There are many pros and cons when it comes to working from home versus working in an office.
Some people are more comfortable in an office setting, while others prefer to work from home. Recently more people have been facing the choice of working from home as opposed to working from their office.
This article will explain some of the pros and cons of working from home and working from your office.
7 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.
The 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 on line.
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 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.
Pros of Working in an Office
When you work in an office you are provided structure for the whole day. There is less of a chance to slack off so you are able to get more work completed. You have a designated start and stop time that will help you to stay on track.
You will only have a certain amount of time for lunch, but you can use that time to eat and exercise. This will not interfere with your working hours.
Being in an office will give you a better chance of collaborating with your colleagues. If you have questions about a joint venture or just need a sounding board, someone will be right nearby.
You can have lunch with your colleagues and talk about work. Being able to collaborate can actually help you be more productive and get your tasks done on time.
Working in an office gives you plenty of chances to socialize during your work day. You can take a break and walk around the office and talk to your friends.
Some offices provide birthday and anniversary parties along with outside of work get-togethers to help you stay in touch with your coworkers. You can socialize and get work done at the same time.
When you work in an office you know what is expected of you and when you are expected to do things. Your manager will keep you on track and make sure your work is getting done in an efficient time period.
You can take some breaks, but you will be notified if you are taking too many or not doing the work that is required of you in a timely fashion. Managers will be able to work hands-on in an office environment and this can be beneficial to you and other employees.
5. Work/Life Balance
Being able to leave your work at the office can be beneficial for your work/life balance. Once you are out of the office, your work is basically done and you are free to exercise, socialize, or go home.
You can leave your computer at work and not worry about getting things done later that night. Leaving your office after getting your work done can be a very satisfying feeling.
6. Varied Meals
When you work at an office you have the option of eating there or eating out. Chances are there will be a variety of nearby restaurants within walking distance that you can choose from. Some offices also provide lunches that are healthy and varied. If you choose to bring your lunch, you can; however you also have the choice to go somewhere new and exciting to help break up your day.
7. Career Growth
Working in an office can provide a quicker path to career growth. You are visible to your manager and their bosses.
You can show them in person how good your work ethic is and what they can expect from you. Showing up and doing a good job can help you advance quickly in an office environment.
Cons of Working in an Office
1. Office Space
While you might have a great desk and a good computer at your office, you might also be limited on what you can do with your office space. You might just be able to put a few pictures on your desk. When you work from home you can design your own office to be as varied as you are.
While you might be able to fit a walk or jog in at lunch or be able to go to the gym after work, you are constricted by a time schedule. You cannot just get up and move around when you feel like it. Meetings in offices usually take longer than meetings online. You have less time to keep moving and help relieve stress that has built up during the day.
You can be very productive at your office, but you can also end up not being as productive. If you have a deadline to meet, you might be interrupted more when you are working in an office.
Because your manager and other employees can see you, it is more likely you will be interrupted while trying to complete your work. Since you are at a desk in an office, people know where and when to find you.
What might be important to them, might not be important to you but you need to stop what you are doing and talk to them. These frequent interruptions can cause you to be less productive while working in an office setting.
Because you work in an office you will have to commute. This can be simply hopping in your car and driving to work, or having to get on busses and subways to get to your office. Commuting takes up valuable time that you could be using to work, exercise, or sleep in.
And if you have a difficult commute the stress from your commute will take up some of your work time. Having to destress from a difficult commute will take away from your productivity. And, when you commute you can end up being late for work at the office which will not look good when your manager is getting ready to hand out raises or promotions.
5. Work Clothes
When you work in an office you will be expected to dress for success. These dress clothes are usually more expensive than casual clothes and have to be specialty cleaned.
When you break for lunch, if you get something on your work clothes you might end up with a stain for the day until you get home. Not only will this set the stain in and make it harder to clean, you will have to invest in another work outfit to avoid walking around with stains.
This ends up costing you money that you could be spending on things you enjoy.
There is no flexibility when it comes to working from an office. You will clock in and out the same time Monday through Friday. If your child is sick or your spouse needs extra help with things, you might not be able to help out. If a relative or friend invites you out for an early dinner, you might not be able to attend. Your life is more structured, but that might leave you with less flexibility to enjoy things outside of work.
When you work in an office you are a slave to a certain temperature and setting. Most offices keep their heat and air at an established temperature that benefits the bottom line more than you, the employee.
This can cause you to have chills or heat flashes which will distract you from your work and leave you less productive. While offices are kept clean you do not have any say about what cleaning supplies are used. If you have allergies, they can be exacerbated by the cleaning spray that is used in your office. At home you control the temperature and setting of your environment.
Working from home and working at an office both have advantages and disadvantages. If you are able to structure your day and get your work done with minimal supervision, working home might be good for you.
If you crave socialization and outside structure, an office could be more beneficial. You need to weigh the pros and cons before starting any new position, or making a change at your current job. Figure out what works best for you and what will keep you happy and productive.
Liam Martin is the co-founder of Time Doctor—one of the world’s leading time tracking software for remote teams. He is also the co-organizer of Running Remote, the world’s largest remote work conference.