For some, working from home is a dream come true. You can finally upkeep your gardening and play with your pets whilst you make your living. For others, they soon enter a bored state of depression and desperately need co-workers to communicate with in order to be happy and productive. Here are some pros and cons of working at home, followed by a complete guide on how to do it right.
Pros of working from home
– One pro of working from home, and something that many office workers will not have experienced until now, is that there’s complete autonomy over your work process. You can decide how you get your work done, as long as it gets done. Suddenly productivity is measured in a different, more tangible way, instead of time spent in front of the screen looking at emails. This means you can figure out the absolutely most efficient way of working that suits you, instead of jamming a square peg in a round hole by conforming to the office work paradigm.
– Savings. Huge savings, both in terms of time and money, that you will save from commuting. No more jostling with the proletariat on public transport to get a seat for five thousand dollars per year. No more one-hour unconscious, a half-asleep commute that you spend gazing out the window. This is perhaps the biggest waste of time in society that goes utterly unpaid. Adding an extra two hours on your day is the same as getting thousands of hours of your life back. This has knock-on effects too, such as now being able to have time to cook better food, which could end up saving your life.
– Another pro of working from home is not being distracted as much. Sure, you may be more distracted in terms of Netflix — but this is your own battle. There are fewer external distractions that you cannot control when at home. There’s less small talk, pointless meetings, work politics, and so on. You may love this social aspect of office life, but many do not. Either way, you certainly have a greater capacity for being productive (it’s just up to you whether you use it or waste it watching morning TV).
Cons of working from home
– Communication can become more difficult when working from home. There’s something about reading the text over email or Slack that just doesn’t convey the same message as it would in person. You may misunderstand the tone of messages without relying on body language. This may not only lead to miscommunication, but it could make selling and persuade much more difficult. And don’t think the non-essential small talk is completely cut out when at home either, Skype talks going on longer than they need can very much still happen.
– Working from home can be more challenging mentally, too. Being stuck at home for both work and after work can lead to the feeling of being trapped, or lethargic. Sure, this presents an opportunity. You can go and work in a different Cafe each day. However, many struggles to make this effort and end up feeling much more lonely as a result.
Working from home 101: the Do’s
– If you’ve recently been made to work from home, then you will likely be spending a lot more time using your own internet. If your download speed is something like 5Mbs or below, then you may struggle to stream conference calls or watch webinars. It’s recommended to upgrade to at least 10Mbps. If you think about the difference of a page loading 3 seconds longer than it should, and then multiply this by the 1,000 pages you load inside a week… Suddenly you will see that the higher ISP price will be worth it.
– It’s important to track your productivity when working from home because it’s harder to know exactly how much you’re doing when there isn’t a 9 to 5 structure in place. This means clocking your hours, perhaps using some productivity tools.
Working from home 101: the don’ts
– Don’t work in your pajamas or loungewear. Getting dressed for work is a bit like putting on your suit of armor. It helps get your mind prepared for work, and helps differentiate leisure from work.
Similarly, don’t work in bed. You really need to have a subconscious division between work and sleep. Not only will working in your pajamas make you less productive and more easily distracted, but it can actually affect your sleep. If being in bed means working on spreadsheets, your mind will not be able to switch off when it actually needs to. If you have a spare room, then use it. If you only have a table in your kitchen, then use it.
Be sure to efficiently use your time at home and try to use the extra time to develop a new skill or put the foundation for your next business idea.