Working from home seems like the ideal: no early alarms, no primping for the office, no commute, and not a single boring work meeting. Sounds perfect, right? Since I graduated from college I’ve been working from home and the truth is working from home has a lot of disadvantages, too.
Is working from home better than working at an office?
Flexible Schedule – Do you want to wake up at 5 am and have your work done by 1 pm? Would you rather sleep in and work until 7 pm? The beauty of working form home is that you can choose to work whenever you’d like. Another benefit of a flexible work schedule is that you don’t have to call out of work to pick up a sick child or go to a doctor’s appointment. This is just one way that working from home saves you money. It also takes a lot of stress out of working because you can take care of family responsibilities and still make deadlines.
Work Anywhere – One huge advantage of working from home is that you can take your work anywhere. Want to visit friends, but don’t want to miss out on a paycheck? No worries! Just take your work with you. Considering I love to travel, this has been a great advantage for me. My boss never even knows I’m (technically) gone!
Fewer Interruptions- When you work from home you avoid interruptions from coworkers or meetings. You’re able to focus on your work and can get your work done more efficiently. You don’t have a boss watching you to make sure you put in 8 hours. You can walk away from your work as soon as it’s done!
No Commute – The national average for a one-way daily commute is 25.5 minutes, which ends up being around 4.25 hours a week. Instead of spending an hour in the car every day, I can now use that hour to be productive, to socialize, or to work out.
Less Gas – When I was working in Providence, my commute was 30 minutes each way, depending on traffic…which equals a lot of gas. I was spending around $60 a week on gas! Cutting out the commute not only saves gas money but wear and tear on your car (which AAA estimates to be $.50 per mile including insurance, maintenance, and gasoline).
Work Wardrobe Optional – When you work at home your wardrobe is up to you. You don’t have to worry about sticking to the company dress code. Work in your pajamas! This is a great way to save money because you don’t have to keep up a work wardrobe.
Reduced Lunch Bill – When I was working at my dad’s auto parts store, the temptation to eat out for lunch was hard to resist. When everyone else was eating delicious, hot Chinese food, I felt pretty sad about my salad. I would spend at LEAST $5 a day on lunch and another $2 on soda during the day (I couldn’t resist the machine!) That’s at least $7 a day on lunch or $35 a week. Wow! Working at home I only eat out for lunch when meeting up with friends or relatives. On average it’s between 2-4 times per month. Not only is this saving me money, but I’ve also developed better eating habits.
No Coworkers – Unlike when you work in an office, when you work at home you can’t skip out for a few minutes to gossip, complain, or just shoot the breeze with a coworker. For some this may not be an issue, but I find myself getting lonely from working solo. For this reason, I tend to meet up with friends for coffee or lunch at least once a week. This adds up to about $10 a week.
Less Collaboration – The fact that you don’t have coworkers around you also reduces collaboration. When you’re working from home, it’s harder to get in touch with coworkers to discuss a project or issue that you’re having trouble with. Communicating via phone, text, and email can be clunky, misleading, and time consuming.
Distractions – When you work at home you avoid the distractions of coworkers, but there are many others to take their place. Laundry, dishes, the television, Facebook, and even YouTube become more interesting when you’re working. (Imagine that!) It reminds me of college and how much I’d clean during finals week. Coincidence? I think not. These distractions cost time and money. When you’re working from home, you don’t get paid for the time you’re not working, so you need to stay on task.
No One Thinks You’re Working – One huge issue with working from home is that no one thinks that you’re working. People tend to assume that you’re available at all times. If grandma needs a ride to the doctor, a child is sick, or dinner needs to be picked up, you’re the first call. You can do it because you make your own schedule! The reality is that you still have deadlines – a reality that can be challenging to convey to family and friends.
Work Anywhere – I know I said this was a pro but it’s also a con. When you can work anywhere you feel like you SHOULD always be working. Defining the line between work-time and off-time can be difficult when you’re working from home. Most people leave their work at the office, but that’s hard to do when your laptop and smart phone keep you connected to work 24/7.