This post was most recently updated on December 16th, 2022
[A collaboration post – all thoughts are my own.]
Before the pandemic, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have said they need to have team meetings, meet customers and clients face-to-face, or have a comfortable place to sit down and get on with their work.
Almost a year later, one of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us of is that humans are incredibly adaptable. Most of us have learned that we can do our work from home, and in many ways, we have discovered that working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise. It is one of the strengths of our kind.
When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but also the people around us. Humans are adaptable, and this adaptability gives us strength.
So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below, I will share some things I have discovered since making the change to being mostly a person who works from home.
Pros and cons of working from home
Pro #1: A more relaxed start to the day
In the past, whenever I had to leave the house early for work, I would always set my alarm to wake me up with just enough time to clean the house, take a shower, have breakfast, and get dressed. Mornings have always felt rushed.
I can now sleep in a little longer, walk the dogs in the morning, clean the house, and have breakfast. And instead of rushing to leave the house at a certain hour, I can take ten minutes to review my daily schedule and get a head start on the day with less stress.
You start the day off more positively when you’re in a more relaxed mind. You notice that you have greater clarity and attention and that you are not spending energy worrying about being late.
Pro #2: Quiet environment to increase productivity
When you work from home, you can close the door and focus on your work for an hour or two. It is amazing how much work you can accomplish if you shut down your email in order to reduce the chance of being disturbed.
It takes us less time to finish our work when our productivity rises. This means that we can invest more time in things that will boost our mental health as well as our relationships with family and friends.
Pro #3: More control over your day
We have far more control over our job when we work from home since we get to pick the projects we want to work on and no one is always observing us. We have the option of getting up and moving to a different location or between rooms. In addition, if you have a garden, you could spend some time working there on nice days.
I can very clearly recall having a set workstation when I used to work in an office. With plenty of natural light, some of these workstations were attractive, but other places weren’t as nice. I can choose where I work more freely if I work from home. I can either work from home or at one of my favorite nearby cafes.
Of course, you are also more flexible in terms of private appointments. A doctor’s appointment at 3 pm? No problem! Hairdresser at 8 am? Sure thing.
Pro #4: You’re free to choose your office environment
Many companies will provide you with a laptop or other piece of technology to use for your job, but some may give you money to buy your own. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.
I have seen many excellent home offices with amazing setups. Including better chairs and laptop stands that make using a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore better for your neck. You can also pick wall art and trinkets for your desk or table. With so much freedom, you can create a fantastic and highly effective work environment that is also enjoyable to work in. You will unavoidably produce better work if you enjoy what you are doing.
One of my biggest advantages is that I can design a workspace that is perfect for me. Furthermore, if I don’t feel like working from home, I don’t even have to. A beautiful park, your favorite café, or a coworking space close to you are all great places to work on your laptop. By doing this, you will also have the chance to connect with other professionals who work remotely.
Pro #5: No Commute
There will be no more unpleasant traffic jams. I used to hate this part of the day the most when I had an office job, especially when my office was located near a tourist area in Bali. It was extremely upsetting and stressful.
Early in the morning, especially on a Monday, you are surrounded by the frustrated, exhausted, and stressed-out expressions of everyone who commutes every day. How are you supposed to keep your positive mindset?
I don’t want to start my days out like this. It’s a genius idea to work from home instead of making long trips every day. It is possible to get out of bed and start work. If you’re like me, your workday actually begins while you’re still in bed. I wake up, power up my phone, and check non-work apps first.
I then read through my inbox and replied to any simple messages. I get out of bed and use the computer when I receive a message that requires a computer to respond. There is no commuting time, which results in monthly time savings of at least dozens of hours.
Pro #6: More family time
You now have more time to spend with your family or friends because you no longer have to spend it commuting. If you are a family person with a flexible work schedule, you can watch your children in the morning and move your work to the afternoon if there is no other option.
I was able to plan a regular self-care session with my mom and spend the evenings with friends going to the movies. You also might be able to attend school events that you have previously missed due to your job. Alternatively, you may meet your difficult-to-meet pal who works shifts.
Con #1: We move a lot less
We move when we travel to and from our workplaces. Many workers drive their own cars or take the bus or train. Then there is the activity that occurs when we go out for lunch. We must move more when working in a workplace.
Unfortunately, working from home naturally makes us move less, which prevents us from burning the necessary amount of calories. Our health depends on movement; therefore, if you work from home, you need to pay much better attention to how you move. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. If you can go outside, go for a walk or get up from your desk and move.
Con #2: Less human interaction
Because we are social creatures, humans need to be with other people. When we work from home, we are cut off from that human interaction, which might make some people feel sad. Without that connection, we begin to feel alone, which might result in mental health issues.
The interactions we have at work are frequently unplanned. But with video calls, there isn’t any spontaneity because the majority of these calls are scheduled, which isn’t spontaneity. Video calls have their uses, but they can’t replace the connection that comes from a team of people working on a solution together.
Even while you occasionally have calls and online meetings with your clients or team members, you will spend most of your time alone at home. No quick coffee breaks, no shared lunches, and no discussing your weekend plans with your coworkers. Being socially isolated can be very challenging for some people.
Con #3: The cost of buying home office equipment
Not all companies will provide you with a huge budget to purchase pricey home office equipment. Setting up an ideal work-from-home workspace can prove expensive for many people. A lot of people have to make do with what they currently have, which may include uncomfortable chairs that strain their necks and backs.
Companies will need to help their employees in ways that will add more costs to an already reduced bottom line in preparation for a future that most likely involves more flexible working arrangements.
Con #4: Unique distractions
Some people find that being able to drive to work allows them to concentrate on their work while avoiding the noise and needs of a family. Working from home minimizes this and can make video calls practically impossible.
Setting some boundaries is necessary to avoid this where it is possible. You should take every reasonable precaution to keep your personal and professional lives separate. When working from home, distractions are likely to occur anywhere. To concentrate on your work and complete it, you really need to have a lot of discipline.
Con #5: Temptation to overwork
The problem with working from home is that you inevitably end up working more hours than you save. I have worked too many hours in the day; in fact, I work more than 8 hours per day, and sometimes I also work on the weekend. I have to put in extra time and sometimes stay up late when I have a translation or video subtitling project.
What am I trying to say? Try to establish a regular work routine with start and finish times. You sleep at home. You work at home. It can be difficult to keep personal and professional lives separate at times. You can genuinely work all day because you are not restricted by workplace hours. Your job is the center of your entire life.
If you enjoy your job, you might not immediately see that as a problem. However, as soon as your personal and professional lives collided, you faced the danger of burning out. It is important to set up a home office specifically for work purposes and to organize work schedules for this reason.
Con #6: Bad reputation
*Sigh* This is one of the most inconvenient aspects of working from home for me. Simply put, people don’t value it as highly as an office job.
So many times has my family asked me, “So, when will you finally find a REAL job again?” that I can’t even keep up, or “Could you help me with [insert any random 2-hour long task] today? You’re at home anyway and have time.”
People simply don’t see it as work, despite the fact that you may be working far more hours than you normally do. Very frustrating!
For many people, working from home can be incredibly beneficial, but for others, it can bring serious challenges. Our current method of working is changing. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be ready to support their staff when they make the switch. There will be some thought required, but it won’t be impossible.
Do you see any more pros and cons of working from home? Let me know in the comment section below!