I’ve been working from home for seven years now. I love it, but it’s not for everyone. The pandemic has inspired many of us to seek only remote jobs. With people happier in their at-home workspaces than ever before, employers are looking at working from home as a permanent option and not just as a byproduct of a pandemic.
Before choosing to stay a remote worker, it’s important to understand the pros and cons if it’s been offered to you by your employer. Remote working may be something that really appeals to you if you are somebody who needs some flexibility and you want to cut your commute, but if you prefer the camaraderie of an office, then you might consider a hybrid or in-office position.
If you don’t have a suitable home office setup just yet, you can read more here about how to make your office situation much more flexible and efficient. Below, I’m sharing the pros and cons of working from home so that you can see both sides of the argument.
- Money. One of the best benefits of working from home is that you’re going to save a small fortune on both the commute costs and the cost of lunches, office attire and other things. A downside might be increased electricity or furniture costs if your employer doesn’t offer a stipend. You also will need a good internet connection and possibly another computer monitor, if not provided.
- Balancing your personal life. This is one of the most important considerations for remote workers: How does it impact your personal life? If you have a family, then working remotely is going to allow you to be there at the dinner table every single night. It’s a great advantage of working from home that you get to interact with your children and your pets more often than if you were in the office. When you’re doing your Zoom meetings, your dog can make a cameo and make everybody smile. The downside? You still have to put on a face and you blur the line between working and home life. Unless you set those boundaries, it’s very easy to let meetings bleed from one hour to the next. It’s also easy to work later hours because there is no separation of work and home. You might also be interrupted in meetings by your children or dogs, if they’re home. At my job we call these Zoom crashers.
- Attire. When you go into an office environment it’s expected that you dress professionally. Whether you are wearing suits in the boardroom or your dress code is business casual, you need to consider your clothing and your office attire. When you work from home, some people choose to wear more casual clothing, while some companies still require business attire. Yes, you’re more likely to wear your sweatpants and slippers than your pencil skirts and boots, but you do you still have to consider the fact that if you have meetings you need to be semi-professional online. I’ve also noticed that I miss getting more dressed up for office functions, but not enough to want to work in-person.
- Coworkers. If you are an extrovert, being at home and working by yourself is going to be difficult for you. Sometimes you miss having people to talk to you during the day. There is no water-cooler talk at home, although you could always hop on the phone or send instant messages. Introverts might love work from home, because there are not as many awkward encounters. You’re also not obligated to make friends with people that you wouldn’t really hang out with in your daily life outside the office. If you like being friends with coworkers outside the office, working remotely is not for you.
- The commute. No more will you have to wake up late and try to avoid traffic when you’re going to work. You don’t have to pay for gas, parking, tolls, bus or train tickets, car maintenance — the list goes on. You are also not going to be wasting an hour in the morning or in the evening just trying to go home or get to work. The problem here is that if your commute has always been a walk to the office, you’re going to lose out on that walk. For some people, the commute to work is the only form of exercise so it becomes important to take exercise breaks throughout the day. When you work from home, you need to make time to go for a walk.
- Office politics. One of the biggest advantages of working from home is that you know longer have to be involved in office distractions that could really take away your productivity. Office politics can also make you feel uncomfortable as a person and nobody wants to have to deal with that.
- Work-life balance. When you work from home, you are able to go to appointments or to attend school pickups. Management teams often don’t require you to be constantly available throughout the workday, as long as you get your work done. You get to spend more time on your passion projects or with family, because you save time on a commute. However, you might not really feel like you’re separating your home life from your work life, which can make it difficult to feel balanced in the end.
Remote working is not for everybody, but if it is for you, make sure that you have the right office setup and are taking care of yourself.