Working From Home vs. Office: Pros & Cons to Consider
Coronavirus has hit us all hard. In the previous months, we’ve had to adapt to new normal and transform our routines and daily activities. We, also, had to replace the office with working from home. While the majority of people enjoy their home offices, others struggle to keep their motivation high. The key to success in working from home is finding balance and optimizing development processes and workflow in general. Luckily, we live in a digital age that offers a broad range of tools made to ease communication, organization and team management. From Zoom meetings to Slack organization channels – options are endless. Depending on your business niche, you can choose a strategy or business tool that will make your team more productive. And, if you struggle with working from home, or love every aspect of it, this article is for you. We asked business leaders to share their thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages of remote work. Take notes in a case you’re considering to continue with working from home even after the corona crisis is over.
Nancy Baker – Managing Editor of ChildMode
Pros of office work:
- You’re able to socialize with coworkers.
- You get to go out more.
- Freebies like coffee, candy, and snacks in the office.
- You get to eat out a lot.
Cons of office work:
- You have to follow the 9-5 schedule.
- A lot of office politics in the background.
- You have to commute daily or drive to work.
- You have to deal with annoying office mates.
Pros of working at home:
- You can set your own schedule most of the time.
- You can save money by eating home-cooked meals.
- Less of a hassle since you don’t have to go out every day.
- You can spend more time with your family.
Cons of working at home:
- You’ll sometimes look like a slob.
- Lack of social interaction.
- Sometimes you overwork yourself.
Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. However, it really depends on the person and their preferences. I chose remote work because I am married and I have to take care of my children. It’s simply more convenient for me.
Mark Kay – Content Manager of GearTrench
Since the start of pandemic, I have been working from home and managing a team of freelancers and running websites.
There are several benefits of working from home. The biggest benefit is the commute time saving. It used to take me an hour each way getting ready and going to the office. Now I save two hours each day as I don’t have to commute anywhere. In a way, where I used to work 10 hours a day, now I work only 8 hours as I don’t have to commute.
Another benefit is a great work-life balance. It saves money working from home as I can do exercise or home chores when needed and finish work at my own pace. Now I am not limited to getting things done at set hours. This improves productivity as I find myself more efficient in doing things.
The biggest downside of working from home is losing the social connection with colleagues and clients. The virtual meeting makes this transition less painful but there are inefficiencies as there is no face to face meetings or socialization anymore. This sometimes makes me feel that I am working alone without any support.
Matthew Meier – the founder of MaxTour
I have been working from home for 4 years and here is my take:
- You are able to work during your most productive time. I am most productive in the evening and by working from home I can save my most taxing tasks until this time.
- Freedom and Comfort. During my calls I can roam the house, I can celebrate big wins without anybody watching, and generally dress and act as I wish.
- You can save so much money and time. By eliminating my commute, eating breakfast and lunch at home, and making all my own coffee, I save so much time and money.
- You have to be motivated. I run my own business and have the baked-in motivation of building my brand and having all our employees and families counting on me. A less motivated person might have issues getting everything done.
- No work/life balance. It can be easy to lose your work-life balance when you work from home. It’s isolating. It can be tough not having coworkers to talk to.
Jessica Rose – Chief Executive Officer of Copper H2O
Since the pandemic hit the United States, I have been working from home with my partner in the next room, who is also working from home but on his own business. The key downside to working from home is that it leads to distractions throughout the day which can make it harder to stay productive. For example, I will sometimes have calls which are interrupted with my partner needing access to something in the room that I am in. However, this disadvantage is offset by several positives. In particular, I find that having my partner in the next room essentially ensures that I have someone available as a sounding board at almost all times. In addition, I find that working together in the same space has had a great effect on our relationship. In particular, being able to free up the time that would otherwise be spent commuting to and from work – and cutting out the stress and anxiety that comes with it – has given us more time to spend together relaxing and unwinding after each day’s work is done.
Jayant Gosain – the founder of The Tech Toys
Before this Pandemic situation, I used to work with my team in an office space but due to social distancing and strict government rules, we switched to ‘Work From Home’.
- You are at home and home is comfort zone for every human being. Working from comfort zone is a blessing. You can sit in any posture, or lay on the bed. No one bothers you for that.
- Due to this Pandemic situation, there is a significant drop in the expenditure on gas, clothing. You can wear your pajamas while working from home.
- While working from office, you have a fixed time and to be honest, you don’t like to work after office hours. But working from home provides you flexible timings. You have 24 hours to work and there are no fixed timings for working.
- No one will deny the fact that working from your comfort zone makes you lazy. You want to work but you are not working because you don’t have productive people around you. A formal productive place definitely affects your energy.
- Miscommunication is a major downside of working from home especially when you have a team and the task is divided among team members. There are apps for team management (we use Flock) but still, we messed up a lot of things because of a lack of proper communication.
- While working from office, you can monitor your team and what they are doing with assigned work. But from home, it is really hard to monitor the workflow.
- Distractions are another downside of working from home. We have kids, pets at home and they really bother the workflow. Sometimes parents/spouses also ask you to help them in household chores and that also hampers the workflow.
David Leonhardt – President at THGM Writers
There are three huge benefits of working from home. The first is that there are much fewer distractions without co-workers around to interrupt or to chat with. This means that you can be more productive and get more work done. At the same time, it’s easy to step out for two minutes in the fresh air to catch some sun, stretch and refill with oxygen – something you can’t do so easily in an office tower. This means that you are less stressed as the day goes on (which also increases productivity). Finally, there’s no commute. In addition to the obvious cost savings and environmental benefits, you save all that commute time and the stress that often goes with either driving or crowding into a bus or train. So you are more productive and less stressed while consuming less time. Not a bad deal.
The only major downside of working remotely is when technology doesn’t play nice. For instance, I work on the rural Internet. Normally, it’s fantastic during the daytime. But during the pandemic, so many people have been either working from home or working fewer hours (spending their time off on Netflix or gaming) that our bandwidth sometimes gets all sucked up. That can make apps like Skype, Teams and Zoom very frustrating to use. When that happens, the stress does mount. However, other collaboration tools, such as Whatsapp, Zoho and Trello (and Skype without video) work well, so I find the frustration to be fairly limited. All in all, I love working from a home office.
Simonas Steponaitis – Marketing Manager at Hosting Wiki
- Save Time & Money – Working from home means no public transport tickets or gas bills and maybe won’t need a car at all anymore. I believe that would save you a whole lot of money for sure. If I have to go to the office, I’m spending half or one hour getting ready for the office. That’s insane! I save this time and utilize sleep a bit longer, go for a run, have a long breakfast.
- Become More Independent – While working from home, I don’t have colleagues just a few feet away or a tech team nearby, so I’ve to find myself developing the skill of looking for my answers and becoming more proactive.
- Mix Work and Personal Life – Your concentrate will go in vain when someone from your family calls you during working hours to get your hands on a household chore. Apart from household chores, there are many distractions such as television, pets, neighbors, etc. It leads to a decrease in your productivity and motivation.
Camille Chulick, Co-Founder of Averr Aglow
I have a staff of about 35, from the warehouse to office positions, and nearly all of us went remote during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The cons of working from home, for us, included less real-time communication, less-than-ideal home offices, and missing our usual close-knit, family-like culture. For me personally, I was challenged to find ways to remain in communication with all of my staff individually, when usually I could speak to an entire room off the cuff. Even though communication was more of a challenge, and I had to really sharpen my skills, work-at-home employees needed just as much, if not more communication than ever. Staff members who don’t have a private working space can be easily distracted by other housemates.
For employees that have an ideal setting at home for remote work, the pros included fewer expenses on things like lunch and gas, fewer distractions from co-workers or management, and more time with family. Some employees love working from home and really benefit from fewer expenses on things like gas and food. The staff that would usually have a long commute find a lot more time put back into their day. We all found that we were less distracted by random, unscheduled tasks from co-workers.
It’s difficult, in person, to not stop what you’re doing to help someone out. Working remotely makes it easier to keep a consistent schedule and take a step back and look at the priority of your schedule.
Erik Rivera, CEO of ThriveTalk
One upside to working from home is that my company has access to the best talent with no geographical limitations. When our employees don’t need torelocate to work for us, we get a better pool of applicants, because where they live doesn’t matter. Even in normal times, we try to make company policy that has the least negative impact on our team members, and this is especially important during the COVID-19 crisis when our lives have been disrupted in so many ways besides work.
Another upside to working from home is the time saved on commuting. This allows us to spend more time focusing on our mission of connecting people with more accessible, more affordable mental health services.
A drawback of working from home is less ease of communication. We can’t just ask each other questions in person, so we’ve had to rely on remote coworking tools such as Zoom, Slack, and Asana, which in my opinion are pretty much the only way to work these days.
David De Haan – the founder of Stand Up Paddle Boards Review
Upsides of working from home:
- I get to craft a schedule that works for me. Being a morning person, I’m usually lively and more productive during morning hours. Working from home makes it possible for me to wake up very early, 4 or 5, and get most things done. This way, I don’t have to struggle with concentration in the afternoon.
- I see my kids more. Going to work early and coming back late made it a little difficult to spend time with my daughters. But now that I’m almost always home, we see each other more.
- No dealing with co-workers. Working with other people is great, for the most part. But it is not so fun when you have to deal with difficult people.
- Distractions. Sometimes, the kids don’t understand that I have to work and not play with them- or answer their unending questions
- Unproductivity. There are days when it’s just hard to find the motivation.
- No work friends. You meet good people at work who turn out to be great friends. This doesn’t happen when you work from home.
Reuben Yonatan – Founder and CEO of GetVoIP
Working from home:
- Helps me maintain the work/life balance better. I am aware that I cannot spend the whole day working while my family is around. I, therefore, create breaks that allow me to interact with them.
- Eliminates the hassle of commuting to work every morning. The only traveling I have to do in the morning is from the bedroom to my home office. As someone who lives in New York and understands how frustrating commuting can be, this is a huge plus.
With regards to downsides:
I have noticed that video conferencing takes up more energy and brain capacity than talking face to face. Holding more than five video conferences per day leads to video conferencing fatigue. As a result, you might not be able to talk to as many people as you would like.
Praveen Malik – the founder and owner of PMbyPM
So for me and my business the pros of working from home are:
- While we work from home this saves our office space expenses and other expenses like food, commute etc. This way we utilise this money for our business development related activities.
- I can also hire employees remotely. As work from home allows me to work with anyone no matter from where they are.
- Working from home provides a lot of flexibility to all the team members.
Some of the cons of working from home are:
- When we work from home sometimes there will be distractions or problems which are unavoidable at home.
- Some things/tasks need quick feedback and the further work depends on it. This creates problems sometimes when we don’t get a quick response due to some issues.
Laura Fuentes – Operator of Infinity Dish
- Flexibility & Reduced Pressure– Maybe WfH positions offer flexible schedules, which means you can work them around your life. There’s also a reduced pressure from being able to kick back in your pajamas with no-one watching your every move.
- No Commute – Commutes can be long, painful, and often expensive. With WfH positions, they’re gone – poof! – just like that. No more stuffy metro compartments or endless 5pm traffic jams.
- Work for Companies All Over the World – In my opinion, the biggest benefit is being able to work for companies all across the world. There are so many exciting startups and fantastic groups of people to get involved with. We’re so lucky we live in a generation where this type of working environment is a possibility.
- Isolation and Loneliness -You don’t realise how much you miss in-person contact until you try and talk to a friend and realise how alien moving your mouth feels. Lots of studies show that WfH staff struggle with mental health issues like depression because of the reduction in human contact.
- Difficulty separating work/home life – Do you work from home or do you live at work? It’s a question I ask myself regularly. When your casual life happens in the same place as your job, it can be hard to mentally separate the two.
- Motivation – Without your boss breathing over your shoulder or a competitive colleague to keep up with, finding the motivation to fill in those boring spreadsheets can be tough.
Chris Repetowski – the founder of The Games Guy
Pros of Working from home:
- Depending on your commute, you may gain a few extra hours in the day. Some decide to sleep in. I’m using it to go for a long walk first thing in the morning to clear my head.
- For people that don’t like a traditional 9-5 day, it’s much easier to have more flexibility. For instance, you can start earlier to fit in a longer break during the day.
Cons of working from home:
- It’s easy to lose track of time and forget to take breaks. It’s simple to send just one more email and by the time you realise, a few hours have passed.
- To fill the void of lack of social interaction, you may feel there are too many unnecessary meetings. Rather than having a quick 5 min conversation if you were in the office, colleagues will book a 15-30 minute meeting and discuss everything other than work for half of the time.
Pros of working in the office:
- The biggest advantage is having a separation of work and personal environments. Some colleagues are currently working from their kitchen or living room, which makes it hard to separate the two.
- The other benefit is the ease of quickly collaborating and discussing ideas. While there are lots of tools online to make this easier now, it’s still much more powerful to stand around a whiteboard and discuss solutions.
Cons of working in the office:
- Unfortunately, your working hours are set and if you feel unproductive, it’s harder to take a longer break.
- The amount of interruptions I get in the office is annoying. Having to take my headphones off constantly gets frustrating!
Let’s Wrap It Up!
Although some people struggle with motivation and productivity, a large majority absolutely love working from home. Besides money and time saving, remote work brings more flexibility, keeps stress at bay, and allows you to work more independently. On the other hand, there are still people who struggle with laziness, loneliness, or lack of privacy at home. Bare in mind everything when deciding whether or not to continue working from home when the corona crisis is over.
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