to sleep in. Either way, you can set your most productive schedule.
There won’t be anyone hassling you to take shorter breaks or to get to work earlier, which is nice. When you design your own environment and schedule like this, it can mean more time to do what you want and more flexibility.
3. No Commute
When you have to drive to work, you’re spending a lot of time just getting to your job. People who work from home, on the other hand, end up saving hours of time they would’ve spent commuting. The only commute you have to worry about with a home office is getting from your bedroom to your office space.
Professionals who work out of their home office will seldom miss being stuck in traffic or crammed on the subway. And over time, you’ll save money on public transport tickets and gas.
4. Staying on Top of Chores
Another benefit of working from home is being able to do some chores in between your work tasks. Instead of having to set aside time after work or on your off days, you can knock out multiple “to-do” items in a shorter amount of time.
5. Peace and Quiet
Working from a home office is undeniably quieter than a traditional office. You won’t hear multiple phones ringing almost constantly, or chatty co-workers talking about their weekend. Being alone and in a quiet environment can seriously improve your productivity.
You also get the benefit of listening to music at your desk, if you want, whereas some offices may forbid that.
5 Drawbacks to Working from Home
Even the best of things come with some disadvantages. Here are the main drawbacks to working from a home office:
1. Lack of Structure
For many work-from-home professionals, productivity becomes more difficult without a specific structure that comes from a traditional job. You might stay up late one night and have a really hard time getting back into a good workflow the next day.
There aren’t any immediate consequences to starting your day later or working shorter hours, so it can be easier to slack off as a home office worker. Think carefully about whether you’d have enough discipline to structure your days to get your work done.
One of the most obvious disadvantages of working from home is seeing fewer people during the day and not having any co-workers. Now, this can be a great benefit if you’re an introvert who works well alone, but that doesn’t apply to everyone.
More extroverted people who enjoy chatting with people might find themselves unbearably bored and lonely during the day. This is a key reason why so many remote workers go to coffee shops to get their tasks done.
3. Internet Connection
If the Internet goes out in your office, it’s your boss’s problem and not yours. When you lose WiFi (or one of your office machines starts acting up) at home, it’s your issue to deal with and yours alone. That can be a drag for some people who work from home.
4. Lack of Understanding
This will depend on the setup you have, but when you work from home, the people around you may not understand that immediately. You may have friends or relatives calling you to ask if you want to get some lunch or neighbors knocking on your door.
To people who have never worked from home, you might appear unemployed since you’re always at your place. As a result, you might have to set clear boundaries with people and tell them not to disturb you during certain hours.
5. Tempting Distractions
While your old office most certainly came with distractions, working from home introduces some new ones to the mix. While you won’t have to worry about being interrupted by coworkers anymore, you’ll have to deal with resisting the temptation of social media or games when you work from home.
In a more traditional office setting, there are consequences for slacking off. But at home, it can be easier to lose discipline and focus because you don’t have a boss dropping in to check on you or walking by your desk unexpectedly.
How Can You Know What’s Best for You?
You might find that when you worked in a regular office, you dreamt of working from home. Then, after switching to a home office, you miss a more standard work arrangement. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different and that you should pay attention to the conditions that you work best in.
Do you feel energized when you take breaks to talk to people in between work? Do you enjoy having a boss nearby to go speak with in person about your concerns? Or would you rather only answer to yourself and work in a quiet environment?
Asking and answering these questions will help you decide whether you should work from home or not.