We’ve all heard the cliches about what it’s like to work from home. You wear pajamas, sit on the couch and watch TV while periodically checking your email to make sure your boss isn’t pestering you.
While the pantless, pejorative view of working from home may ring true for some, let’s take a look at the real pros and cons of substituting your kitchen for the conference room.
- No commute. A recent survey result taken across 28 major U.S. cities found that 23% of workers have quit a job because of a bad commute. That means nearly 1 in 4 Americans are leaving their employers because they’re working too far from their home.
But when you work from home this is never an issue! Not only does this add up to more “you time” in your day (the average American spends over 4.3 hours per week commuting to and from work) but it also saves you a lot of money on car maintenance and gas.
- More freedom. When you don’t have to report to an office everyday, you have more freedom to choose your work environment. Many people with “work from home” jobs opt for a nearby coffee shop or outdoor cafe instead. The flexibility of working remotely frequently means you can get your work done anywhere with an internet connection. Which, in 2019, is just about anywhere.
- Peace and quiet. While the jury is still out on open office environments, one thing is clear about working alone from home: it’s quieter.
For those who do their best work in a quiet setting without distraction, you can’t beat home sweet home. Offices mean sharing the space with others, and because you can’t control what other people do (or how often they interrupt your work to talk about the latest Game of Thrones episode) it can be hard to work a day without being interrupted at least a couple of times.
And because it takes nearly 24 minutes to fully recover from an interruption, your productivity can skyrocket when left to your own devices in the confines of your home.
- It can be lonely. The flip side of the “peace and quiet” coin is that it can get too quiet for some. Having other people around to bounce ideas off or collaborate on projects together can be stimulating. And if you’re the type of person who thrives on human interaction and watercooler talk, working from home may be too isolating.
- You are ALWAYS bringing work home with you. Out of sight, out of mind can be a beautiful thing. The physical separation of the home–a place for relaxation and rejuvenation–and the office creates a mental separation as well. When the line blurs and your home becomes your office it can be more difficult to recharge at night because your work is never fully out of sight.
- There’s less structure. If you’re the type of person who needs a boss or colleagues to keep you motivated and on track, working from home may not be for you. Instead of reporting to the same cubicle or desk at the same time everyday, you’ll have to decide for yourself when, how and where you do your best work. Without others around to reinforce your behavior, it’s up to you to create good habits and routines.
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