I’ve been working from home for full time for over two years and it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me personally and professionally. If you’re on the fence about whether or not working from home is right for you, keep reading to learn more about my experience and the pros and cons of working from home.
This year, many employees and professionals started working from home out of necessity due to the COVID-19. This sudden and unexpected change was understandably challenging, and many people struggled to adjust to working from home in the midst of a pandemic.
On one hand, the work from home revolution was advanced because millions of people made the sudden change. Companies that had never considered developing a remote workforce now realize that it’s a viable option that can work for their companies.
On the other hand, being thrust into working from home while trying to navigate a public health crisis may have given many people an unrealistically negative view of working from home.
Benefits of Working From Home
In my experience, working from home is beneficial to workers and families. I have saved the time, money, and energy spent on commuting back and forth to work.
When I worked in a cubicle, I spent over an hour each way every day in traffic. Now, I can use that time to take care of my home, my family, and myself.
I am just as productive working from home as I was in an office space, if not moreso, and I take less time off from work for things like handling home repairs or a minor appointment.
I feel less stressed and overall more satisfied with my working conditions now than when I worked full time in an office.
As much as I enjoy and promote employees and entrepreneurs working from home full time, there can be some disadvantages to working from home.
Disadvantages of Working From Home
The first challenge to working from home is that you need to have a workspace set up where you can actually be productive. Ideally, you need a dedicated workspace, preferably a desk or a table where you have everything that you need to work in one space.
If you live with other people, or have a small home, it can be difficult to set up a dedicated workspace that is quiet and free of distractions. This is especially difficult if you have a significant other or child also working or going to school from home.
My at home workspace is set up in a small room in my apartment. I like working from my bedroom because I have privacy and the ability to close my door when I have a phone call. But, you may prefer to work from the dining room or a separate room if you have enough space to do so.
In addition to a workspace, you will also need to maintain an Internet connection and phone, and of course all of the costs and utilities required to actually maintain you home. Depending on your work setup, your phone may be powered by the Internet through a work-provided phone.
Your employer may or may not reimburse you for these expenses, but they should pay for your Internet and phone connection if they require it for you to complete your work. If you are an entrepreneur or contractor, then you need to account for these costs as business expenses.
Once you get settled into your workspace and get your internet and other connections set up, you will still need to find a way to eliminate distractions. Until I started working from home, I never realized how noisy my neighbors were, how often the lawn service comes to cut the grass, or how much my dog barked.
I had to learn to tune out the noise, and set boundaries with family members and friends to let them know that I am actually working during work hours, and that I can speak to or spend time with them after work.
Of course, if you are homeschooling and working from home at the same time, you will need to create a schedule to navigate both effectively. I would recommend creating a schedule and a dedicated workspace from your children as well.
If you prefer social aspect of chatting with and hanging out with co-workers, then working from home can get lonely at times. But, if you prefer working solo and only consulting with co-workers and clients occasionally, then working from home can be a dream come true.
Productivity When Working From Home
Studies have shown that employees who work from home tend to actually be more productive than employees who work in a traditional office space. This could be considered good or bad.
From an employer’s perspective, it’s beneficial. But, remote employees also often feel pressured to work harder in order to prove that they are actually working when they are working from home, so they overcompensate by working longer hours.
This, essentially, negates some of the benefits of working from home.
Working from home works best when there is both trust and accountability between managers and employees. If you work for yourself, then you need to create a schedule and daily tasks that allow you to actually get your work done and give yourself some grace.
When you’re working from home, you need to create healthy boundaries between your work life and your home life. I actually created a video with my top tips for being productive when working from home.
One of the ways I stay productive is by actually stopping work when the workday is done. I take a break, I go for a walk, and I allow myself time to rest. If you’re struggling with working from home, check out those tips and try to find ways to shift your mindset and create healthy boundaries in your work.
Soon many employees will be returning to traditional office spaces. If you have been working from home and want to continue to do so, you can choose to pursue a remote work position or learn how to make money working from home.
I create a guide to help you learn more about how to earn an income online working from home, and you can download it here.
I am looking forward to the day that the current crisis passes, but my hope is that the work from home revolution is here to stay.