More of us than ever before are choosing to work from home. While the pandemic turbocharged the remote working revolution, it was already well on its way before Covid hit. The pandemic showed that working from home was not a so-called ‘lazy’ option but often leads to improved productivity and flexibility for employees. As we make our way out of the pandemic, thousands of people are asking, “do I need to go back to the office?”.
Remote and hybrid working is the next era of the modern workforce. You might be wondering whether working from home would suit you and your lifestyle. We’re taking an in-depth look at the pros and cons that come with working from home. It’s everything from finding a work/life balance to reducing your carbon footprint and maximizing your hours in the day. Balancing up the pros and cons of working from home can help you make the decision that’s right for you.
The Pros of Working From Home
Let’s start on a positive note.
Working from home comes with dozens of benefits – which usually far outweigh the negatives. It’s all your lifestyle and the industry that you work in. After all, not every job can facilitate remote working. If you’re considering making the switch, this list might help you pull the trigger and adopt remote working.
Wave goodbye to your morning commute
Your commute can make or break your working day. Most of us would prefer to commute down a flight of stairs from our bedroom to an at-home office than deal with public transport or lines of traffic. The beauty of working from home means that you get a few extra minutes in bed and don’t have to rush out the door at the crack of dawn.
Take a minute and think of how long you spend commuting to and from work every day. It’s likely to be at least an hour of your day. Add in the cost of public transport or refueling your car, and it quickly adds up.
If your daily commute takes an hour every day, that means you could save yourself over 250 hours a year. That’s almost 11 full days.
Working from home means you can use that time more productive, instead of sitting behind the wheel of a car or half-asleep on the bus.
Lowers your carbon footprint
Did you know that working from home can help you save the planet? When you’re not commuting to work, you’re cutting down your carbon footprint. Our main journey every day is usually the one that we take to and from work. When you cut out the need for this journey, your overall carbon footprint drops significantly.
If you’re not commuting to work, you’re also more likely to stay close to home throughout the day.
Saves you money
Along with lowering your carbon footprint, working remotely can help your bank balance as well. Think of how much money you spend on a travel card or fuel for your car. While some companies will cover your travel costs, it’s usually not generous enough to cover your full bill.
It’s worth checking if your company offers remote working initiatives. You might find that they’ll cover the cost of your wi-fi or other programs that you need to facilitate working from home.
You can take the money you save from not commuting and put it towards your savings or an ambitious goal like buying a house.
Lowers your stress levels
While it can still be stressful, working from home will usually leave you feeling less overwhelmed and more in control of your life. It limits stress in numerous ways – including by cutting out your daily commute. Whether it’s delayed trains or road rage, we’ve all experienced stressful situations during our commute.
Working in an office brings with it office politics and personality clashes. When you’re working at home, you’ll usually only see these people through the screen or at the occasional office meetup. If things become too much, you can close your computer screen and grab a quick nap.
You don’t have to worry about anyone tracking your every move. As long as you’re hitting your deadlines and staying in touch with the rest of your team, you’ll often be left alone to work.
Brings flexibility to your life
One reason people choose to work from home is because of the flexibility it brings to their life. You can do things that you wouldn’t be able to do during your 9-5 at the office. As long as you get your work done and attend your meetings, you don’t usually have to be sitting at your desk throughout the peak times of the day.
You can flexibly make appointments when you need to and even work around your childcare needs. Even things like doing your weekly groceries or visiting family members can be easier when you work from home. You can mix and match your hours throughout the week to fit with what’s happening with your life.
When you’re working from home, you can go to the gym any time of the day. It’s easier to avoid peak times, and you can enjoy activities like going for coffee, working out, or visiting your doctor without having to wait.
With remote working, you can even take your work with you on the go. You can still clock into work when you’re halfway around the world.
The Cons of Working From Home
When it comes to looking at the pros and cons of working from home, you need to consider your lifestyle and the industry you work in. While the benefits of remote working can greatly enrich your life, you want to consider some of the negatives that come with remote working. You might not think these are too major, and their importance will differ from person to person.
It’s not all negative, but these are things you want to consider before making the change.
The reality of overworking
The main issue with remote working is that your home and office are the same places. This reality makes it difficult for you to separate your work and personal life. Even though emails can come in 24/7, most of us can leave our work at the office door. When you’re working from home, it can be harder to close your laptop for the day and switch it off.
You might find yourself working earlier in the day and taking longer to clock off in the evening. You could easily find yourself working longer hours at home – for the same pay – than if you were working in an office.
Overworking can lead to stress and burnout. You can offset this by scheduling your day and setting a time when you’re ‘off the clock’. While you might find that there are days you need to work an hour or two longer to meet a deadline, you want to try and stick to your 9-5 as much as possible.
Uneven work hours
While most office workers have a set 9-5 workday, this usually isn’t the reality if you’re working from home. If you’re working remotely, it’s often the case that you’ll work earlier in the morning or late into the evening. The difficulty with working from home is that it might take a larger portion of the day for you to get everything done.
Some people choose to work from home to accommodate childcare and to look after family members. When you’re at home, it’s easy to get distracted or find yourself doing things that aren’t productive for your project. Between making lunch for your partner or picking your kids up from school, you’ll have to be flexible with your working hours.
You lose your daily routine
Another consequence that flows from the first two is that you have a less structured daily routine. Think about your average workday. You probably get up at 6 am – shower, dress, and head out on your commute. You grab a coffee and get into the office by 8:45 am. Once the working day is over, you head home and have dinner. After that, the rest of the day is your own.
When you’re working from home, you lose this sense of structure to your day. Humans are creatures of habit. When we don’t have structure, we struggle to be productive. Working from home means you have to adopt flexibility to your daily routine. You might not even get a chance to have your morning coffee.
If a routine is important for you, it’s worth scheduling your day to add some familiarity to your working day.
The struggle for office space
The reality of the housing market means most of us don’t have a dedicated office space in our homes. It’s a situation we all have to grapple with during the start of the pandemic. Instead of working from spacious office units, most of us found ourselves working from the kitchen table.
Anyone who has ever tried to work from their living room or bedroom knows how difficult it can be. This setup makes it even more difficult to find a healthy work/life balance.
Part of the problem is that you want to maintain a professional appearance, even while working from home. With the rise of Zoom and video conferencing, it’s not just you who will be seeing your at-home setup. If you want to appear professional in meetings, you need a space that is appropriate for your colleagues to see.
If you can, it’s worth finding a space in your home that is your own. It should be somewhere that you can get away from the rest of your family. Having a door is a bonus as it can help you block out distractions and other people.
You don’t need to have a dedicated office room. If you’re limited on space, find a place to set up a desk and build a professional backdrop. When you need to change up your setup, head to a coffee shop or workspace when you want to have a little extra space. You want to avoid taking any professional meetings when out in public.
Miss out on building team relationships
If you’ve ever been on a Zoom call, you know how impersonal they can feel. It’s difficult to build relationships with people when you’re only able to see them through a tiny screen. When you’re working from home, you often miss out on the human connections that you develop with your team members and colleagues.
We’ve all heard of the phrase “work wife” or “work bestie”. When you’re not seeing people in person, it can take years to form the relationships that you can usually build within a few weeks.
The other type of relationship that you’ll miss out on is mentors. Having a mentor in your office can help you scale up your career and progress to the next level. It’s harder to build that relationship when you’re not together in person, and your company’s management is less likely to spot your potential when you’re not in front of them.
Reliance on technology
When you’re working at the office, you’re not always sitting in front of a screen. Working from home means that you’re relying on technology to fulfill your job. If the wi-fi was to go out for a day or your laptop suddenly, you can find yourself in a difficult situation and unable to meet your deadlines.
You always want to have a backup plan and account for any wi-fi blackouts or technology issues. Planning means that you can still keep working, no matter what happens. You want to make sure you’re utilizing cloud storage and systems so that you can work from any device. At least one of your devices should be 4G or 5g compatible so that you’re not entirely relying on wi-fi.
We hope that these pros and cons of working from home help you decide whether it will work for you. More businesses are choosing to make the shift over to remote working. Hybrid working is another option that you can explore, giving you the best of both worlds. Working from home isn’t for everyone, but you can guarantee that we’ll all be doing more of it in the future.