Have you considered working from home? At first glance, the idea of working from home sounds very attractive. While it has many advantages, there are also some challenges of working remotely.
Let’s take a closer look at both the pros and cons of remote work. Then I will provide some tips that helped me adjust to telecommuting. By discussing this all, I hope it can help you decide what is right for you!
Benefits of Working From Home
When the thought of working from home goes through your head, do some immediate benefits come to mind? I think we can all agree that rushing out the door and sitting in rush hour traffic is not our idea of fun. Perhaps there are other benefits you have not even thought of yet though. Let’s explore some remote work benefits!
- No commute – Since I already mentioned this one above, I will start here. Not only is this a more relaxing way to start your day, but it is also a cost savings! Just think—no gas, less wear and tear on your car, no train or bus pass, and/or no parking pass, to name just a few.
- Flexibility – If you are working independently at home or have a company that allows for a flexible schedule, this can be a huge benefit. You can set your own hours, schedule personal appointments, and even attend activities throughout the day, such as meeting up with friends for lunch, your kids’ recitals/sports games, or whatever else you might be missing out on now!
- Location-Independent – When you work remotely, you have the option to work from anywhere and be a digital nomad! Is your family planning a vacation that falls on a day you have required meetings scheduled? When you work from home and meetings are online meetings anyway, you can still head out on vacation AND make those meetings. Work from the beach, work from a local coffee shop, or your favorite park!
- Comfort of your own space – When you have a digital workspace, you can pick what that space looks and feels like. You can decide if you want to listen to music that day or not, what music you want to listen to, and even how loud you want it playing. Your home office can be any color and any set-up YOU want, allowing you to pick colors and items that make you happy!
- Work-life balance – Working from home often helps people establish a better work-life balance. You can eat better (and often healthier) meals, you can work on small, personal tasks throughout the day, and you do not waste time commuting, which for some adds hours back into their days they did not have before.
What other benefits can you think of that working from home would bring you?
Cons of Working from Home
As I type this article from my home office, I can hear my neighbor outside using a metal grinder. Earlier this morning there was a truck outside my house flushing the fire hydrants. Unpredictable distractions are definitely a con to having a remote workspace and something you will need to learn to block out or work around if you decide working from home is right for you.
What else might have you second-guessing telecommuting?
- Isolation – Isolation and loneliness are some of the top concerns I hear when people find out I work from home. “Do you get lonely,” they ask. “Oh, I could never do that. I would get so bored being alone at home all day!”
- Technology dependence – When your day consists of video conferencing, online project management, apps or website services, and other online resources, you become dependent on technology. If your power or internet services go out, you may find yourself scrambling to get back online and stay on task.
- Separation of work and home – One con that is often overlooked is the fact that your office resides in your home, often creating an overlap of your work and personal space. Some find it hard to turn it off or leave your work problems “at work.”
- Friends and family respecting your work hours – Since I do work from home and can have flexible hours, I find that some people think I am available on a whim. When they know I can create my own schedule, they believe I can make time for whatever it is they are asking me to do. As a people pleaser, I had a hard time saying no for a long time, and I found that all of my “yeses” added up to a lot of time being spent on things OTHER than the tasks that helped pay my bills.
- Home office costs – I know not all of us have a separate room to designate as a home office, so the “cost” we are talking about can vary. No matter the size or location though, there are added costs to working from home that you may not have considered, such as office setup, connectivity, IT support, maintenance, and supplies. Make sure you take these into consideration when you are looking at your own pros and cons.
Tips to Help the Adjustment
I found that I had a certain adjustment period I had to go through when I moved from working in an office to working from home. As someone who has been down this road before, I want to share some remote work best practices to help. I have narrowed this down to my top three tips.
- Set office hours (& stick to them) – By scheduling strict office hours for yourself, you are setting expectations with both your clients and family and friends as to when you are available. It will also help you stay on task and be productive. Setting a consistent schedule and holding yourself to it will also help you separate work and home. Work hours are work hours, and when that time is up you can leave your workspace (and leave work at work)!
- Stay productive and manage your time – Speaking of productivity, this is one I struggled with the most. I found Carrie’s article on Time Management Strategies for Virtual Assistants super helpful!
- Schedule social interaction – To avoid loneliness, make sure to work in social interaction throughout your day. Whether it is a video conference with co-workers or clients, a lunch meeting, a coffee meet-up, or a walk with your neighbor, block time in your day to be social with others!
Is working from home right for you?
To work from home or not to work from home…that is the question! As someone who has personally chosen to work from home, I may be a little skewed on this one! It truly is a personal choice.
One thing I did not list in the pros and cons list is the topic of productivity and distractions. I touched on both above, but these factors can play a role on both sides of the pros and cons list. For some people, working from home is more productive. They have fewer distractions from co-workers, fewer meetings, and can focus better within their own space. For others though, working from home makes it harder to be productive with distractions at home, family interruptions, or chores such as the pile of laundry staring at you.
You know yourself the best—which side do you fall on? Can you stay motivated without a boss or coworkers nearby? Do you crave flexibility and independence in your schedule? Hopefully our pros and cons list and tips for adjusting have given you better insight to help you decide if working from home is right for you!
If you are leaning towards working from home, make sure to check out our free resources for some additional tips!