Thanks to the advancement of technology, it is now very feasible for many people to work almost entirely from home. This can seem hugely attractive for many reasons but there are downsides that may not be immediately apparent. If you are considering moving to a work from home job then be sure to consider the following pros and cons.
The Advantages of Working from Home
1. You Control the Office
At home, you are incomplete control of the office environment. You can set up the office exactly as you want and there is no chance of conflicts with your colleagues. For instance, in the summer you can set the air-conditioning to any temperature you like, you can also setup the room and your desk in the manner that is best for you. Studies have shown that this is a great aid in improving work efficiency and it is one of the biggest advantages to working from home.
2. You Control Your Time
Many people find that their natural work rhythms do not fit in with office work hours. At home, you can work at the times that suit you best and according to your mood. You can set your own work hours, which is highly likely to increase productivity, and you will have the freedom to work in the way that works best for you. You will also save time by not having to commute to work and back, and it also means that you will not have to worry about inconveniences such as office dress codes or rush hour traffic.
3. You Set Your Daily Schedule
If you work in an office then you pretty much have to work from the moment you arrive until you leave with perhaps just a break for lunch. If you are working from home, you can schedule your own breaks as and when you need them. It becomes far easier to relax if you can go to your living room for a quick cup of coffee rather than drinking one at your desk in the office.
4. You Will Become More Proactive and Independent
If you are working alone at home, it means that you will not have colleagues around you to rely upon. This means that you will have be more independent when it comes to decision making and be more proactive in your work. Of course, you will not be completely isolated, thanks to modern technology, but you will find yourself relying on others less, thereby increasing your abilities and skills.
5. Technology Ensures You Stay in the Loop
Thanks to modern technology, working from home does not mean that you are out of the office loop. Today there are many ways of staying in touch including email, video calls, telephone calls and more. This means that if something urgent comes up or if you need to take part in a meeting, you can do so with no problems whatsoever.
6. You Can Find a Better Work-Life Balance
One of the hardest things can be maintaining a healthy work-life balance but working from home can make this considerably easier. While you will still have work responsibilities, the lack of a commute makes it far easier to spend more time with friends and family. On the other hand, you can also quickly visit your ‘office’ if necessary. As a result, you are more likely to find yourself feeling that you have found a healthy balance between the two.
7. The More Responsibility You Have the More You Commit
Working at home is a big responsibility. The company you are working for is trusting you to work effectively and efficiently without any direct oversight. However, normally people tend to commit more to their jobs when handed more responsibility. Therefore, when working from home you may find yourself more committed to your job, performing better, and advancing your career at a faster pace than if you were in an office.
8. You Will Save Money
You will find that you save a great deal of money by working at home. You will not be spending any money on your commute, take out lunches, ensuring you have the right clothes for the office and so on. Furthermore, you can claim a number of home office expenses to raise your next tax return. Thanks to this, you will find your salary going a bit further each month.
The Disadvantages of Working from Home
1. You Need Great Self-Discipline
Working from home does require a great deal of self-discipline. If you go to the office then your boss is there to keep an eye on things and you are in an environment where everyone else is working. At home, you will suddenly find that there are many potential distractions. You could turn the television on, take the dog for a walk, decide to cook a meal, and so on. If you are going to work from home then you need to make sure that you have the discipline to sit down and focus.
2. It Can Be Very Lonely
Working at home can be very lonely. There is no office comradery and it is possible that you could go all day without talking to anyone. It is important that you make an effort to get out of the house after work on a regular basis and make an effort to meet new people.
3. There Can Be Communication Problems
While modern technology gives us many ways of communicating with our colleagues, nothing is quite as efficient as having direct access in an office. You may become stuck on a piece of work and need to consult with a colleague. In an office, most of the time you can go straight to their desk and get an immediate answer. If you are working from home it can take much longer to receive a response, they may not be answering messages or emails, and this way you can waste a great deal of time. Furthermore, often communicating via email or instant messaging is far less efficient that a face-to-face conversation and this can also lead to time being lost.
4. You Will Miss Out On Office Life
It may sound obvious, but you should carefully consider how much of office life you might be missing out on. You will not have the comradery that comes with working in an office. Having a good rapport in a friendly office can be a great help when work is tough or going badly. This can also lead to poor coordination between you and the company, which will complicated your life.
Similarly, you will miss out on the day to day occasions that punctuate office life. This might be something as small as a cake brought in for a colleague’s birthday or it could be much bigger, such as the introduction of new technologies, a major company celebration, a company activity day, and so on. Many people will be happy to miss these kind of occasions, but it is a factor that needs careful consideration before committing to working at home.
5. Your Family Need to Understand That You Are Working
While working at home will enable you to spend more time with your family, it is important that they remember that you are actually at work. Your children or spouse may pop into your office to ask for help with something, and even if that only takes a few minutes, it can become a bad habit. Your family and you need to learn to behave as if you are in an office when you are working; otherwise, you will find yourself becoming extremely inefficient and most likely falling behind on work.
6. You Need to Make Sure You Get Out of the House
Working from home means that there is no commute. However, this means that you need to find other reasons to make sure you leave the house. It is too easy to become trapped in a cycle where you get up, start work, finish work and then just relax at home. This is unhealthy and ultimately it will leave you feeling lethargic and miserable. When working from home you should do your best to get out of the house every day, even if it is just for a half hour walk during lunch or after work.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether working from home will suit you. In most instances, it will depend a great deal on the nature of your work and your personality. Many people today work part time at home and part time in the office, which is a very good way to start. Be sure to consider all of the issues outlined above before making a decision, working from home can be a wonderful thing, but it requires some careful thought.
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