Whether your office has recently gone remote or you’re considering making the change yourself, you should weigh the pros and cons of each work style.
In this post, we’ll cover the good and not so good of both working from home and in the office, and offer some practical tips to help you maximize your productivity when you’re working remotely.
Pros of working from home
Freedom and flexibility are probably some of the first things that come to mind when you think about working from home. Here are the best parts of working remotely.
More control over your schedule and work environment
Improved communication skills
No more commute
It’s no secret that working from home gives you more flexibility over how and when you do your work.
You don’t need to take a vacation day or unpaid time off just because you have to let the plumber in to repair your broken sink. You can work at home and just take a few minutes to brief the plumber on the issue.
Or if you prefer to work from your kitchen table, couch, or your back patio instead of your desk, you can totally do that — as long as you get your work done.
When all you have to do is jump on your laptop to go to work, you can take advantage of the times when you are most productive.
Are you a night owl who finds that inspiration strikes when the rest of the world is sleeping? Grab your laptop and chip away at your projects at 1 a.m. No one is stopping you. The same goes if you are an early riser.
With remote work comes the need for communication tools and software that aren’t necessary in an office setting where you can just drop by someone’s desk for a quick chat. This forces you to learn how to use these tools and how to quickly and efficiently communicate to get the job done.
In some instances, you might be more likely to reach out to someone since it doesn’t involve the risk of a drawn-out conversation at someone’s desk.
When your commute is from your bedroom to your home office (or kitchen, or living room), not only are you saving time, but you’re saving on the cost of transportation, gas, and wear and tear on your vehicle.
Pros of working in the office
Despite all of the advantages of working from home, there are some advantages to commuting to an office every day.
Defined start and stop times
Access to more technology, equipment, and free food
One of the major drawbacks of working from home is the tendency to let work bleed into your personal life. It’s often difficult to “clock out” when your workspace is your home.
When a coworker asks you for a quick favor once your workday is over, it’s hard to say no. After all, your computer is right there. This is particularly true for people who have a natural tendency to say yes to everything and hard workers in general.
This isn’t the case when you commute to work each day. You leave your desk, hop in your car, and drive home. Your commute — even if you live super close to your office — is a way to transition from work to personal life.
Many offices provide equipment, technology, and supplies that you may not have in your home office. For example, you might have to make do with a small personal printer instead of the office’s business printer.
In an office, you also have access to conference rooms, onsite tech support, and fancy standing desks. Some even have a break room stocked with free coffee and snacks. The coffee and food at home aren’t exactly free.
In an office, a lot of day-to-day casual conversations and small talk happens between coworkers. You can brainstorm and think through new ideas while chatting in the hall, in the break room, or in a meeting.
This creates a sense of connection and trust that takes much longer to replicate when you’re communicating remotely through screens.
When you work in the office, you don’t need to rely on your willpower to get work done since everyone around you is also working. Sure, there might be some distractions, like a coworker stopping by your desk to chat or someone microwaving their leftover fish curry in the break room. But in the grand scheme of things, these are minor distractions compared to working from home.
Remote work requires discipline and a tremendous amount of willpower to ignore the distractions of being at home, such as dealing with kids, pets, or household chores. You can easily find yourself procrastinating by doing laundry or playing with your dog when you should be working on a project.
As you can see, there are good reasons to work from home and good reasons to work from an office. It’s certainly possible to thrive in either setting. Which one is right for you will depend on your work style and personal preferences.
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