Here’s the problem employees and managers are facing in the 21st-century workplace.
They don’t know if working from home or the office is best for them.
They want the social atmosphere of a company office, without the restrictive behaviors that come with a work regimen of commuting.
This blog explains the pros and cons of both office types.
See what works best for you.
Working from home
Changes in technology over the last 20 years has allowed for more people to revert back to home office life.
Here are the pros behind why people do it.
Pros of working from home
Save time and money
You save time and money when you exchange your commute from a one-hour car drive, with money spent on gas and possible tolls, to a one-minute commute from bed to your home office.
The average time of an American commute is 29 minutes and costs $2600 a year.
Cities with higher costs of living and larger populations like NYC see longer commute times and pay more.
Earn more money
Working from home allows you to live in a low cost of living area while making a big city salary.
The greater salary also provides for more mobility should you need to relocate your home for a job.
Control your work environment
Do not worry about that person who talks on the phone too loud or comes to work sick during flu season.
You can eliminate distractions all you want because you have control over your own work environment.
The worst thing you may have to deal with is a random package delivery, a barking dog, or a neighbor cutting the lawn.
Extremely casual dress code
Work in your pajamas or a nice shirt. It really does not matter.
When you have video conferences, you can wear something nice from the waist up.
Expand your career globally
A company in Europe is looking to start an office in the USA. You are the person for the job.
You have an office and you can complete tasks for the US market.
One day, if you choose to leave and work in another country you have the connections to make it happen.
Cons of working from home
There are two sides to every coin.
Here are the cons if you decide to work from home.
The expectation of you being on call 24/7
Some days, working from home feels like being a firefighter on duty.
You sleep where you work. You never leave the office, physically, and you are connected via phone.
If the call comes in of an emergency, you have to go back to work. After all, you do not commute.
And you thought working from home gave you more freedom. Now, the company is more demanding of your time than ever before.
The never-ending suspicion that you are not working
People, by human nature alone, have a hard time believing anything they cannot see for themselves.
If you are not at the office you may have a boss who is constantly suspicious of you and if you are working.
When it comes time to present results, there is a general bias against you that you can always do better because you work from home, as if work was somehow easier.
Never leaving the house and not noticing it
You got out of bed and commuted to your job in your pajamas. It only took a minute.
Then, you started working and the next thing you know the sun has set.
Five days later, the weekend hits and you realize, “I have not left the house this week”.
Oddly, the descriptions of “house arrest” and “working from home” sound similar for a reason: You never leave the house and feel like you are not allowed to because of work.
Working at the office
Some people like the regimen of waking up early, picking out clothes, and going to work.
There are rewarding aspects to working in an office that you cannot get at home.
Here are just a few examples.
Pros of working in an office
There are those who enjoy leaving the house and going to an office. Here are many of the reasons why they do it.
Instant feedback and reassurance
Working in an office means getting instant feedback and/or reassurance on anything you have to say.
When communicating face to face we can all make assessments as to how our words are being received.
In addition, you improve your interpersonal skills and get a better understanding of what makes people tick.
Building a strong social network
“Friends” or “connections” through social media platforms are one thing.
The relationships you make in-person are stronger, more trustworthy, and provide longevity of a business relationship.
Although connecting with people online is great, the strongest members of your social network will always be those you shared a work office with.
Motivating opportunities for career growth and new experience
Everyone learns something from the co-workers sitting next to them and the bosses who managed them to success.
Career growth and new experiences are offered by simply being around people who are making things happen and listening to them talk.
A boss may walk by and ask, “Can you help me with this project?” This is an opportunity you only get while being in the office.
Learning the true meaning of a “team environment”
How much fun would sports be to watch if everyone worked from home?
The challenge every company with remote workers faces is maintaining that “team environment”.
Companies still working the traditional business model of having the whole team at the office know it is easier to create a strong team when everyone is in the same location.
It makes work almost feel like a game or sport and can be very motivating to experience.
Cons of working in an office
This is is the downside of office life. Anyone who has made the switch from business to home office most likely did so for the following reasons.
Commutes figuratively and literally stink.
Unless you live close to your office, chances are you sit in traffic, ride a bus or train, and spend lots of time and money on getting to work.
There is pollution, fees, tolls, gas, traffic, and stress that make getting to work a task many would like to ignore.
The cost of commuting in major US cities can range anywhere from $87 USD (San Francisco) to $118 USD (New York City) on a monthly basis!
Falling into a routine
Some people enjoy being creatures of habit. However, the world changes so fast today that the word “routine” should strike fear into people’s minds.
When you fall into a routine you are less likely to break from it, unless something bad happens like getting laid off or fired.
If you are too comfortable in your routine now, you are doing very little to prepare yourself for future changes.
Whatever you think is the best place to work, one thing is certain: Everything changes.
Be prepared for anything.
Company leadership may decide to change where you will work if they find workers are not being productive or the company wants to try something new.