In our last blog on home working, we explained how employees are seeking better work-life balance in today’s digital era, thereby making the option of working from home more viable and acceptable by companies. In fact, companies are increasingly adopting policies to enable more flexibility at the workplace and accommodate changing workplace demands and priorities. For employees looking to have more flexibility in their work, home working is a perfect solution where they can work remotely from home but continue to be treated like a normal employee and enjoy all the benefits provided by the company. However, although home working looks and sounds like an excellent concept, it does come with potential pitfalls to be aware of.
In this second instalment of our series, let us explore some of key advantages as well as disadvantages of home working.
Pros of home working
Saving time off the commute – A major advantage of home working is not having to commute regularly to and from work and hence avoiding journeys that are long and arduous. Not only does this save time and money, but also reduces stress levels and the carbon footprint.
Greater flexibility – Home working allows one to be flexible – choose one’s own most productive hours, wear clothes of choice and comfort and be productive in a way that balances work and life surprisingly well.
Fewer distractions – While being at home comes with its share of distractions, they can be better controlled than those at work. One can create distraction-free areas and hours in a home much better than say handle colleagues in office or the unavoidable constant office din.
Less stress – Home working gives one the option to enjoy the comforts of the home environment. Whether it is the clothes to wear, the breaks to take, or the food to eat while working from home – everything helps reduce stress and hence helps focus better on work.
More savings – Home working helps avoid regular commutes to work which can translate into significant savings over time. Furthermore, expenses incurred in your home office can also help reduce the taxes that you need to pay.
Better work/life balance – Inarguably, the most important advantage of home working is the ability to have better levels of work-life balance. Not only does one get to work out of the comfortable home environment, but also thanks to the reduced stress levels, one can focus much better on work and be more productive.
Cons of home working
Working from home sounds great, doesn't it? But, before you take the plunge, consider these disadvantages that are often associated come with home working:
Self-discipline – Home working is all about discipline – getting up in the morning every day and focusing on work throughout the day trying to fend off distractions all while sitting at home is not as easy as it might sound.
Overworking - It is very common that we tend to overwork ourselves when we work from home mainly because at home, it is difficult to distinguish between our personal and work lives. This makes it harder to create boundaries between the two and hence shutting down completely from work becomes harder and we end up overworking.
Difficult separating work from home life due to smaller living space – In an era where living spaces are contracting and becoming more expensive at the same time, it might be difficult to create a proper home office inside a home. Not everyone can manage or afford to lose living space for work space.
Reduced knowledge or less ad hoc learning – One of the most important things that you miss when working from home is the brainstorming sessions and the quick huddles that happen frequently in office. While working from home, it is harder to learn from peers and participate in wider forums where learning and knowledge is shared.
Social isolation – Working from home might be fun but it is boring as well. After all, you are alone at home without colleagues physically present to talk to, brainstorm or have a discussion. What fun is it to have lunch or that coffee alone all the time?
In conclusion, home working has its distinct advantages and is a great option for those who are up for it. Remember how we said that this comes with its share of problems as well. Just as one size does not fit all, home working will work well for some and not for others – this depends upon one’s personality and situation as well as work requirements. Whatever be the advantages and disadvantages, it is a fact that home working is one of the biggest trends of the modern workplace and a phenomenon that will impact both employees and employers alike for a long time to come and Convene can be part of the process helping both sides and making a better work experience in any workspace.