The pros and cons of working from home with valuable tips
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Recently, working from home has become prevalent and there are seemingly endless reasons like health issues, the cost of commuting and limited office space. While some people strongly support working remotely, some could not care less, but whichever way, working from home is going to remain permanently. As valuable and productive remote working seems, it may have its downsides, depending on your work style, level of discipline and cultural priorities. In this article, we talk about the common pros and cons of working from home and tips that may help you be productive and stay focused while working from home.
Pros and cons of working from home
Weighing the pros and cons of working from home helps you decide if it is best for you, but before that, let's discuss what working from home means. Working from home involves performing office tasks at home. Employees who work from home may have previously worked in an office space but have changed to remote working due to one or more reasons. There are also self-employed individuals and freelancers whose offices are in their private homes.
If you are going to do your tasks from home, you would require an Internet connection to collaborate and network with your colleagues and superiors. Telecommunications technologies are also inevitable while working from home. While remote working comes with many benefits, it also has potential downsides to consider.
Related: Work From Home Guide
Pros of working from home
If you are considering working from home, the following are the ways you may benefit from it:
Less commuting, less stress, fewer expenses
Working from home decreases your movement from one place to another, which can equally reduce stress. It saves you the cost of transportation, other travelling expenses and might also cut down the amount you'd spend on work clothes and takeout. Apart from expenses, working from home may also lower your travel risks. Remote working may help parents reduce the cost of childcare as they would have more time to look after their children instead of paying people to do it for them.
Improves work-life balance
Many professionals find it hard to find stability between their work and personal lives. Working from home can help with this. Remote working allows you to build your work schedule around your personal life such that a proper work-life plan enables you to take care of essential tasks that benefit your home and your lifestyle without affecting your productivity at work. Working from home also allows you to spend more time with your family since you are most likely going to work for shorter hours and be in one place.
If you prefer serene places for work as an individual, you may have little to no distractions while working from home than when working in an office environment. Side-talks from co-workers, ringing phones and office equipment may interrupt your focus at work. Although there might be distractions at home you can control them easily, unlike the ones from the office.
Working independently in a distraction-free environment can increase your productivity. Working from home allows you to take breaks and walk around whenever you feel exhausted. These brief breaks and maybe quick naps may help in refreshing you, thus increasing productivity.
Working at offices may require you to follow specific routines every day, not allowing you to make changes on days you really feel like you need to. Working from home can be a major turnaround from this. At home, you can finally make some decisions on your own, boosting your confidence and improving your productivity. Although, it might be necessary to practise self-motivation and discipline to manage your time and complete your tasks.
Improved technical skills
Working remotely requires you to use telecommuting tools, such as Skype, Asana, Trello, and Basecamp for communication, meetings and team collaboration platforms, which require technical skills to operate. You may not have to handle these telecommuting tools when working in the office. Remote working, on the other hand, allows you to gain technical knowledge in operating them.
Improved work flexibility
Remote working allows for a lot of flexibility. Often not strictly governed by official working hours, working from home may allow you to carry out other activities. Remote working also allows you to work to your own productive hours, in your preferred attire and build a workflow that is best for you.
Reduces work absenteeism
Fatigue, sickness or having to attend to more pressing issues are the principal causes of employees' absence from work. Since working from home offers flexibility and meetings are not physical, it allows you to attend to matters without having to be marked absent from work. Less commuting also reduces fatigue.
Increases job satisfaction
Being allowed to work remotely may give members of staff a feeling of satisfaction because of the flexibility and independent decision making that comes with it. You are also free from office-related stress, interruptions and other challenges that may hinder your productivity. All these remote working advantages can have a direct influence on overall job satisfaction.
Provides more job opportunities
Working from home can create additional job opportunities for people with difficulties performing a traditional role in a typical office setting. For example, people who can't travel much because of their physical disabilities can build their careers remotely. Remote working opens more job opportunities in industries like education and technology.
Connects branches more conveniently
Working from home, with the help of telecommuting tools, helps connect multi-divisional companies with their branches around the world. This helps in opening additional business paths for development. It also helps you, as an employee, build connections with more industry professionals that you can learn from.
Cons of working from home
Working from home also has its drawbacks. While discipline and appropriate scheduling can curb some, some might be difficult to avoid. Disadvantages of working from home include:
Less workplace connection and isolation
Remote working results in less face time between you and your co-workers. It can also lead to reduced communication and not having immediate access to information. It also causes boredom, as you are alone most of the time. You can avoid too much loneliness by building a schedule around your work that supports outings or events with family and friends. Some offices may also organise regular team events to encourage socialisation.
Temptation to overwork
Working from home may put you at risk of overworking. When you work from home and don't lay out your schedules properly, there can be fewer distinctions between work and personal life. You can overcome this temptation by defining your schedule and allocating distinct times for your job and personal life. Having a designated working space can also help, and once you leave that space, work stops.
Cost of equipment
Working from home requires using equipment like webcams, software, headsets and other tools to stay connected to others from your workplace and carry out important projects. You may also need a chair, a desk and other furniture for comfortability. Purchasing and setting up this equipment in your home might be a little costly. You can keep your costs low by limiting your purchase to the necessary tools you need to perform your tasks.
Televisions, pets, noises from traffic, household chores and children can be a source of distraction at home. Being distracted can affect your concentration, decreasing your productivity. Again, you can limit distractions by having a workspace and making it as far from distractions as possible. Using noise-cancelling headphones to play music may help filter out sounds from traffic and other sources.
Poses a risk to productivity
While remote working can increase your productivity, it might also challenge it. Taking breaks and naps whenever you feel like it whilst working independently may affect your focus on tasks. Remote working requires proper planning and a lot of discipline to work accordingly. Another way to help you stay focused is by using tools like time trackers and time management applications.
Related: 13 essential work from home tips
Overdependence on technology
Another downside to remote working is full-time dependence on technology. Without an Internet connection, you may not work as expected. Your gadgets may also develop issues you might not be able to fix yourself. All these slow down work and can keep you behind schedule, decreasing your overall productivity. You can tackle this by purchasing the best quality equipment. Also, make sure you back all your documents up on the Internet or external media. Ensure that there is a constant supply of broadband to avoid disconnection.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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