My Marketing Guy

Working from Home – the pros and cons

The widespread and contagious nature of coronavirus has led increasing numbers of people to work from the comfort of their homes because in order to stay virus free there is a desire to avoid working in crowded workplaces.

Wherever it is possible companies and organisations in different parts of the world are prepared to let their employees work from home. This is largely due to advancements in technology enabling many to be equally effective without being physically present in his or her place of work.

Working from home, either full-time or part-time, has its advantages and disadvantages. If you are yet to set up a home office or working environment, there are several issues for you and your employer (as appropriate) to consider. Your facilities at home for instance – do you have a fast, reliable and efficient broadband connection? Do you have an up to date laptop computer ad printer? Perhaps your employer supplies you with one?

Hopefully the enforced working from home due to Covid-19 will be short term because working from a home-based office is not for everyone, and if you are looking longer term then you should weigh the pros and cons and determine if it is ideal for you.

Pros

  • Reduced distractions

In a quiet room at home with no one else around it can be much easier to concentrate on the task in hand with the result that work can often be done more quickly than in the office with the constant interruptions from colleagues, office machinery, the water cooler chats and so on.

This is not to say that there may be distractions at home; but you can control them in a way that might not be possible in an office environment.

  • No commute

Spend more time in bed and more time at work – it’s a win, win. Working from home means there is no long commute to and from the workplace that adds time on both ends of the day.

Consider also the potentially significant cost savings you will make, as well as the benefits to your mental wellbeing without the daily motorway, tube or public transport battle to travel to and from work.

  • Flexibility

Working from a home-based office is flexible enough to let you work at times of the day when you feel you’re more productive, and dress for comfort rather than for work. Wake up at 5am and can’t get back to sleep? Go through to your office and do 4 hours work in your pjs before you would normally arrive at your desk!

Tired in the afternoon? You will be unproductive so have an hour in bed and work later after you’re refreshed.

  • Save on your tax bill

Working out of a home-based office comes with expenses, and these can be written off against your tax bill when you start to work from home. This will include a proportion of your heat, light and other household costs.

  • Work / life balance

Many business people find it hard to reach a good balance between work and personal life. Working from home can make it easier to find and maintain a balance between the two because more time has been created for both without the hassle of the commute.

  • Stress Relief

Feeling stressed over a project? Take the sort of break that wouldn’t be possible in an office environment. Walk the dog or simply go for a stroll in a local park to free the mind and get the creative juices flowing again before returning and completing that project.

Cons

  • Loneliness

Yes, no matter how irritating you might find them when they are working next to you, working from home all week can isolate you from colleagues, leaving you with a feeling of being cut off and lonely.

  • Requires a Lot of Self-Discipline

There is no doubt that working from home requires a huge amount of self-discipline and self-motivation that not everyone possesses. Long term it may not be for you but short term it will hopefully be the novelty that keeps you going until the normal working week of commute, work commute can be restored.

  • Reduced Living Space

Not every household has a spare room that can be used as an office however temporarily. Working from home full time in such circumstances can eat up your living space and cause friction.

If it is to be anything more than short term, consider a loft conversion or a garden office. These are both common methods of creating the ideal home working environment that doesn’t encroach on daily living.

  • Difficulties in Building Relationships

It can be challenging to make friendships with co-workers and clients when you are not meeting on a daily basis and while this is not too much of a hardship in the short term, you will need to find ways around this in the long term. Skype or weekly meet ups with colleagues are two techniques used by  many who work from home.

  • Always on Duty

When working from home, it can be difficult to distinguish work from personal life, making it difficult to shut down, and in most cases the conscientious employee will end up overworking, and the self employed workaholic will often still be answering emails in his / her relaxation time.

  • Ad Hoc Learning Opportunities

Unlike office workers who are in a constant position to learn from their peers, working from home means you’ve to go for an extra mile to seek out networking and find self improvement opportunities on your own initiative.

If you either choose, or are encouraged to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the experience you will have will either encourage you or put you off the idea of working from home. Many will embrace the situation and want to carry on even after the pandemic is gone, so while we need to acknowledge that it is likely to become more commonplace, we do have to accept that is not for everyone and for every person who feels comfortable working from home, others will prefer the discipline of going out to work at their respective offices.

Good luck everyone and stay safe during this worrying period wherever you are working.