When COVID-19 swept the globe, we were forced to leave behind our corporate offices, our daily commute and our in-person meetings. We said goodbye to working life as we knew it and instead set up full time offices at home. For some of us, that hasn’t changed.
Since the pandemic began, increasing numbers of employers have become more flexible in how their employees work. Working from home is no longer considered a perk, but rather a viable long-term option.
For many workers, this comes as a breath of fresh air. However, like anything, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Where there are pros, there are also cons. Here we look at both.
Better work life balance
Working from home means a healthy work life balance is easier to achieve. Time that was previously spent travelling can now be used as time to knuckle down and work. This means that there’s more flexibility throughout the day.
As a result of this flexibility, it’s easier to schedule personal appointments, gym workouts, school pick-ups and after school activities. It also means that you can switch off – literally and figuratively - at the end of the day and immediately spend time with loved ones.
Working from home results in decreased stress levels. Without the rush and time deadline of getting out the door, work mornings are more relaxed. Not having to sit in traffic or on busy public transport is a welcome relief.
Not dealing with workplace politics or challenging personalities in the workplace also decreases stress. And being able to work at your own pace and manage your own workload without prying eyes take things to a whole other level of chill.
Going to work can cost you a lot of money. There are travel costs, lunch costs and those unexpected expenses – such as another round of Friday night drinks. Working from home significantly cuts these down.
Ditching those train rides, concocting your own lunch and, more importantly, your own coffee means your piggy bank will quickly fill up. Savings also accumulate from not buying uniform, not attending after work drinks and, in some cases, not paying for after school care.
No office distractions
Being in the workplace there are so many distractions that slow down our productivity and efficiency. That ‘quick’ chat in the kitchen over a cuppa, that birthday morning tea and the general background hum. It all adds up.
However, working from home removes these distractions, as well as many others. There’s no one to physically interrupt you, meeting times and regularity are reduced, the temptation to pop out for another coffee is gone and the loud conversations are silenced.
Without the presence of co-workers and managers it’s easy to become unmotivated and justify time away from your work. This can mean you seek out distractions and/or spend lots of time procrastinating.
Suddenly cleaning out the pantry becomes a priority, as does the vacuuming. And let’s not even get started on catching up on some Netflix. We all know how hard it is to stop watching after just one episode of our favourite show.
Harder to stick to a routine
While flexibility is a great perk of working from home, it can also mean that it’s harder to stick to a routine. The day can get away from you, and before you know it, you’re working different hours from day to day.
Consequently, there are many side effects. Your stress levels may rise, which can affect your mental and physical health, your sleep may be disturbed, good habits may slide and your motivation levels plunge.
Lack of interaction
As humans we’re naturally sociable creatures, so not seeing colleagues daily can have a negative effect on us. Without those chats at the water cooler, coffee meetings or lunchtime get togethers it’s easy to feel isolated.
Working from home also means you lose that office vibe and the ability to bounce ideas off other colleagues in person. And Friday night video calls for drinks just aren’t quite the same.
Harder to switch off
Having a home office set up can make it hard to switch off. The presence of a glowing computer screen and work phone means that there’s the constant temptation to just ‘quickly check in’.
But that quick check in can easily turn into an hour at your desk. Before you know it, you’re answering emails and completing tasks when instead you should be relaxing or in bed. Say goodbye to work life balance.
Working from home isn’t for everyone but as employers offer more flexibility it can be an option worth considering even if for only part of the week.
Author - Frontline Human Resources
Tagswork from home, remote work, career, employee, candidate, future of work