Have you ever wondered if you’d like working from home? I think about it whenever I get writer’s block or have a hard time getting my creative juices flowing. Is it my workplace that makes this difficult? Is my brain just tired? None of the above?
Maybe you’re considering starting your own business or have the option to telecommute for your current job. To help you out, here’s the good and the bad of working from home.
Not having a commute can be an enormous benefit. It saves resources in many areas: less gas, fewer bus or train fares, no parking costs, lower car insurance premiums, maybe you don’t even have to own a car anymore! Not to mention the varying amounts of time it will save you depending on your location. And with all the snow storms happening in the US and Canada right now, I’m sure telecommuting increases safety and decreases stress related to winter driving conditions.
No Dress Code
Raise your hand if you’re not a huge fan of wearing “real” clothes. I personally prefer stretchy waistbands and comfortable tops. I’m not a proponent of working from home in your pajamas without ever showering, but I would gladly take the opportunity to dress comfortable and casual each day. I wouldn’t have to worry so much about what everyone else in the company is wearing that day, and whether or not I spill something on myself at lunch.
Flexibility with Time & Space
You can work anywhere that there’s Wi-Fi! Companies may have different policies on this, but in general your telecommute can be from your home office or a McDonald’s in San Diego. I would love to have the ability to hop on my work computer and resolve something in a snap rather than having to drive all the way into the office or leave a client hanging.
Personal Preferences & Privacy
We all have our little quirks, so it’s nice to choose exactly how you want to work. You can play your favorite album or sit in absolute silence. You can sit in a fancy desk chair or fashion a makeshift treadmill desk. Take your shoes off, wear some sweatpants, just do your job. No one will be looking over your shoulder or judging you.
Self Control on Steroids
Working from home requires all sorts of self-control. In an office setting, you have your peers and the general culture of work to keep you on track. From home, you have to create a schedule and habits from scratch. You have to figure out how to compartmentalize your work and home life when they’re sharing the same physical space. It take can significant effort to get yourself in the groove, but the flexibility is often worth it.
Less Communication with Teams
There’s no 5 minute conversation with a coworker in passing or checking to see if someone’s at their desk for a quick chat that they can’t escape. Syncing up with teammates requires planning and a phone call instead of just spinning 180 degrees in your chair. Telecommuters have to make sure that the lack of physical proximity doesn’t change their ability to contribute and collaborate.
Again, when work and home share the same space it can be difficult to keep them separate. It requires discipline to make sure you maintain a balance and don’t become burnt out. Working from home carries a risk of overworking yourself since it’s so easy to answer a quick email or phone call when your commute is 10 seconds.
What do you think? Do the benefits outweigh the difficulties? Stay tuned for part two, where we’ll discuss the top ways to be productive working from home!