Because of the technology we have today, there are a lot more opportunities for people to work from home. Individuals can telecommute for a variety of reasons – because they need to care for their children or elderly parents, because of a disability that makes it difficult to commute, because they’re self-employed and don’t want the overhead costs associated with an office.
But as helpful as working from home might seem on paper, in practice it’s often not all that great. There are significant downsides that must be considered before you sign up for this type of arrangement with your employer. You may find it’s just not worth the stress and frustration! Here’s what you should consider:
Working from Home Can Be Lonely
It can be incredibly lonely to work from home. Not having that daily interaction with coworkers can make you feel isolated, and it’s easy to be distracted by the comings and goings of family life.
Working from Home Is Harder Than You Think
While telecommuting is a great way to cut down on travel time, this perk comes at a cost. Working from home often means doing more than one job – working at night when your kids are sleeping or on weekends when they’re around. If you live in an area where others are also geographically challenged (i.e., not where their jobs are), there might be few playdates or after-school social opportunities for your child.
You Can’t Escape Your Workload
Employers may say they don’t expect you to work a certain number of hours, but many telecommuting agreements spontaneously turn into 40-hour-a-week jobs.
You May Be Unproductive
Working from home can actually decrease your productivity – it’s easier to get distracted by household chores or errands that suddenly become top priority when there aren’t others around to hold you accountable. Working from home also means feeling pressured to prove yourself at all times – making mistakes is often more difficult without the cushion of a typical 9-to-5 job.
While there are certainly some great reasons to work from home, it may not be as easy as it seems on paper. Make sure you research how others have fared before committing to this arrangement.
Pros of Working from Home
1. More Productive
Working from home allows you to be more productive. You will not be interrupted by coworkers while trying to finish your work. Being in your home allows you to make your own schedule. You will probably have zoom meetings, but you can get more work done with fewer interruptions.
2. More Mobility
You are not tied to a desk at work so you can be mobile. If you want to grab a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop while working, you can. Being able to get out of your house and work where you want to can help to inspire you to be more productive and less stressed.
3. More Time
Since you are working from home, you will not have to worry about your morning and evening commute. For some people, this can represent hours of time that are now freed up.
You can use this time to get some rest, be with your family, or get more work done. Exercising when you could have been commuting can also be a bonus. You will keep in shape and reduce stress levels. Being with your family can also help reduce stress and promote better communication with your spouse. All of this will help you work more efficiently and productively.
4. Save Money
While working from home, your gas costs will go down. You will also be able to eat at your home which will save you money. Eating out three days a week can carve into your budget. By eating at home, you will have healthier options at a lower cost. Since you are home, you will be able to wear what you want. This will save on dry cleaning bills and laundry. You can relax and work more comfortably.
5. Better Communication
When working from home you will have to hone your communication skills. Things that you might normally look up from your desk to discuss with your closest deskmate must now be shared by phone, text, or online meetings. Learning to communicate efficiently is a great skill for anyone to have. You will learn to communicate via email and text versus person to person communication. This will be beneficial if you decide to go back to an office and in other areas of your life.
Working from home gives you the ultimate flexibility. You are your own boss and can decide when and where you will get your work done. If you want to take a walk in between meetings, you are able to. Being able to be flexible with your work can also help if you have a family. You can take a break to help your child with homework or plan meals with your spouse for the week. If you live by yourself, this flexibility gives you time for self-reflexion and meditation which can ultimately help you to become healthier and less stressed.
7. Work/Life Balance
Working from home can help you maintain a healthy work/life balance. You are no longer chained to a desk for a certain number of hours only to have to end up working overtime because you were not able to get your work done during those hours. Now you can make your hours and get your work done on your schedule.
You can take time to do things you have wanted to do but have not had the time to pursue. Maintaining a good work/life balance is good for your health and happiness. Working from home can offer the flexibility you need to be able to balance your work and personal life.
Cons of Working from Home
While working from home can be an advantage, you may not have access to the technology available from your office. Or, if you want that technology, you will have to pay out of pocket to stay up to date.
Something as simple as an answering service can end up costing you more than you are willing to pay per month. While there are some great bundles available for at home workers, they can still be pricey. Also, if something goes wrong at home you do not have an IT department that can come and fix things. You are responsible for keeping things running smoothly.
While you may get distracted at your office, you can also get distracted at home. If you do not have a good work ethic you might find yourself getting distracted by social media or browsing online.
Taking a break to watch something on Netflix can be fun, but you could also get sucked into a movie or series and lose precious time that should have been devoted to working. Your family can also be a distraction if you have not laid down clear boundaries for working from home. Even your pet can cause some distractions that you would not experience while working at an office.
3. Managing Workers Remotely
Managers will now have to figure out how to manage their employees while working from home. Managing a group of people is easier in an enclosed office setting. Manager will have to figure out the balance between management and the task driver. Being a manager has its own responsibilities and having to work with a remote team can cause stress and adversity both with you as a manager and your employees.
While working from home can provide you more time to do different things and get some exercise, it can also give you the opportunity to overwork yourself. You might find yourself up after midnight getting work done when you should be sleeping or relaxing. It can be harder to find a stopping point when you are not on a clock.
Working from home can cause you to become less social. You are working, eating, and sleeping in the same place. When you work at an office you have other employees to interact with but when you are at home it is just yourself. This solitary work can cause depression and may actually be less beneficial to you in regards to your health.
Because you are working from home, you are working at your own pace. This is fine, unless you have a co-worker who is overworking. This coworker can accuse you of slacking off your responsibilities.
If this gets back to your manager you could end up having a tighter work schedule. It is harder to work with someone when you are not in the same office with them. Lack of communication can cause serious problems when working from home.
7. Days Blur Together
When you work from home you have to keep track of days and times even though you are not in an office. Working from home can cause your days to blur together. This might cause you to miss meetings or not get your work done on time. When you work from home the flexibility that is offered can also end up causing problems if you are not being as productive as you should be.
Are You Ready for Your New Flexible Workspace?
Victory Workspace has been serving professionals in the Walnut Creek, California area for over ten years, bringing together a community of networking professionals to help them grow their business and thrive. We offer a large variety of coworking spaces, short-term office rentals, meeting rooms and a welcoming event space with plenty of free parking for you or your guests. All that while providing our clients with daily opportunities to network with other business-minded professionals just like you! To learn more, set up your free tour or inquire about which one of our services might be right for you, reach out to one of our amazing Community Guides at Victory Workspace for more information.