Updated: Mar 19, 2020
Is working from home something that you dream of? Days spent cosied up indoors in your comfies, MacBook on your knee with Netflix on in the background and unlimited access to tea breaks? Sure, there are a lot of positive things that come with working from home but as with everything in life there are also some negatives which often aren’t really considered until you’re left facing them head on.
To help give you a balanced view of what it’s REALLY like to swap the corporate office for your own home I thought I’d round up some of the main pros and cons of working from home. Now let’s keep things light by diving into the positives first!
Freedom to work wherever you want
Woken up feeling motivated to crack on and get lots of tasks ticked off at your desk? Perfect! Suffering from the dreaded afternoon slump and fancy spending the rest of the day working from the comfort of your sofa? You got it!
When you work from home you really are free to go wherever your mood takes you and removing the pressure to be chained to your desk for eight hours straight often leads to increased productivity. For example, when I’m tackling more creative tasks such as writing blog posts or scheduling content for social media I often find that I work better in a relaxed environment such as my living room so I try to embrace this and not be too strict on solely working in my office. My number one rule though, NEVER work from bed!
You have a say over your environment
Regularly finding yourself caught in the middle of office arguments over the thermostat? Someone used the last of the milk and not replaced it again? Fed up of your desk position by the toilet? The good news is that when you work from home there’s no one there to tamper with your space, things will be left exactly as you like them and there’s no need to ever worry about anyone stealing your lunch from the communal fridge again!
Working within an inspiring environment can often have a positive impact on your productivity and when you work from home you have the freedom and flexibility to design your workspace exactly as you like it. Whether that’s a desk positioned by the window to maximise on the natural daylight, or perhaps over by the radiator to keep warm in the winter months you have the option to make your workspace as comfortable and inspiring as possible!
Wave goodbye to the commute
How about trading in the hour spent on the road for a thirty second commute across the hall? Sounds pretty appealing doesn’t it? Getting caught in rush hour traffic or waiting for the third delayed train of the week is never fun under any circumstance but when your commute takes longer than usual it’s hard not to feel deflated by the time you finally reach the office.
Working from home means that you’re able to claim back your commuting time which in some cases could be anything up to ten hours a week, just imagine what you could do with all of that extra time!
And now moving on to the negatives because believe me there are some serious downsides to working from home although it can sometimes be difficult to imagine before you’ve experienced them for yourself!
It can get REALLY lonely!
I don’t think I ever realised just how isolating working from home could be, transitioning from a busy office environment where I was part of a large, dynamic team to spending up to ten hours alone every single day with no one to talk to was a difficult one. As an ambivert (a mixture between an introvert and an extrovert) I get a lot of my energy from other people so when that was taken away, I was left feeling pretty low and it even started to have a negative impact on my mental health.
Personality types obviously play a large part in this and if you’re more introverted then you may find that working from home suits you perfectly and loneliness isn’t necessarily an issue. Even so, I would encourage every business owner, freelancer, creative or remote worker to find a community of like-minded people (either online or in-person) to connect with. I can’t explain how much of a difference incorporating co-working into my weekly routine has made for my mental health, motivation and productivity. Having supportive people to chat to who are going through similar experiences and facing the same issues helps you to feel part of a community who can pick each other up on those tough days we all end up facing at some point!
The work/life boundaries are blurred
When you work from home the boundaries can get extremely blurred and if you’re not careful you could start to find it difficult to switch off from work when you’re in the house as the two are so intrinsically linked together.
This mainly comes down to two factors, physical boundaries such as where you work and more mental boundaries such as the hours you work. Getting a firm grasp on these two elements and implementing strict boundaries such as leaving your laptop and phone in your office once you’re finished for the day or not working over the weekend will help you to create a healthier balance between work and home life.
Distractions are EVERYWHERE
When you work from home you replace the annoying office distractions with last nights stack of dirty dishes, the pile of laundry you have to step over to get to your desk, the empty fridge staring at you every time you open it hoping some tasty food has magically appeared in the last half an hour. The distractions in your home environment are endless and are constantly vying to get your attention during the time when you should be focused on work.
Without locking yourself in one room for the whole day, the distractions are pretty unavoidable so you need to work on separating your time into work time and home time. This way you don’t end up losing a whole afternoon to cleaning the bathroom when you should have been focusing on getting your accounts up to date. It’s a difficult skill to get to grips with but is one that you need to master if you’re going to work from home!
If you’re thinking about taking the leap into working from home, I hope this post has helped to give you a well-rounded view of what to expect and some of the difficulties you’re bound to face in the first few months. It can be a difficult transition but often one that is so worth it after you’ve put some firm boundaries in place to help manage the balance between work and home!
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