Some people love the idea of working from home, others hate it. There are so many prejudices involved when it comes to this working style. The result is that people either desperately try to score a remote job so they can stay at home, or refuse to telecommute because they only think about negative consequences. It is about time to have a comprehensive look at the real work from home pros and cons and see what is behind the popular job trend. Find out if you are qualified to work from home or if you should better stay away from it.
Potential Remote Work Segments
Before we look at the advantages and disadvantages of working from home, let’s just quickly have a look at what KIND of remote job you can do. This helps you to understand that not every telecommute professional enjoys the same advantages or has to struggle with equal disadvantages.
1. Remote Employee
You are employed with a company as usual but don’t have to come to an office. Instead, you can work from home or literally from anywhere you want. Since you are a fixed part of a team, you often (but not always!) have a given working schedule you have to stick to, which can include start and end time of your daily working hours or scheduled meetings. You might not be as flexible as the following two options, but you enjoy the job and income security.
You offer a certain service to clients and are free to work from anywhere you want. It is up to you what kind of project you do and how much you work. You can negotiate with your clients when you work, when your deadlines are and if/when you want to schedule meetings. Although you have a lot of freedom in terms of working routine, your income is hardly ever secured as you have to constantly look for new clients and/or do your best to keep existing ones.
3. Your Own Business
You are your own boss and don’t have to work for anyone. You can work from where you want when you want and as much as you want. Start your own dropshipping business, try your luck with affiliate marketing or come up with a totally new business concept. Although you enjoy a maximum of flexibility, you also have to find a way to generate income. You often have to invest much money to get started and, at some stage, need to get a business partner, freelancers or employees on board to help you grow.
Need some more inspirations what kind of work from home you can do? Check out this guide with many remote job ideas and get inspired.
Working From Home Pros and Cons
Now that you have got a rough idea of what you COULD do when you wanted to screw the office, we can look a bit deeper into the work from home pros and cons. Please bear in mind that I won’t talk about things like no paid sick days or such because that isn’t necessary due to remote work but due to the nature of your job in general (i.e. being a freelancer or business owner).
Pros of Working from Home
Luckily, there are plenty of advantages of remote work. This is what you could look forward to:
1. No Commute
No more crowded buses or trains. No more annoying traffic jams. Back in my office job I always hated this part of my day the most. I found it very stressful and depressing. You are surrounded by the tired, frustrated and stressed out faces of all the daily commuters first thing in the morning, especially on a Monday morning. How are you supposed to keep up your good mood?! This is not the way I want to start my days. Working from home is a brilliant way to avoid those threaded daily commutes.
2. Save Time
For one, you don’t spend ages in the bathroom to get ready in the morning. And since you don’t have to commute anymore, you also save a lot of time. If you are not in the lucky position to live right next to your office, you will have to spend what? 30 minutes, one hour, two hours?! Every day on commuting. That’s insane! Just think of what you could do with that time. Sleep a bit longer, go for a run, have a long breakfast. I sure know many better things to do with my time.
3. Save Money
And, of course, you also save money when you don’t have to commute anymore. No public transport tickets or gas bills. Maybe you won’t need your car at all anymore? That would save you a whole lot of money for sure. You will also save money because you won’t need to buy business attire anymore and you can prepare your own food instead of going to pricey cafeterias. This really adds up!
Goodbye suit and tie, hello joggers and jumper! No need to do your hair or put on makeup. If you have a bad day, maybe feel a cold coming, just wrap yourself in a blanket and work from a comfy chair. But beware, your productivity might suffer from too much comfortability, so don’t get too cozy too often.
5. Flexible Working Hours
If you are a freelancer or a business owner, you will most likely get to choose your own working hours. Even many companies allow their remote employees to decide on their own when they want to work. This means that you can work when you feel most productive. For some people that’s in the morning, others prefer to work until late at night. You finally get to work in your own rhythm. Of course, you are also more flexible in terms of private appointments. A doctor’s appointment at 10 am? No problem! Hair dresser at 2 pm? Sure thing.
6. More Time With Family
Since you don’t have to waste your precious time on commuting anymore, you can also spend it with your family or friends. If you have a flexible work schedule, you can also watch the kids in the morning and shift your work to the afternoon, if there is no other way. You might also be able to attend school events, that you had missed before because of your work. Or you can meet your friend who has to do shift work and is thus hard to meet.
7. Own Working Environment
This is one of the biggest advantages for me: No uninspiring office atmosphere anymore. You can create your own working environment that works best for you. And you don’t even need to work from home if you don’t feel like it. Grab your laptop and work from a lovely park, your favorite café or a coworking space near you. This way you will also meet other remote working professionals and get to chance to connect. New environments like this can do wonders to your creativity.
8. Reduced Stressed
PGi revealed that remote working can even reduce stress. It’s not only the annoying commutes to work that you can skip when you work online. You also don’t have to deal with stressful working environments anymore. No boss standing behind you, waiting for results. No keyboard-hammering, phone-call-yelling coworkers anymore and no bullying or infighting. On the long run, this will save you a lot of nerves.
Especially when you work in a big company for years you are often caught up in given structures and routines that you might not even like. When you can work from home, you are finally able to make more decisions on your own. Even when you are still employed, you have more responsibility for your performance. This is a great feeling and can boost your confidence a lot.
10. Food Preparation
Also a very big advantage of working from home: You get to prepare your own meals every single day. That means you can eat fresh and healthy whenever you want to and are not dependent on the food options at your office. Of course, you can prepare meals and bring them to work with you. But maybe you don’t have a fridge at work to keep your food fresh during the day or there is no possibility to heat it up. And fresh is just always the best. A study conducted by CoSo Cloud confirmed that 42% of all questioned remote workers eat healthier when working from home.
11. Time for Workouts
In my experience, people work out a lot more when they work from home than when they have to go to an office. First of all, you have more time now because you don’t have to commute anymore. And second, when you sit around at home all day, you naturally feel a greater urge to move your body a bit more. Maybe it’s just walking the dog a bit longer than usual, maybe you start enjoying yoga or running. But chances are that you will exercise more when you are at home.
12. Work/Life Balance
Many remote workers find they have more time for themselves. They can spend more time with their family and are responsible for their own work performance. Even though you spend just as much (sometimes even more) time working from home than you would in an office, you still feel like you are closer to your private life than before. The work/life balance improves a lot.
13. Health Increases
No more daily commutes and the reduced level of stress can result in more and better sleep. In addition, you will eat healthier and exercise more. The increased work/life balance makes you happier and more satisfied than ever before. Of course, you will be healthier! Studies have even shown that remote workers don’t get sick as often as their in-office colleagues. Not only because they live healthier, but also because they are not exposed to countless of germs and bacteria you will find in a closed office environment.
14. Tax Advantages
This one depends a little bit on your personal situation and residency. But if you are truly location-independent, i.e. never have to go to an office, and don’t have any close family members who need to stay where you are at the moment, then you are free to live anywhere you want, right? Just like many digital nomads do you can make use of that situation and go to countries where you don’t have to pay any taxes on your foreign income.
This is a very complex topic. If you want to find out more about it, check out this article that explains how to legally reduce or avoid taxes by applying the Flag Theory.
Cons of Working from Home
As with everything, remote work has its disadvantages, too. See what you might not like too much about it:
1. No Human Interaction
Although you will have calls and online meetings with your clients or team members every now and then, you will be home alone most of the time. No quick coffee breaks, no lunch together, no exchanging weekend plans with your colleagues. The lack of social interactions can be really hard for some people.
2. Hard to Switch Off
You sleep at home. You work at home. Sometimes it’s hard to separate private life and business life. You are not dependent on office hours and can literally work from early morning until late at night. Your whole life revolves around your work. If you like your job, you might not see that as a disadvantage in the beginning. But soon you could burn out because work and private lives became one.
3. Many Distractions
Just quickly do the laundry, go grocery shopping, clean the house, and maybe watch the newest episode of your favorite Netflix series? Potential distractions are everywhere when you work from home. It really takes a lot of discipline to focus on your job and actually get things done.
However, there are apps like Time Doctor that help you stay focused by reminding you to keep on working as soon as you want to use Facebook, YouTube and such. Super helpful!
4. Lack of Productivity
Along with the issue of distractions goes the reduced productivity. It is great when you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder all day long. But some people won’t be able to get much work done without that bit of pressure. Either there are too many distractions or a lack of motivation or the missing feeling that this is actually a working day – productivity can be a huge issue when working from home.
Learn how you can improve your productivity in a remote job immediately with these awesome tips!
5. Unhealthy Lifestyle
On the one hand, working from home does wonder to your health and can increase it a lot. On the other hand, it can also be harmful. Most companies provide offices with ergonomic chairs or even standing desks. When you work from home you might not want to invest that much money into proper office equipment. Even worse: Some people love to work while lying on the couch all day. Sooner or later this will surely cause you terrible back pain.
Plus, as already mentioned, if you work all day and don’t leave your house, you are not doing your body any favor.
6. Collaboration Suffers
Of course, there are emails and video calls and stuff like that. But some things are just easier and quicker to explain when you are sitting right next to the person. Limited communication options can make collaborations harder. Even worse, when your team members are all in an office and you are the only one working from home, you might miss important things that they talk about on the fly.
7. Bad Reputation
*Sigh* This is one of the most annoying downsides of working from home to me. People just don’t value it as much as an in-office job. I can’t even count how often my family and friends asked me “So, when will you finally get a REAL job again?” or “Could you do [insert any random 3-hour long task] today? You’re at home anyway and have time.”
Although you might be working way more hours now than you did before, people just don’t see it as work. Very frustrating!
Is Working From Home The Right Thing For You?
As you can see, there are plenty of pros and cons of working from home. It is up to you to decide which ones are more important to you and have a bigger impact on your wellbeing and happiness. If you want to go for remote work, you should have most or better all of the following characteristics:
- You need to have A LOT of self-discipline.
- You need to be able to stay focused and not get distracted easily.
- You need to be great with time management.
- You need to be organized and structured.
- You need to be able to work on your own without constant supervision.
- You need to be ok with working alone and spending most of your day alone (or go to coworking spaces).
Another thought on it: The good thing with remote work is, you can easily start it part-time. Give it a try and work a bit during the weekends or after your normal work to see if it is something that you could do full-time. There is nothing to lose, only experience to gain.
Do you see any more work from home pros or cons? Anything that comes super handy for you or that you absolutely hate about remote work? Let me know in the comment section below!