I hear a lot of people talking or see lots of writing about the pros and cons of working from home. The truth is, all of these lists are just representative of one person. Working from home is not the same for everyone. Things differ based on where you live and who you live with, whether or not you have children, how demanding is your workload, and how often your dog likes to bark whenever he hears even the most faintest of sounds. According to research at Stanford, 10% of our population commutes to work at least one day a week, now if only we can compare that one day to the other four days to measure the productivity of that individual. I can’t speak for anyone else who works from home but I can shed some insight into my own experiences telecommuting over the past 2 months and you can make your own assumption as to whether or not this work lifestyle is for you.
CON – Separation Anxiety : I don’t know how to separate work from personal life. I normally turn my work laptop on at 8 am and am normally on it till 7pm. If I hear an email come in any time after 7pm, I guarantee you it will get checked within the first 5 minutes of hearing the sound go off. I feel as if I owe the email a response and so I run to it. My favorite dinner dates are normally with my work laptop open as I review systems making sure I have everything completed and up-to-date.
PRO – Efficiency : To be honest, at my previous job I would get up to commute to work at around 6:45am and wouldn’t get there till 8:30am. I currently get up at 7:30am just to have time to make myself breakfast before sitting down at my laptop and getting my day going. Granted fighting through Miami traffic early in the morning is the equivalent of trying to make your way through a nightclub that’s 500 people over capacity, but I’m not complaining that I don’t have to spend an hour in traffic anymore, so I don’t mind working an extra hour to two. In fact I would leave work between 5pm and 5:30pm before and wouldn’t get home till 6:30pm to 7pm. I’m actually saving myself about 2 hours worth of road rage and top 40 pop radio and don’t even let me get started on gas prices.
CON – Human Interaction : Face to Face human interaction? What’s that? I spent most of the holidays working from home, the closest living thing to me Monday through Friday was my Christmas tree, and that’s questionable considering how often I forgot to water it. Coming from working somewhere where I was the life of the office to somewhere where I make up the whole office is a huge culture change. You might think it doesn’t take a toll on you until 1 month in you’re in a full out conversation with yourself about some report you’re reading and the things you need to fix on it. Who’s the crazy one now?
PRO – Comfort : Nothing beats being able to work in shorts and a tank top when I feel hot and full on pajamas, a hoodie, and ugg boots when I’m cold. No one is watching me or judging me if I accidently spilled soup on myself during lunch and I don’t need to worry about looking weird for getting up every 20 minutes to use the restroom because I have decided to do a juice fast. Let’s face it, no one can put a price tag on this level of work comfort. Burp away after lunch if you must, your Christmas tree isn’t judging you.
CON – Communication : I miss being able to walk over to my supervisors office and being able to ask him a question whenever I needed a second opinion. My life is now ran by LYNC messenger. Some days are good together, some days there’s a lot of distance between us. Literally, I hear more static than I do the other party even if my connection is flawless. I guess that’s the price one has to pay for that at home comfort I spoke about earlier.
PRO – Productivity : I love my lunch break as much as the next person, but let’s face it I only need about 15 minutes to eat at most. The best part about having a 1 hour break and a gym on the sixth floor of my sky rise? 30 minute gym sessions during my lunch break that get my endorphins going again and get me ready for an afternoon of productivity. At my previous job I would eat during my lunch breaks and then I would feel so sluggish till it was time to go home, now I have found a way around that and it is fantastic. I never feel tired when I’m working.
And with that I bid you adieu. I think I have covered some of the most prevalent bases of my life at work with those pros and cons. The cons, are things I am easily willing to overcome so long as I can have the pros. I wouldn’t change one day of my work life for one day of having to travel and deal with all of office culture craziness. The question now is can I ever go back to any of that?