“OMG! You’re so lucky!” That’s what most people say immediately after I tell them I work from home. A little over a year ago, I started my own business and began working from home, four out of five days a week. Since then, it’s been quite the ride. But, it’s honestly not something I talk about a lot. So, today I am sharing the pros and cons of working from home.
What Working From Home is Really Like
Now, it’s time to get honest with you all. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, a lot of people see working from home as a blessing. And, while it definitely has its perks and was something I was very excited about, the past year of working from home has been much more challenging than I thought. I have discovered some distinct pros and cons that I’ve outlined below.
Pros of Working from Home
- You can get more work done – For someone like me who likes being productive, I love how much more I can accomplish when I work from home. Especially as someone who’s career involves a lot of writing and editing, it’s much easier and faster to get things done in my quiet home office compared to the day’s when I go into the office.
- Independence & Flexibility – Whether you’re an employee or self-employed, when you work from home you have a new level of independence and more control to schedule your time. As a contractor myself, the independence while working from home has been a big advantage because I can set my schedule and work when I want to. I’ve also been able to take work with me while traveling which has been a big advantage (most of the time! ;-))
- No traffic or commute – To get from my bed to my desk, it takes 30 steps! Traffic in the DC area can be particularly frustrating, so it’s a big plus to not be sitting in it each day. On top of that, I’m never in a situation where a traffic jam or car problem prevents me from getting my work done.
- Your office is YOURS – Working from home has allowed me to creatd my own work environment that speaks to my personality more than any other office or desk I’ve ever had. I truly love my workspace. It’s also really nice to listen to music without headphones and burn candles whenever I like.
Cons of Working from Home
- Less Time Outside – It may be odd to say, but some days the short walk outside to our parking garage sounds pretty nice. There are work days at home where I don’t get outside until it’s dark out. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I miss how going outside each morning was a given for me. I’m trying to re-prioritize this!
- Blurred Lines – There is no distinct work life and home life when you work from home, which makes it difficult to set boundaries. When you work from home, you can print, scan and email so easily at any time of the day.
- Loneliness – When you work from home the only person you may have to talk to is yourself, and in my case I have our cat Maple to talk to. Sure, I can call someone I work with, but there’s little chit chat and I can easily go a full day without talking to anyone. Even as an introvert, the loneliness can be a struggle at times. It’s particularly difficult when Will is traveling, but I am learning to prioritize social outings.
- Extra Responsibility for Your Schedule – Because of the extra level of independence, I have found that a much greater amount of self-discipline is required for me. I really have to stay on top of my schedule and make sure that I’m not burning myself out at my desk and that I’m taking breaks. When I worked traditional office settings, I never thought much of my schedule and I took cues from the people around me. I would take a lunch break when I saw other people eating lunch. Now that I work from home, there are days that when realize I haven’t had lunch yet and it is 3pm. It’s also been hard for me to shut-off my work at the end of the day.
- Difficulty Prioritizing Self Care – Working from home has, surprisingly, made it more difficult for me to prioritize self-care. Similar to my lunch example, I have realized that I feel better about taking a break to workout when I see and know other people are taking a break. When working from home, I’ve found I often delay working out or a walk outside until I get “x” to-do done. Fast forward, and I often run out of time.
So there you have it — my true feelings about working from home. I didn’t plan on writing out more cons than pros, but I will say that the weight of each bullet point is not equal. The independence and flexibility you get from working from home holds A LOT of value for me, and it’s what I like most about working from home. That said, the cons are very real. I felt compelled to share them because working from home often gets glorified as this amazing thing.
Contemplating Working from Home?
If you’re contemplating working from home, I highly recommend talking to people who already do and ask them about the cons of working from home they’ve faced. I’d also think about your personality type so you can predict what areas you might struggle with. If you get distracted easily and have a hard time motivating yourself, you may struggle some days to focus and be productive.
I’m still learning how to make the most of my time and not burn myself out while working from home. So as most things are in life, getting into a work from home routine is a process and something that is constantly going to shift as life changes.
Hopefully, this gives you some insight and helps you think about what working from home would be like for you. I honestly wish I had thought more about it in advance because those first few months were definitely a struggle for me.
I’d love to hear if you work from home and what the pros and cons of working from home look like for you.