Table of Contents
- The Benefits of Working from Home
- Disadvantages of Working from Home or Telecommuting
When the ‘new normal’ began, there was excitement everywhere. Work from home (WFH) became the new global mantra as companies increasingly insisted employees work from home given the pandemic situation. Gradually, more and more organizations and employees are beginning to realize the benefits of working from home.
Several have decided that this is how it’s going to be for them in the long run as well and not just till the pandemic ends. Others are creating a balance between working from home and office while the rest cannot wait to get back to work in their offices.
At the outset, work from home looks appealing and to a certain extent, it is! After all, we are in the comfort of our home! Who doesn’t want to be home? Working from home almost feels like the weekend. However, if the weekend lasts too long, things can become problematic.
Again, this depends on a number of factors. Work from home may suit some very well but for others, it could be frustrating after a while. Many people have always worked from home. In fact, according to Review 42.com, globally, 18% of the workforce has always worked remotely or are ‘telecommuters’. This includes people who are freelancers, translators, in certain IT-related jobs, etc. for whom working from home is a breeze.
However, for people who have kids especially infants and toddlers, it may be very difficult to get used to working from home.
Others may have teenagers who don’t need supervision and are independent which leaves their parents to function smoothly from their home office. On the whole, successfully working from home varies from person to person. Let’s see how it can benefit us and also explore certain cons of staying put at home.
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The Benefits of Working from Home
1. You Are Your Own Master
Working from home means working at your own pace with limitless flexibility. Fancy stirring the stew while crunching numbers on the phone or starting the washing machine while your colleagues settle down for a Zoom call. You can get so much done!
Work from home gives us way more space to finish errands, spend time with children, care for the elderly, even hit the treadmill every once in a while!
2. No Painful Commutes
With traffic jams and crowded public transportation, especially in a time when social distancing is the wise thing to do, working from home is a boon for many. Long commutes in private vehicles, buses, metros, etc. take a toll on your energy levels and affect productivity. Travel time leaves very little room for any recreational activity.
Working from home eliminates the need to commute at all and enables us to make time for things we like e.g. cooking, reading books, playing with children, etc.
3. You’re In The Comfort Zone
When we work from home, there are barely any restrictions like dressing up a certain way. Secondly, having your kids and pets around when you’re working can be great for productivity.
Research on telecommuters or work from home professionals states that “80% of telecommuters experience less work-related stress.” You can also turn up the volume of the music or your favorite podcast to get you through the day without anyone asking you to turn it down.
4. You Can Take Real Breaks
Breaks are more relaxing unlike the quick coffee breaks at work that, in some cases, are interrupted by an urgent or extended meeting. At home, you can make a sandwich and enjoy it while catching up on your favorite show on Amazon Prime Video!
5. Big Savings
According to Review 42, “30% of remote workers are saving as much as $5,240 per year”. That is a lot of money!
Thanks to no fuel, public transportation costs, and food bills, work from home can result in saving big, and enable us to allocate savings to much more important aspects like your children’s college fund, vacations and so much more!
6. Risk-Free Work
Social distancing and personal hygiene have become the norm to combat the current pandemic which has had catastrophic effects on people’s lives and the global economy as a whole.
If work from home becomes the norm for the majority, it will mean lesser chances of contracting infections and reduce the burden on the global healthcare system. Most importantly, it will also save millions of lives at risk.
Disadvantages of Working from Home or Telecommuting
There are always two sides to a coin. While these benefits may tempt you to start working from home, it may not be what the doctor advised for everyone. Like we mentioned before, there are millions of people all over the world who have always worked form home and continue to do so. However, someone new to the routine will take some time getting used to working from home. If you find yourself switching from office to home, bear in mind these disadvantages that can become hurdles in your personal and professional life:
1. Becoming Too Laid Back
Being in your comfort zone is a good thing but getting immersed in it is not. If you have been working from home for a significant amount of time, it shouldn’t be a problem for you. However, someone who has just begun this new routine or is a few months into it may become a tad bit too relaxed. This attitude could prove detrimental to work and prevent getting things done on time. An office environment has a fixed routine whereas it is very difficult to stick to a routine at home.
2. No Skill Building
Going to work exposes us to different kinds of people and situations resulting in many learnings. Making presentations, having discussions, meeting your team or clients face-to-face is extremely important for professional growth. Working from home may not be adding value to your skillset as there is no scope to interact and communicate with people. Online interactions are possible but do not really add much value, unlike physical meetings. Also, online meetings depend on a good internet connection and several people find this problematic especially on days when the data speed is very low.
Sure, work from home can be convenient for some days. But, what about the days on which your toddler just won’t stop driving you up the wall? Or your pet wants to poo urgently? Or you are too tempted to finish the last season of your favorite show? Being in an office keeps us away from such distractions and gets work done faster because there is a focus. On the contrary, there are several things at home that demand your attention interfering with productivity. In the bargain, work may suffer.
Our colleagues and work friends make work bearable on days when nothing is going right for us.
Working from home for a prolonged period of time can make us feel lonely and alienated from our support system which includes our friends, managers, colleagues, etc. with whom we interact and learn from on a daily basis. Team outings and celebrations are also an integral part of our professional life and working from home can bring all these aspects to a halt.
Working from home much like everything else has its pros and cons. As far as the future of work is concerned, we see an upward trend in telecommuters and/or work from home based on numbers and statistics.
Others may see a balance between work from home and office; staggered attendance may work in most places.
No matter where you are, at home working or in office or dividing the week between the two, try to find what works best for you and strike a balance. Balance your office routine with breaks and balance work from home with a defined routine.