Working from home conjures up images of sleep ins, leisurely lunches and gym visits dotted around a few hours of work each day – but the reality can be quite different depending on your kind of work.
If working from home has been on your mind as a possibility, take the time to consider the pros and cons of this decision – so here are just some of the benefits and disadvantages of working from a home office:
Pro: More time spent closer to family members
Working from home allows you to be there when everyone is waking up and preparing for their day, and when the kids get home from school in the afternoon. Being present for these moments can bring you closer together as a family, so you don’t miss out on seeing your kids develop and grow.
Con: Blurred lines between working hours and family time
You might think that working from home would result in a better work life balance, however in some cases, the complete opposite can be true. Because there is no separation between your work environment and your home life, the two can become one – leaving some workers unable to switch off from work and focus on family.
Pro: Flexible hours
Are you most productive at 6am? Or perhaps you are more of a night owl? Well, working from home allows you to take advantage of when you are feeling your most switched on. It also gives you the flexibility to stop work for a second to drop the kids off at school, or run to the shops for some milk. You can also take time to prepare healthy meals for yourself, or take a break from your desk and take a walk when needed.
Con: Flexible hours
Once friends and family know you have flexible hours, guess who will be put in charge of cooking dinner, putting on those loads of washing, fixing anything broken, posting letters and picking up things from random locations? Yes, you! Because you are able to work around such things and your office bound counterparts are not, these jobs fall onto your lap.
Pro: No time spent commuting or getting dressed into office appropriate gear
This is a big advantage for anyone who was commuting upwards of an hour each way for work each day. Imagine what you could do with an extra few hours a day? In even better news for anyone who spends another hour or so cleaning and pressing suits, shirts or skirts, blow drying hair, shaving or applying makeup, a home office eliminates the need for all of these things. You can work in your pyjamas if you like – as long as you are productive, wear whatever you fancy!
Con: Less collaboration between colleagues
Although there are fantastic ways of communicating that don’t involve being face to face, such as Skype, email, phone calls, instant messengers, or even virtual boardrooms, there just isn’t anything that can truly replace sitting in the same space as your colleagues and brainstorming for a project.
Pro: Fewer distractions from colleagues or a noisy office space
If your workplace contained a lot of people that were constantly coming in and out, always talking on the phone or amongst themselves, or even playing music or games (who knows where you work!), then getting away from these distractions in a home office must sound like heaven. And it can be – setting up your ideal working space inside the comfort of your home means you can be in control of the distractions you are exposed to.
Con: More distractions from family members, or in the form of domestic duties or the internet
While you may not have any noisy colleagues to deal with, you may have other distractions around the house threatening to derail your focus. A bored young child, stacks of washing, tempting cooking experiments, a partner that also works from home, or even just access to unmonitored internet can all take up hours of time if you’re not careful.
The bottom line is that working from a home office isn’t for everyone – if it is possible for you and you feel it may be a good fit, then it is always worth a shot! Set yourself up with a proper office space separate from the relaxation areas of your home, and let the magic happen!