As we emerge from pandemic lockdowns with enforced WFH for many, opinion is shifting on this subject. As more professionals look for a better work-life balance and more companies adopt flexible policies to accommodate shifting workplace priorities and realise the financial benefits of having a lower office overhead, working from home is becoming increasingly viable.
There are potential pitfalls however and below we discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of working from home.
Better work/life balance
Work/life balance is vastly improved, allowing you to schedule your work around your personal life, particularly if you have the flexibility to report into the office and work from home as an option and can fine-tune the arrangement week by week.
Increased Job satisfaction
Employee satisfaction in WFH roles may be higher because of the flexibility afforded to them in performing their jobs. They can make decisions independently, work comfortably without office-related stress, interruptions or other distractions in the office. This can directly influence overall job satisfaction.
For you-You save on many costs associated with going to work- commuting, car wear and tear, fuel, road taxes, parking as well as indirect costs such as your professional wardrobe and dry-cleaning.
For your company -Home-based workers can produce big overhead savings for companies. They need less office space, less equipment, less facilities such as staff restaurants.
The time taken to present yourself professionally, deal with hair and makeup, and travel to work, is probably a major factor in increased productivity. As soon as the kids are out of the door you can be at your desk in seconds! And in the evening as soon as you switch off your computer, you can immerse yourself in home life.
You can probably save on older children’s care arrangements. For younger children it is probably impractical to forgo proper childcare arrangements and try to balance care and supervision with the demands of the job.
The flexibility to determine your own work hours to some extent is probably the most important aspect of this for many. You may be unaffected by normal business hours, making it easier to attend to life events like medical appointments and collect children from school. You can also choose your environment, lighting, music, temperature, setting, mood. Choosing the factors that suit you best and make you happiest probably contribute to home workers increased productivity.
Colleague’s chatter and distractions, interruptions, phones ringing and trivial meetings can all be avoided if you are at home and in control of your own environment. You must ensure you are protected as well as possible from interruptions.
Closeness to home and family
Many people find the physical closeness to family and the convenience of being at home is important to them as it means that they can be available if help is needed. This is true for parents with children and also applies in the case of elderly care.
The stress of commuting at rush hour in many countries is counterproductive and can lead to workers who are already exhausted and in a bad temper before they have even begun their day. Other stresses can be unfriendly colleagues, a poor work environment and constant distractions. You are much more likely to avoid a “bad day at the office” feeling if you are in control at home.
Working in your own environment at your own pace, many people are a lot happier and a lot more productive.
Both physical and mental health can be improved; perhaps you can find time to go to the gym instead of commuting? Or you can go for a long walk at lunchtime. You have more control over the food you and your family eat as well- no staff restaurant, and you can prepare casseroles and leave them to cook while you work.
Improved communication and technical skills
You will become proficient with technical applications, such as online meetings, messaging or team collaboration platforms. Improved communication skills will also develop
Collaborate across locations and time zones
Telecommuting can enable global companies that have office locations around the world to work more effectively. Workers will learn skills by dealing with professionals in many areas adding to their professional network, and helping business development.
Grants and incentives
Depending on the industry you work in and where you live, you may be eligible for various grants or incentives. Investigate available grants for remote workers to help you pay for your home office setup.
Reduction in work absences
WFH may also reduce work absences due to sickness or the need to schedule important appointments, which otherwise may necessitate taking a day off work.
Provides more job opportunities
WFH can open up additional job opportunities for staff who experience limitations in traditional office roles. For example, people with health problems or disabilities that prevent them traveling or working long hours have an opportunity to build their careers remotely.
No geographical restrictions
Remote working can also mean an increase in positions in industries such as technology, healthcare and education. The employer may be able to use staff who would not normally be available to them