Pros and Cons of working from home vs. working from the office

If your job offered you an option of working from home or working in the office – would you take it? Would you be more productive working in sweatpants vs your usual business casual? Would you have more time for you family if you do not have to spend two hours commuting every day? Would you miss the corporate environment or would you enjoy solitude?  Can video conferences, phone calls and remote access really make you feel like you are part of the office when you are not physically present? If you are confused about what option is right for you – here are a few things to think about.

The positive side of working from home

Time saved = more me time

The biggest advantage of working from home is that you save a lot of time commuting back and forth to work. This may mean some extra shuteye or the opportunity to not skip breakfast in the morning. You can spend extra time with your children or spouse, read the newspaper instead of sitting in traffic. Start off your day in a calm fashion instead of being stressed and rushed to get to the office.Taking time for yourself is often very difficult, you may find that having extra me time in the mornings will make you happy and therefore a more productive employee.

You are in control of your working environment

Another benefit of working from home is that you have the ability to create your working environment. With no cubical walls defining your space you have the freedom to choose your office location, the perfect corner office perhaps?

You define your hours

With no time clock, you can start and stop your day as you please. You can get started a little earlier or take a few extra minutes during lunch. As long as you work your required hours and get your job done there is no harm is shifting your schedule a bit.

Business very casual!

Video conferences only show you from the waste up. If the mood felt right you could wear a suit shirt and shorts or pajama bottoms. And what about days when you don’t have to video chat with anyone from your office. Working in sweatpants and pajamas becomes completely possible. Very casual Fridays everyday, sure why not!

The negative side of working from home

Solitary confinement?

Many people find that working from home is like solitary confinement. We all crave human interactions and sometimes video conferences and phone calls wont satisfy this need.  Even though you can get in touch with your office, you no longer have the the constant support of your colleagues and supervisors.

Technical issues

Sure, when everything works – it is fantastic, but if your Internet cuts out or you loose access to your company’s intranet, you may be unable to do your job. Most companies have tech support designed to handle off-site employees, but you will never receive the same level of support as you would in an office setting.

How disciplined are you?

Have you ever thought that working from home also takes discipline?  It is very easy to switch to surfing the web or home chores that need to be done. When you work from home you may actually find it harder to focus and get your work done.

24 Hour job!

When you work from home your work day never ends. Since it starts and stops in the same place you may find yourself working later into the evening not realizing what time it is. Some people find that when they work from home that their jobs starts to bleed into their personal life. That while they assumed working from home would give them more freedom that it in fact has caused them to work longer hours and sometimes on the weekends.

Where did the day go?

You may find that 5 o’clock rolled around and you are still in your pajamas. With no reason to get dressed in the morning, you may actually forget to.

The positive side of working in an office

So are you asking yourself, if I don’t have to get dressed and spend an hour commuting back and forth everyday why would I want to? Well, have you ever thought how positive and rewarding working in an office can be?

Motivation for career growth

When you work in an office environment, you have supervision and restrictions, but you also have knowledge and support from your bosses and colleagues. Being around intelligent people might motivate you. A competitive environment might encourage you to preform better, helping you to excel in your field and ultimately your place in the company.

Immediate feedback

If you are in an office and you have a question – you can stand up and walk over to someones desk and ask them. You can bring them to your desk to show them something on your computer screen. You can have a meeting that doesn’t involve videoconferencing. You can collaborate with your colleagues on a project without a digital whiteboard, you can use an actual whiteboard.

Social network

You may find that you benefit personally from being in an office. Having a social life is very important and for many their coworkers are their social network. Having lunch with your coworkers, catching up with one another, going out for happy hour, these are all positive and rewarding activities.   Again, when you are happy and satisfied you are a more productive employee.

The negative side of working in an office

The commute

One of the biggest advantages of working from home is in turn the biggest disadvantage of working in an office. You can spend upwards of three hours commuting back and forth to work everyday.  Traffic, congestion and wasted time all add up to stress. Have you ever found yourself running to work flustered that your boss would be angry with you for being late, even if the circumstances were out of your control? Have you ever had to leave work early to make it to your child’s soccer game, dance recital or a PTA meeting? The extra time it takes to get to and from work is time wasted that could be spent in a much more productive manner.

No corner office!

If your office is like most offices it consists of a few corner offices, a wall of windows, and a sea of cubicles.  It is very possible that you may not be able to tell the weather or if it is day or night from where you sit in the office. Sun light increases happiness and indirectly your productivity. It is an essential part of life. You wouldn’t choose to live in a home with no windows would you?

You decide…

Some people are happier working in an office and some people are happier working from home. You have to weigh your options and decide what is best for you. Can you be disciplined enough to work from home? Will you be happy without the daily support of your co-workers? Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Only you can decide what is the best option for you.