Top 10 Pros and Cons Of Working From Home
I’ve been working from home for around 7 years now and I vacillate between thinking I could never do it any other way and wanting to work in an office again. I don’t think anyone will argue that you can accomplish tasks more effectively when you can focus. Working from home allows you to avoid a lot of the “noise” of an office; especially in an open floor plan or cube farm. Where it lacks is the opportunity for spontaneous interactions for collaboration or overhearing something from a coworker that helps you.
There are many great blogs about working from home and they do a better job going into the details, but here are my top ten-ish pros and cons of working from home:
- No commute - This saves a ton of time which allows me to use that time for other purposes.
- Business Super Casual Dress Code - I can choose if I want to dress nice or wear sweats. I like both so having that flexibility allows me to dress how I feel most productive.
- Family Moments - My kids are young so being able to overhear something or jump in to play with them for a few minutes is priceless.
- Exercise When It's Best For Me - I don't enjoy exercising at 6AM, my body isn't ready for it yet. Working from home I can exercise over lunch without affecting my personal or professional schedule.
- Less Work Gossip/Complaints - I like to know what is going on with my group, but hearing all the latest gossip and complaints and affect my view of our group.
- Life Errands/Appointments Are Easier - Growing up I was always confused. People worked 9-5 but if everybody worked 9-5, how were working people supposed to get personal stuff done? Working from home makes my personal life easier to accomplish without me feeling guilty by taking time to go to the doctor.
- Save Money - Since I'm not commuting I don't pay for gas or bus and I can make my food at home.
- Eat Healthier - It's much easier to eat healthier at home since I'm not tempted by going out to each.
- Can Set Up Office And Desk To My Liking - I have full control over my office space so I take advantage of that by getting what I want instead of what they provide to me. My sit-to-stand desk and 4K monitor are my favorites.
- Private Bathroom - Who wants a bathroom buddy?
- Have To Explicitly Shut-Down Work - It's easy to keep working when you are always at the office. You need to be honest with yourself about how much you work to make sure you don't harm yourself.
- No Transition Time - When the kids run in the door when you're supposed to be done working, it's hard to flip the switch into fun-dad-mode.
- Personal Distractions - I walk into the kitchen to get water and end up putting dishes in the dishwasher, needing to empty the compost and while I'm at it might as well take out the recycling… What did I come in here for again?
- You Have To Make An Effort To Connect With Coworkers - Since your only communication is through need (meetings, quick chat, etc.) you generally only communicate about the topic at hand. You need to find a way to connect with people beyond a task and get to know them to be a part of a larger community.
- Subtleties Of Interpersonal Communication Have To Be Explicit - Written and non in-person communication can be misunderstood very easily. A lot of nuance is lost and the receiver can receive things differently based on their current mood, view of how they expect you to communicate, they could be multi-tasking, and many other factors. You need to tailor your communication to the recipient based on your relationship with them and the communication method being used.
- Cell Phones Suck - Conference calls with multiple people on cell phones is on my list of things I expect hell to be like. The delay causes so many people to speak over others then you need to waste time apologizing and asking them to repeat themselves.
- No Free Food - Who doesn't appreciate free food left over from a meeting?
- Miss Out On What Others Are Working On - A lot of value is gained from overhearing a conversation around you. “Oh, you're having a problem with X? I saw that last week, here is what I did” or “I'm starting to work on Y and I heard Sarah talking about it last week, I'll check with her.”
- Happy Hour With Coworkers - I miss spending some time with coworkers outside of the office either talking about a project we are working on or something unrelated to work. Getting to know coworkers beyond the office helps you feel that you belong.
- No Spontaneous Collaboration - Sometimes it's nice when someone pops in to say something and you end up bouncing ideas off each other to solve a tough problem.
- Missed Hallway Catch-Ups - I usually find passing someone in the hallway to be awkward and something I like to avoid but occasionally there is an issue that you can ask someone as you are passing and get a quick answer. I also feel like I am closer to people I interact with regularly so even passing someone in the hall helps me feel better reaching out to them for something I need help with.