At one point in our careers, as we were sitting in our little cubes, we dream about all of the freedom we would one day have if we were allowed to work from home. Whether starting your own business or working remotely, working from home is every long commuter’s dream.
While there are many dreamy advantages of rolling out of bed into the office, there are also harsh realities to face when it comes to the day to day of working out of your home. Given the chance, there are some things to consider when making this important decision.
Flexibility – According to the U.S. News and World Report’s article The Pros and Cons of Working from Home (2019) the number one advantage of working from home is flexibility. Taking a trip to the bank, doctor’s office, or picking up a sick kid from school from the office can be a huge challenge, but working from home allows you to take these little interruptions of life in stride while still meeting your business goals.
No Commute – Can I get an Amen? No more sitting in traffic? No more red lights marathons? Yes, working from home means you cut travel time, mileage on your vehicle, and even save at the pump when you aren’t filling up nearly as often.
Fewer Distractions – When working from the office, it can be difficult to manage interruptions or demands on your time with folks swinging by to chat or ask questions. When IM, email, or scheduled meetings become your primary method of communication at home you can more easily manage your time and when it is appropriate to respond. You can also allow yourself to take breaks or walk away from the computer when needed to reduce your stress level.
Work-life Balance – Working from home requires a huge amount of self-discipline, although it also requires the ability to shut off your work brain when work is done for the day. It can be very difficult for the dedicated worker in all of us to stop working when the workday is done. This can quickly get out of hand on weekends and evenings when you go to the computer to check that last email and your work-life balance quickly begins to tilt.
It Can Be Lonely – Not coming into the office daily means fewer human interactions and camaraderie with your peers. It may become more difficult to make new friends and can take an emotional toll when you have less human interaction.
Electronic Communication Miscues – When email or IM becomes your primary method of communication instead of the face to face conversations you had with other departments or your boss, misunderstandings can sometimes occur. It is easy to misread or infer tone in electronic communications and problems may arise.
While there are advantages and disadvantages to every situation we encounter in life, it’s important to make an educated and personal decision when determining if working from home is right for you.