From the perspective of an employee, the idea of working from home can sound great, but what’s the reality? For the employer, there may be fewer advantages, but there are still some pretty big ones including reduced overhead costs and happier, more engaged employees.
A lot more offices and employers are moving in the direction of flexibility in terms of where and how employees work. Even if it’s just giving a flex Friday, increasingly people are working at home some or all of the time.
It’s not for everyone, though. The following are some of the big pros and cons of working from home to keep in mind.
A lot of employers made the move in recent years to do open workspaces, which has caused problems and declines in productivity. Employees tend to feel more stressed, get sick more often, and they’re often less productive. These negative effects have led a lot of employers to move back toward implementing more private spaces, in the form of modular cubicles from Sunline Office Furniture or dedicated quiet spaces.
However, even if your office is taking steps to add more private workspaces, there are a lot of distractions when you add the variable of co-workers into the equation. You might get more privacy and therefore more focus and concentration if you work from home.
Pro—You Spend Less Time on Things That Are Inefficient and Make You Unhappy
When you work from home, you can cut out a lot of those things that make life more challenging and erode your quality of life.
For example, you don’t have to commute which takes time away from your family and life and can create stress and negative physical health effects.
You don’t have to worry about office politics and drama when you work from home as well.
You have more freedom to get up and move around when you work from home, so you’re likely to feel better overall.
Improved productivity is a pro of working from home that employers and employees can enjoy. You’re not spending your time on inefficiencies like the ones named above, so you’re putting your effort into actual work. You don’t have to worry about killing time at work when you’ve finished a task for the day because when you’re done, you’re done.
Con—It Doesn’t Work Unless You Have Self-Discipline
If you don’t have self-discipline or strong self-control and time management skills, you’re probably better off working in a traditional environment. For some people, the traditional work environment offers them a sense of structure that helps them focus and manage their time in a way they couldn’t do if they were at home during the day.
You will have not only distractions like social media and email, which you contend with in a traditional office environment as well, but also home life distractions such as pets, chores or leisure activities.
Not everyone is cut out for working at home,and it’s important to assess yourself and your characteristics before you decide to do so.
Con—Work Can Take Over Your Life
When you’re working from home, the idea is that it promotes more work-life balance, but that’s not always what happens.
Some people find that when they work from home there is no separation and they’re not able to “clock out” or turn off the work time. If your computer is sitting there and there’s work to be done, you may find that you’re sitting at it even when you wouldn’t ordinarily be working.
It’s hard to separate yourself from work, and many people find they aren’t able to.
Con—It Can Be Lonely
Everyone is different and so are their preferences as far as what works for them. Some people are inherently independent,and they thrive when they’re alone and able to think and work without collaborating. Some people also don’t necessarily enjoy the social aspect of working in a traditional office.
On the other hand, maybe you’re the opposite. Maybe you do some of your best work through collaboration and bouncing ideas off other people. Maybe much of your social life stems from your work life, and you like the idea of being around other people. If so, working from home could lead you to feel anxious or depressed and could reduce your productivity.
You have to assess yourself and be honest in that assessment before deciding to work from home because there are very real perks, but also downsides.