Sunday, 7 October 2012

10 pros and 10 cons to working at home

The majority of my colleagues seem to prefer to work at home with the odd one who prefers to work in an office.   It is an important debate as there are a number of pros and cons for those who have suitable jobs for working at home.

Cons of working at home

1. Working at home means less interaction with others.  This can easily lead to feeling isolated as there have been times where I have purposely done something just to get myself out of the house and talking to others.
2. There is hardly any banter at home.  Some people can find this really dull.
3. Not interacting much with others combined with lack of banter can mean your social skills slowly rust away.
4. You have higher energy bills due to heating/cooling your own home and using more electricity.
5. You need to be disciplined enough to not allow yourself be distracted by anything not related to work.
6. Some bosses and/or work colleagues are suspicious that you really do your work when working at home.
7. You can be missing out on making important contacts or not networking enough which could prevent you obtaining a promotion or making you more vulnerable to redundancy etc.
8. Sometimes, you do need to be working in a team in an office environment to get something done.
9. If you live in a noisy house due to children etc. and you do not have a room where you can shut yourself away, then working at home could be impractical.
10. You can find yourself (very easily!) working through half the night instead of only during the day.

Pros of working at home

1. No commute.  This is my number one reason why I like working at home.  From my bed to my desk takes 30 seconds!  This means more leisure time to do what I want to do.
2. No commute means I no longer need to fork out considerable money a month for transportation.
3. No commute also means less stress to get to your office by a particular time and to then get home again.
4. No commute means more energy for getting your actual work done.
5. You don’t need to pay out for such an extensive wardrobe if you work at home because you can wear clothes you feel comfortable in rather than dressing to impress in the office.
6. There are no people distractions so that you can focus on what needs to be done.  I personally find that I am much more productive working at home than in the office.
7. It is more convenient for if you need workmen to visit your home or you need to go to your local dentist or doctors as you will need less time off of work.
8. You can do practical household chores during your lunch break meaning more leisure time to do what you want to do.
9. It saves your employers money as they don’t need as much office space or need to meet your energy needs in terms of heating/cooling the office and electricity.
10. We are running out of oil so less people commuting means more fossil fuel for more essential needs.

My personal experience has been that many employers are opposed to employees working at home because they suspect employees won’t be working very hard. Alternatively, they may argue that communication is diminished.

However, both these arguments are flawed.  Firstly, you should still be hitting your work deadlines when working at home and if not, you could then work in the office so that your employer can see why you are not hitting your deadlines.  Secondly, the internet has increased the ease of instant communication greatly via emails, mobile phone, instant messaging, Skype and the many other ways people can remain in constant contact these days.  If a piece of work requires team work, then the appropriate people can go and work in the office together until that work is complete.

Nevertheless, the main reason why working at home should be occurring on a larger scale is that if less people are commuting to work, it means less fossil fuel is being used.  As we are slowly running out of this vital energy source, it seems like a no-brainer.  Even if a company stipulated a policy of one-two days a week in the office and the other days working at home would greatly help to conserve this precious stuff.