Starting to work from home is definitely something that can describe the current situation in 2020. Whether employers like it or not, it is a new lifestyle that is more and more common nowadays.
In this article, we will be talking about the 10 pros and cons of working remotely that you didn’t think about before, and that you should consider. Working remotely is not always great, and there are certainly some downsides to it. Make sure to stick till the end to know them all.
A report by FlexJobs about remote work showed that remote job offers grew a remarkable 7.9% from 2016 to 2017. In the past five years, it has grown 44% and in the previous ten years, 91%. That’s quite an impressive growth trend and 2020 has definitely grown the curve even more.
For this reason, it is important to know the pros and cons of working remotely to be aware of the differences with going to the office.
Pros of Working Remotely
There are many advantages of working remotely and being comfortable is only one of them. Whether you plan to work at home, from a coffee shop, or a co-working space, the benefits and advantages are numerous.
Find below the pros of working remotely that you didn’t think about before and that are great for your personal and professional lives.
Productivity is one of the most important factors of our working life. Flexjob has found, in a survey, that 65% of staff members think they would be more productive working at home than in at the office, with 49% saying they go to their home or home office when they really need to get things done.
In addition, Ryan Holmes, Founder and CEO of Hootsuite, shared his productivity experience related to emails. He quotes ““Email is familiar. It’s comfortable. It’s easy to use. But it might just be the biggest killer of time and productivity in the office today.” This certainly gives us some room for thoughts.
Saving Time and Money
Saving time and money when working from home is as equally important as productivity, for obvious reasons. Needless to say, time off work and money is what every employee likes the most, and for this reason, saving then when working from home is a fantastic benefit.
First of all, people who work remotely half time can save between $2,000 to $6,500 a year, says a study from Global Workplace Analytics.
Working from home can make you save money on different things. For instance, gas, car maintenance, transportation, parking fees, lunches outside, and even more can be reduced or removed from your monthly budget.
In the same vein, you’ll also save lots of time. A report by the United States Census Bureau found that the average one-way commuting time in the U.S. is 26.1 minutes which ends up in nearly an hour each day spent getting to and from work. Also, a study by the Auto Insurance Center showed that commuters spend about 100 hours commuting and 41 hours stuck in traffic every year.
You’ll Have More Break Time
A big part of our working life is also going on break to clear our mind, have a coffee, and take some fresh air. Well, working from home will give you even more break time and that’s great different reasons – let’s see why.
A study by Airtasker, a gig economy platform, surveyed 1,004 full-time employees about their tasks and productivity. It found that remote workers have 22 minutes a day for their breaks, while their office colleagues had only 18 minutes.
In addition, based on employees’ responses, they work 1,4 more days each month, which adds up to 16,8 more days every year and that certainly is a big difference.
The same study found that taking longer breaks is the most effective way to stay productive.
Miriam Herst, Beauty Editor at All Things Hair US shared her experience of break time. “It’s easy to get caught up in work and forget to get outside and take a break from staring at the computer all day. I’ve been using my lunch break to walk to the park to get some fresh air. I come back to my at-home work station refreshed and reenergized. It’s easily my best tip for staying productive while working from home!”
Health benefits are an extra pro to working remotely that will keep you more healthy both physically and mentally.
A survey by Flexjobs showed that 86% of their respondents think a flexible job would reduce their stress, and 89% said they think they would be able to take better care of themselves. In fact, it found that the average total time exercising during the workweek was 2,19 hours for office workers. However, it can be up to 2,44 hours for remote workers, which is nearly half an hour more.
In addition, they found that 86% of respondents believed working from home would decrease their levels of stress. Also, 95% of respondents thought that a remote job would probably make them happier in general.
Last but not least, you’ll have more time to go outside and take some fresh air. While it can be difficult to leave the office for a few minutes, we can all agree that stepping outside our door to take a breath of fresh air is the easiest thing on earth.
Fresh air makes you more joyful, it cleans your lungs, and it reinforces your immune system.
You Will Have More Family Time
Having more family time is very important to many workers and for valid reasons.
In fact, it is proved that, when families spend time together, the probability of kids getting involved in dangerous activities drops remarkably.
Also, you’d have more time to provide a better education to your children, which is essential to their growing up.
Walt Disney once quoted: “a man should never neglect his family for business”.
Probably most of us can agree that every moment with family should be savored and having more family time is important.
Cons of Working Remotely
This is the part that fewer people talk about, but it should definitely be considered. Just like the working life at the office, there are cons of working remotely that you need to be aware of.
Some of these inconveniences can be terribly impactful to a company in a negative way. That is why it’s important to acknowledge them and find a way around not to sacrifice productivity and well-being.
Less Social Life and Communication (loneliness)
This is an inconvenience of working remotely that is essential to many. In fact, loneliness is an important factor to be considered, since you won’t be talking to many people outside of the work chat or mobile apps.
A study from Buffer found that 19% of remote employees report loneliness as their second biggest challenge after unplugging after work. Loneliness can lead to anxiety, stress, and that’s certainly a point of working remotely that you didn’t think about before.
Doist’s Founder & CEO Amir Salihefendic quoted that “Remote work isn’t just a different way to work—it’s a different way to live. And, unlike what you might see on Instagram, working remotely doesn’t mean you jet set to exotic locations to drink piña coladas on the beach. We need to acknowledge that isolation, anxiety, and depression are significant problems when working remotely.”
Potential Less Work Life Balance
While working from home can increase your work life balance, it can also be extremely hard to let ourselves go and work life balance will therefore deteriorate. Also, a study from Owllabs has proved that 91% of workers have a better work life balance.
However, on the other hand, it is essential to see the part where you won’t have to enhance that work life balance because of not unplugging from work.
Working from home can give you the chance to balance your personal and professional lives but it can also be challenging to create a proper separation between them.
For instance, if you have an important deadline to meet and that your children get sick right when you need to work more. It is going to be challenging and you’ll likely need to work late at night to finish the project.
Set clear boundaries between your work hours and personal time, and communicate these boundaries with others in your home.
Try to improve your work life balance when working remotely and you should enjoy it much more than your office working life.
You Have More Chances to Get Distracted
While you’ll have no office distractions from colleagues asking for a second opinion or chatting about their personal lives, there’s lots of distraction when working from home.
It is easy to get distracted by the television, pets, or cell phone notifications and it can heavily affect your productivity at work. Too many distractions at home can lead to a decrease in your productivity and, hence, your motivation. You can avoid this by limiting things that you find distracting such as muting your phone, turn off the television, and listen to concentration music.
For example, noise-canceling headphones are great to block out noises like traffic and neighborhood activity when you need to remain focused.
A study from Gallup found that fully remote workers are only 30% engaged in their work, which is very similar to people who never worked remotely.
On the other hand, 77% of remote workers state to be more productive when working from home, says a report from CoSo Cloud.
To sum up, make sure to do all the necessary not to get distracted when working from home as it can have a much bigger impact than you might think.
A Potential Lack of Discipline
Working remotely can lead to a lack of discipline for many reasons. In fact, while everything goes usually fine at the beginning with a low count of distractions, it can easily and rapidly change into less productive time.
It is rather easy to wake up minutes before the start of the shift, spend the day in pajamas, or watching Netflix while working. For this reason, it is important to think about the lack of discipline and act accordingly to be more productive and work at home the right way.
Risk of Overworking
Overworking when having a remote job is way easier than many of us might think.
The same study from Buffer than we mentioned before in this article stated that 22% of remote workers struggle with unplugging from work, making it the number 1 inconvenience for them.
Working from home also comes with a high risk of staying at the computer getting things done longer than you should. This can certainly lead to burn-out and increased work-related stress that can be avoided. In fact, you can avoid it by clearly defining your schedule, allocating certain times for your tasks and using an organizational app such as Monday.com or Trello.
Also, it is important for many people to have a designated workspace that they can leave when the shift is over so as not to interfere with personal life and leaving work behind.
Working Remotely Pros and Cons – The Bottom Line
Now that you know the pros and cons of working remotely, you’re certainly more prepared to start your new lifestyle. This year is being a turning point for remote job offers and knowing the advantages and inconveniences in advance is certainly a great help.
Last but not least, a study from Global Workplace Analytics shows that 72% of employers say that working remotely has a big impact on employee retention, and 90% of employees feel flexible work arrangements increase employee morale. In addition, 45% of remote workers have been in the same position for 5 years or more, which is quite a big percentage.
In conclusion, you’ll have improved health benefits, more break time, and it will increase your productivity. However, on the other hand, you’ll be more impacted by loneliness, a potentially worse work-life balance, and more distractions.