Pros and Cons of Working From Home

I’ve been working from home full time for over 2.5 years, and it is a major benefit of my current position. Remote work offers some great benefits, but also some notable cons.

Pros

1. No commute!

This saves so much time! You don’t even need a car when you have no commute, so I have 2.

2. Work with dog(s)

My wife and I have 2 dogs, and I get to be at home with them all day. This means no hiring dog sitters, and our pups aren’t always bored.

Dogs

3. Make Your Office How You Like It

I bought multiple computer monitors, a nice speaker system, decorated my walls, and I can light candles every day! In a shared office environment, you just get what they provide, unless you want to drag it to and from work every day.

Office

4. Listen to music without headphones

Music through speakers is better, and I don’t get tired of having headphones on or in my ears like I did when shared an office.

5. Your Time is More Flexible

I can cook lunch most days and have it ready when my wife comes home from work. If I get frustrated, I can go outside, clean, or go do a load of laundry. I have the privacy to make phone calls without having to find a huddle room or empty office. I can walk out of the office, get quotes from contractors, and can run errands easier than being in a shared office. There seems to much less of a stigma of taking time off from work when you are remote, as opposed to in person.

6. No Dress Code

I wear gym shorts and t-shirts to work every day. This can also be a con, since I usually look like a slob. It’s also a bit backwards, since I do most of my dressing up on the weekends, when most people dress down.

7. More focused working time

I can get more high quality work in less hours than in a shared office since I no longer have people tapping on my shoulder for help, or co-workers stopping by to chat. There is no “office water cooler” when you work from home, which means less distractions while working. This can be a huge advantage when writing code, which is a task that requires lots of concentration, at least for me.

8. Work where you want

I usually work at my office desk, where I have 3 monitors, speakers, mouse, keyboard, etc. A nice working setup. But occasionally, I’ll want to do training or take meetings and get out of that office. I can go sit in a recliner for a meeting in the living room, or sit by the pool to do some technical training.

Pool

Cons

1. Cabin Fever

I didn’t notice being cooped up inside as a negative for the first 2 years, but in the last half a year I have been getting stir crazy. I seem to leave my house once a week, and barely get outside off of my property. It has been a recent goal of mine to start getting out of the house more often. I’ve started a trivia group on Thursdays to socialize more.

2. Hard to Shut Off Work

I have work email on my phone. If I see an email at 9PM, and it is something that just takes a second to do, I’ll go over to my office and do it. Downside, I then spend another 30 minutes doing other stuff, and I never seem to truly disconnect from work.

3. The A/C bill

I still have to pay my own power bill, and I live in Florida. That means that if I’m not running the A/C, it will get HOT inside. I keep it at 77-78F most days, but that still adds up. It used to keep the house at 80F during work hours, before I started working here.

4. Less Reliable Internet

Corporate offices often have business internet connections, which are more reliable and quicker. I have a 150MB home internet connection, which is fast, but tends to be less reliable. I also had to supply my own internet connection hardware, like the modem and router. These are expenses I would have had normally, but when you’re home 24/7, you care more about a great internet connection than normal. Therefore, I bought a nicer, expensive router recently.

5. Less Connected to Co-Workers

In a shared office, you can walk up to your coworkers to get advice or help, and you see them in person at meeting often. In a remote work environment, I occasionally see my team members on Skype video, but it’s usually just audio. We communicate mostly via chat platforms at work, which is a bit more difficult to get things done than if you are sitting next to them.

6. Conflicting off days

My wife has Tuesdays and Sundays off. I work on Tuesdays. This means that I’m at home trying to work, and she’s at home not working on Tuesdays. I also used to have a roommate that would have every other Friday off, and I worked those Fridays. He would sit around and play video games all day, which was annoying.

6. Snacks

This could be a pro for some, but I’m always 20 steps from my kitchen, stocked with snacks and food. And I have terrible self control with food, so I am always snacking.

Summary

Anyways, the last 2.5 years working from home have been a wonderful way to work (if you have to work), and I would take remote work over an in person shared office every day. I have learned a few lessons on how to manage working from home though, like setting boundaries on when to start and stop working, how to focus more and be more productive, and to talk to your team members more, even if it is just about their personal lives. Working from home is a great move in the IT and Software disciplines, and I’d recommend employees and managers alike to give it a shot.

Written on July 10, 2019

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