The rise of flexible hours has given way for many people who would have previously worked from an office to work from home. Although for some people this setup works very well and allows them to be more productive, for some it can have an adverse effect affecting morale and productivity through being isolated and having not a set routine.
So what are the things that you may have to consider in order to make an informed decision as to whether working from home is a viable and sensible option for you? Below we have listed the pros and cons to help you to come to your own conclusions.
- If you are someone who struggles in getting along with others in the workplace and can sometimes (rightly or wrongly) be impatience or is prone in saying the wrong things, then working from home takes away any 'office politics' that comes with a static based job. Working away from the office may be a perfect as you will remove yourself from conflict issues.
- If you are self-disciplined with your time and how you manage it, then working from home may be ideal for you. You will have the freedom to choose the time you start and finish, without external interference stating what you should be doing with your time. The problem with an office based job is that it is ridged and doesn't really give individuals the responsibility to be accountable for themselves. We are the best judges of our time and know best how we choose to spend it.
- One of the main advantages you can gain from working from home is the avoidance of the daily commute. This can be a particular annoyance to those that work in the major cities like London or Manchester. Where typically the journey into work to add up to anything from 3-4 hours to a working day. Therefore if you struggle to deal with the inevitable stress, financial implications and just general hassle from the daily commute, then working from home could be perfect for you.
- Getting the work-life balance right may be the reason why many people choose to work from home. Perhaps you were finding you were spending too much time commuting to and from the office to spend quality time with the family? Working from home could help you to regain some of that precious time.
- With the advancement of modern technology such as video conferencing, many of today's jobs and in particular IT roles can be completed from home, many companies recognise this and have strategies in place to allow their employees to work from home. If you already have a laptop and a printer then the costs associated from setting up from home are relatively low, allowing you to start work almost straightaway.
- The informal home environment means that there is no outside pressure to be busy, and as such some people may work better in a less pressurised environment.
- There is no formal dress code, you will be able to ditch the suit in favour of more comfortable clothes such as jeans and T-shirts.
- In order to recreate an office environment in a home setting you will need to dedicate aside a particular area for an office, shut away from distractions such as noise. If you do not have an area such as a spare room or even an outside office then working from home may not be ideal for you. You need to be able to get in the right frame of mind, so an office in a hallway for example cluttered by children or pets running around will do little for your productivity. You must be able to create a boundary that says 'this is my workspace, do not disturb', and family and friends must learn to respect this.
- One of the main issues people face working from home is the dissolving of a working routine gained from having a set plan of action, from waking up to commuting to and from work. If you decide to work from home you need to be self-disciplined in order to create your own routine. Remember your boss will not be around to watch you, added to this you will lose the natural atmosphere of an office where you may have been accustomed to getting on with your work from your desk. Therefore you may struggle in setting and maintain some basic rules.
- Believe it or not many people that work from home may find it difficult to switch off. You may find yourself working into the early hours or even checking emails at unsociable hours. This is because it is sometimes harder to come away from work like you would an office where you would leave to go home. Boundaries can become blurred if they are not clearly drawn up and adhered to.
- There is a risk of becoming isolated from your co-workers from having little or no contact with them. This could be due to spending too much time at home and not setting specific time aside for networking opportunities that will get you out and about.
Whatever you decide, working from home as ideal as it sounds is not a 'one size fits all' solution to today's modern working practices. Where possible you should aim to have a sensible discussion with your employer and your family to whether this is a suitable and workable path for you to choose.