In the digital age, work is more mobile and untethered than ever — so it’s no surprise that the work-from-home grind has become a hot topic. Whether you’re considering a WFH gig or already in the thick of it, knowing the pros and cons can help you either take the plunge or better manage what you already have going on.
Love | No traffic (or gas pump) woes
In 2017, roughly 130 million workers drove to work in an automobile, according to data published by the US Census Bureau . That’s a lot of traffic and a whole lot of rush hour. What’s more, if you worked entirely from home for a whole year, you’d save an estimated $400 in gas (though this varies greatly depending on where you live.)
Love | Flexible working hours
It’s foolish to put a blanket statement over when we all do our more productive and effective work. The truth is that some of us hit our strides at different times. Working from home gives you the freedom to set your own hours, ideally at times when you’re sharp as a tack — whether that’s at 4:00am before the kids get up, or 11:00 pm when everyone’s sound asleep.
Love | Your office, your style
There’s only so much you can do to make a 6 x 8 cubicle space inspiring. Working from home allows you to designate and customize a working space to suit your style. The Internet is chock-full of inspiration to help you build the perfect work space, like this collection of 10 home offices that join form and function perfectly.
Love | More health and better sleep
In our work-obsessed culture, work is often a driver of chronic stress — leaving us longing for a nap (or two) to rejuvenate. A survey by CoSo Cloud revealed that remote workers were getting 45% more sleep, 35% were exercising more, and 42% were eating healthier when compared to non-remote workers.
Love | Enhanced productivity
Research from Sure Payroll revealed that 65% of workers believe working from home would increase their productivity. Another 86% said that working alone allows them to hit maximum productivity. Without a boss standing over your shoulder or back-to-back meetings to sidetrack you, you’re able to get your best work done.
Heartache | Isolation
At the end of the day, most of us can only work alone for so long. While working from home gives you more autonomy, it can also become outright lonely if you don’t make a conscious effort to have in-person interactions. Studies repeatedly show that the single most important factor in achieving happiness is how and how often we connect with others. Working from home makes it easier to slip into a dark pit of alone time.
Heartache | Unhealthy lifestyle choices
Again, autonomy and flexibility are huge advantages of working from home. But without ergonomic office chairs and that one brief window to grab lunch, you might end up overdoing it, working long hours on a bed or couch (which can be brutal on your back and posture) or raiding the fridge or pantry too often (which can brutal on your waistline).
Heartache | Lack of structure
Without that tangible 5:00pm marker telling you it’s time to put your work down, remote workers may struggle to find a ritualistic groove that works for them. Time management is critical for WFH positions, but in an office your day is essentially set for you. This flexible way of working can be hard for personality types that crave established structure and clarity. It’s not an insurmountable challenge — it may just require a more concerted effort to get out there and use those social skills.
Heartache | Distractions and disruptions
Have an errand to run? A dog to walk? Laundry to fold? Diapers to change? Working from home works best when you have zero distractions, but let’s be real: Life happens. An office space can be helpful for setting these types of boundaries – all it takes is blocking out a chunk of time on your calendar. Being intentional about your time management and boundaries is critical when working from home.
Heartache | Hindered collaboration
When you can simply pop over to a coworker’s desk to get answers or fire off a group IM, it’s easier to get the information you need and quickly make moves on projects. Working from home requires a consistent, intentional act of reaching out. This can be challenging for introverted types who may feel like the persistent communication isn’t welcome for the company.
At the end of the day, working from home comes with a lot of love and heartache — how you’ll decide to go about these truths will be based on what you value and what your schedule allows.