Whether you call it remote work, working from home, or are so hip that you’ve started using the acronym WFH in your messages to friends and family, telecommuting has become a part of daily life for many—and a permanent reality for others.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 15% of American workers were already working from home. In early April 2020, an MIT survey found that in the midst of nationwide lockdowns, up to half of the entire workforce may have been remote. As things start to return to normalcy, many companies like Twitter have decided that the advantages of remote work far outweigh the cons. As a result, remote work looks like it’s here to stay for far more workers than ever before.
Whether you’ve been working remotely for a while or have the option to do it for the near future, consider these pros and cons of working from home! Here’s what you should know before kicking off the shoes for a long day in.
5 Advantages of Working From Home
1. Less Environmental Impact
It may come as no surprise that taking millions of cars off the road decreases carbon emissions, meaning benefits for the environment and less fuel costs for consumers. Because an estimated three-fourths of workers normally drive alone every day, the daily pilgrimage to and from work can certainly put a strain on environmental health.
Not only is allowing remote work good for a company’s eco-friendly brand, it also empowers employees to make good decisions for the world! Need more proof? A Canadian study found that “working from home is associated with decreases in overall travel time by 14 minutes and increases in odds of non-motorized travel by 77%.”
2. Easier Work-Life Balance
When given the flexibility of working from home or anywhere else outside of the office, you’ll have more control over how to organize your day. While some companies may have rigid hours even for telecommuters to be “on the clock”, generally those that value work-life balance will give their employees the power of choice. For example, the ability to pick up the kids from school before getting back to work drastically reduces stress and simplifies juggling priorities.
The average remote worker will save 2-5.5 hours a day without the commute and meetings. That’s a whole lot of time more for personal activities!
3. Increased Productivity
While it may seem counter-intuitive to some, working without immediate oversight or being surrounded by coworkers can actually boost productivity. Studies weighing the pros and cons of working from home have suggested that those with flexible working arrangements are less likely to quit, have higher job satisfaction, and increased productivity than their in-office peers. Certainly, cutting out the office’s chatty neighbors may be a contributing factor.
4. Saved Costs for Both Businesses and Employees
Businesses benefit from a host of saved costs with a remote team. For instance, some factors include less overhead, better worker productivity, and fewer utilities consumed. Meanwhile, employees can rejoice from the saved commuting costs, smaller professional wardrobe, and less frequent lunches out. After all, time is money.
5. It’s Growing in Popularity
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work was rising in popularity as a common work arrangement. A change in technology and shifting demographic changes from Millennials have been undeniably leading the charge. As telecommuting continues to rise in popularity, we’ll have more information about the pros and cons of remote work and how this affects individuals.
5 Disadvantages of Working From Home
1. Feelings of Isolation
Working a world away from the team can lead to feelings of isolation, especially if you work primarily from home.
To get back out into the world, try changing up your environment. While coffee shops for remote workers or coworking spaces are normally favorites, times of social distancing may call for a modified routine at home. Moving into different rooms throughout the day and having the background chatter of the TV can give a fresh of breath air.
2. More Potential for Distractions
While workplace distractions are out of the picture, working remotely makes room for a new obstacle–home distractions! Whether you have kids or 10 cats, you’ll have to be really good at siloing your professional life from your personal life. Otherwise, you may just slip into the habit of mixing the two throughout the workday.
3. Harder to Collaborate
Many positions require constant communication with team members. Employees working outside of the office will therefore need to have a solid grasp of digital methods of communication and be best friends with the phone.
As offices closed in mid-March 2020 and most people started working remotely, weekly meeting time increased by 10%. Instant messaging also surged. So, remote work doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll collaborate less, just that you’ll have to find new ways to do so.
4. Sometimes Harder Work-Life Balance
Not all the pros and cons of working from home are black and white! Work-life balance can go both ways.
While the added flexibility of working from home will help you have a better handle on managing personal matters, the two may start to blend together. When you leave an office, work typically stays at the office. However, when home is the office, it’s much easier to slip into your emails at all times of day.
For some, remote work may even mean logging additional hours daily.
5. More Need for Time Management
The Snuggie-clad worker must be at the top of their game to maximize time. It’s easier to get lost in several chores before realizing you’re still on the clock or the day has gotten shorter. Depending on your work style, you may need to work differently than in an office. Try to self-pace or plan your day at the onset to ensure you’re completing all tasks.
Interested in continuing or finding a new career with flexible work arrangements? Explore some of the best companies for remote work in Arizona!