To the untrained eye the idea of working from home might be wonderful, extra time in bed, no commute, the freedom to structure your day as it suits you and lots more enticing ideas – but working from home jobs come with their own set of disadvantages too. Before you jump in a new home-based role, have a think about some of the pros and cons to see if it would work for you.
It can be useful to have this list to hand if you’re applying or interviewing for a working from home role too. Your employer is going to ask you what you see as challenges when you’re home based – if you can anticipate and think about how you’d work around some of these ‘cons’ then you’re sure to impress.
Whether you’re self-employed or working for a company who offers working from home opportunities, there’s a tremendous amount of freedom that goes hand in hand with making your home your office. An increasing number of employers are happy that as long as you’re doing the work – meaning it can be done on your timescales.
With the average UK commute taking 30 minutes each way the idea of a 10 second commute is extremely appealing! You’re also removing the cost of commuting – depending on your choice of transport and location this could mean saving thousands of pounds every year.
No boss checking up
Some people work better without the anxiety of a boss looking over their shoulder at any given moment. This can be especially true if your boss doesn’t share your level of experience in your particular role – they might ask a lot of questions, challenge your practices or suggest working in other ways – without the knowledge to back up their thoughts.
Working from home means you get to manage what your boss sees to some degree. Provided your work is done on time, then you’re going to be fairly free to get to that end point however you see fit.
It’s not just commuting that adds to the expense of having a job. While the stereotype of home workers never getting out of their pyjamas might not be true – it does mean that you don’t need to be in a suit or other formal work clothing every day – meaning less spent on clothes, dry-cleaning, washing and other associated costs! You might even find that your employer pays you an allowance for resources you provide as a home worker.
Being at home for your working day can mean being able to operate around the demands that family-life places on you. There are a lot of roles that give the flexibility to mean young children can be dropped off and picked up from school, partner work schedules can be accommodated, family members can be cared for – and many other things that a 9 to 5 office job just doesn’t allow for.
If you find it hard to get started or keep yourself going on work tasks throughout the day then working with no one to give you a nudge in the right direction can be difficult. 25% of working age adults consider themselves chronic level procrastinators – and when you’re at home there’s lot of ‘other stuff’ that can easily take up the time you’re meant to be spending on your role. If you’re employed – this can mean your time with home working freedom could be limited, if you’re self-employed, this could spell a downward spiral for your company…
If you’re the kind of person who benefits from having a bustling workplace then home can feel very quiet, isolating and lonely as an alternative to the office. You might be able to drop into the office every now and again – and it’s likely that the phone will ring, but you’re not going to have those chats at the photocopier you enjoy – or share the birthday cakes that do the rounds.
Got the space?
You might think that working from home means putting the TV on, sitting your laptop beside you and getting on with it – but your productivity, your back and your general sense of a job well done isn’t going to thank you for it. Working from home normally means dedicated desk space, a computer, storage and any other professional tools – all out of the way of distractions, family and outside interference. Ideally a spare room is a good office – but not everyone has the space needed.
Hard to balance
Balancing your working from home role with life can be tricky – if you’re a workaholic then sitting until 11pm means it’s hard to keep on top of the life things that you’d normally do when the cleaners kick you out of the corporate office at 7pm. If you find you’re in a role that doesn’t interest you, it can be hard to get started – especially when there’s no boss tapping his watch at you if you’re booting your computer up at 9.15am…
Doing too much?
Having a job working from home means it’s easy to forget the time and end up sitting until the early hours of the morning tapping away on the keyboard. This can have a profound impact on your ability to do the role for a long period of time – burnout is hard to avoid, even if you love your role. If you’re working from home, especially if you don’t have family around that can spot the warning signs, stress, anxiety and depression can creep up on you if you’re not able to down tools at a sensible time.
Is working from home right for you?
Knowing what makes you tick is important when it comes to deciding on a working from home job. If you think you’ve got the motivation it takes to keep you on track – it can be brilliant to adapt your work to fit around life. If motivation and the will to get out of bed are things that frequently escape you, then you might want to think twice!
If any of the cons on here feel like they might impact you, think about ways around them – for some people putting schedules and rewards in place for getting the job done can be enough to permanently develop their attitudes to work as a whole – and being able to adapt your role to family commitments can be a big driving factoring in developing yourself to make sure the role works for you in the long term.