When people think about working from home, their minds will usually navigate straight to the benefits. For many, the idea of working remotely is attractive because of the generalised mentality that remote jobs don’t require “real work”. In fact, working from home is often not easier than working from a traditional office space. The experiences are certainly different – but different doesn’t necessarily equal less effort.
Although there are plenty of advantages to working from home, which we’ll explore in this blog, there are also quite a few disadvantages to working from your home. As with any job in any company, the quality of your remote work environment depends much more on your job requirements than where specifically you are working from.
No work environment is without its struggles or shortcomings and a remote workspace is no different. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the pros and cons of working from home.
Pro: Removing the need for a daily commute
One of the greatest advantages of working from home is being able to do away with your daily commute. Many people spend hours in traffic each day, to and from their jobs. When you work from the comfort of your home, you can sometimes save dozens of hours each month that you would otherwise have spent in a car or on a train or bus. Since most remote workers have a home office, you can roll out of bed, get dressed, and be at work ready to go – in no time at all!
Con: Getting a change of scenery takes some effort
Even the most comfortable home office can get boring. Fancy gadgets get old over time and the space you’re working in will likely start to look a little less appealing as the days go by. This is especially true if you despise monotony and dislike the tedium of a traditional office space. If you don’t live close to a coffee shop, park, or co-working space, then you can easily develop a disdain for your office and develop a strong urge to see and experience something new.
Pro: Less unnecessary ‘cooler talk’ interruptions
Co-workers are often a source of distraction that goes unnoticed in a traditional office setting. Innocent salutations can turn into long-winded conversations that take your mind off of work and the task at hand. Although conversing with others is not a bad thing, being interrupted with unnecessary banter can cause you to stress later down the line. Once interrupted, you are likely to need some time to refocus and redirect your full attention back to your work. This process, plus the lengthy conversation, can lead to missed deadlines or sloppy and rushed work. No
co-workers = no mundane co-worker talk!
Con: Feelings of loneliness are common
Not everyone is cut out for the solitude that working from home can mean. If you don’t have roommates or family members to interact with, it may be days (or weeks) before you have a conversation with someone in a social setting. Even if you see your co-workers virtually during meetings or talk to friends regularly, not being physically present with others for days at a time may prove to be a challenge. This is especially true if you work in a different time zone from your co-workers, which makes interactions even more challenging to have.
Pro: Work flexibility makes getting personal tasks done much easier
Many remote workers have autonomy over their work and can set their own schedules on a daily or weekly basis. For these types of employees, completing everyday household and personal tasks is easier to do and less stressful to organise. Childcare, errands, taking care of loved ones, and other household duties are easier scheduled when work hours are flexible.
Have a doctor’s appointment you need to attend? You can simply slot the missed time into your schedule and add it to another part of your week that is more manageable. No need to take PTO or ask your boss for permission!
Con: Virtual communications are often misconstrued
When speaking with someone face-to-face, you are able to not only hear the tone of their voice but also observe their body language and social cues in full. Virtual communication is useful for connecting teams that are working separately, however, even a video call is not as effective as an in-person interaction. The same can be said for written communication. Tone and context are often less easily identifiable via messaging platforms, which can lead to issues that may be detrimental to the outcome of a project.
Pro: Saving money on gas, meals, parking, and work clothes
Since there’s no daily commute, you’ll be saving money on gas or transportation costs each month. In just a year, it’s possible to save thousands of pounds in gas or bus or taxi fare, simply by switching to a work-from-home position. In addition to the money saved from a lack of commute, you can also expect to keep some extra money in your pocket that you would otherwise have spent on lunch and snacks at work. Being at home means there’s less temptation to run down to the nearest restaurant for lunch and, since you’re home, there’s no vending machines or company kitchen to worry about! Things like parking and buying work clothes also become less of a factor, since you’ll be keeping your car at home and needing less work clothing than you did previously.
Con: Work-life balance is difficult to set
When you leave a traditional office, the vast difference between your home space and workspace generally encourages your brain to switch over to “relax” mode. Working remotely, your home and work are the same – which often leads to challenges leaving work-related concerns and tasks alone once the workday has come to an end. When the office is only a few steps away, putting down work or leaving an urgent project is that much more difficult.
Alternatively, you may have difficulty getting work started or taking your focus off of personal responsibilities.
All in all, there are various pros and cons to working from home, just as there are for traditional working environments. No job is truly “easy” and the work environment you best thrive in is dependent on several different factors. If you’d like to explore a new remote position or are interested in seeing what work-from-home jobs you may be qualified for, use the remote employment website, Remote Worker UK, to help locate and apply for jobs in your field.
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