No commute. No stuffy official wear. No fake smiling all day. All while getting your paycheck. Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? Working from home doubtless has its merits, however, assuming it is all positive would be short-sighted. Here are the pros and cons of working from home.
Pros of working from home
Independence and flexibility
You don’t realize how much of your life is monopolized by your employer, how much control working in an office exercises over your life until you start working from home. Suddenly you decide what to wear to work, you can take your child to the doctor without having to get permission to leave from someone else. Yes, you still have to get work done, but suddenly so many decisions that were out of your hands are yours, your hours are yours, your life is yours again. As much as can be in a capitalist society.
No commute time or expense
It saves commute time and saves you from wasting hours getting to and from work. Avoiding traffic battles ranks among the top benefits of working from home for many people. Then there’s also the added benefit of saving money from fuel and fares to clothing and even meals and childcare. More money in your pocket is always a plus.
Not commuting has the added benefit of decreasing your carbon footprint. Before you celebrate your contribution to rolling back global warming, it’s important to remember that 71% of emissions are caused by 100 companies. Your commute or lack thereof is not even a drop in the bucket.
Less stress and improved work/life balance
Working from home is often less stressful. There’s no stress of commuting and none from personality clashes and workplace politics in the workplace.
You have more control over your stress levels with the ability to easily walk away or take a break when work gets crazy. While it requires some scheduling and discipline to avoid the trap of working all the time, working from home can make finding work-life balance easier.
Long hours spent in the office and on commute reduces the amount of time spent with your family and loved ones. Working from home may allow for more quality time with your family if for no other reason because of being in the same place at the same time.
Improved job satisfaction and productivity
Numerous studies have shown that teleworking can increase both productivity and job satisfaction. Working from home is also incredibly beneficial for introverts and others who prefer solitude. Setting your own schedule means you select the time when you’re most productive to work which means higher overall productivity.
Cons of working from home
Diminished social interaction and movement
Communication via video conferencing tech solutions is no substitute for in-person contact and social interactions with other people. Some companies get around this by having monthly physical in-person meet-ups that also serve to boost workers morale.
You should also schedule meet-ups with friends and family to avoid being lost in increased isolation. Working from home can also be really lonely which is worrisome in a world that is becoming increasingly lonelier.
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You walk a few steps to your desk and you’re at work. Working from home has the effect of leading to decreased movement. This decreased physical exercise and movement has a negative impact on health.
A sedentary lifestyle is linked to poor posture, muscle stiffness, swelling and circulation problems, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, anxiety and depression. You can fix this consequence of remote working by setting deliberate time to walk and exercise. Also, get ergonomic furniture to reduce the physical effects of sitting in a chair that is not good for your posture the whole day.
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Increased likelihood of overworking and distractions
Since your workplace is your home, you run the risk of overworking. Overworking and burnout are common results of work-related stress coming from working from home. Corporations and employers can also take advantage and require more from workers, effectively overworking them. This can lead to inconsistent work-life balance but can be solved by setting clear boundaries between personal time and work time and enforcing these boundaries. This requires a lot of discipline as does avoiding distractions when they arise in the home especially if you have children or housemates. It can also be harder to shut down requiring discipline and strategies in place to stop and power down.
Increased electricity bills and other office costs
Your costs if you work from home for a significant period of time will lead to increased electricity costs including powering your laptop, air conditioning and heating, internet connectivity and even getting a power backup. Home office costs including an ergonomic desk and chair and devices are also expected and may not be covered by the corporation. Working from home also means enjoying fewer office perks.
Requires incredibly discipline
Home can be full of distractions in the form of television shows, other family members, the entire internet, sleep and the kitchen for snacks. Working from home requires incredible discipline to get your work done while maintaining a work-life balance. You need to set and maintain a routine to help you work within the hours and also power down and separate yourself from it once you’re done for the day.
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