The Pros and Cons of Working Remotely
There was a time not so long ago when we all dreamed of working remotely. Having time in the morning to enjoy breakfast and a hot coffee or tea. Catching up on the news before making the “commute” to the laptop in the corner. The option to work in sweatpants or pajamas.
In 2020, millions of Americans were granted their wish thanks to pandemic-related lockdowns. Eventually – and sometimes quickly – those same Americans found out that there are pros to working from home, but there are also drawbacks. We talked to the team here at The Advance Group to find out what they like most (and least) about working from home, and what this can mean for your business moving forward.
The Advantages of Working Remotely
Working from home has its advantages, and the Advance team was quick to share what they love most about working remotely:
- Flexibility to take care of appointments and errands
- Fewer interruptions from co-workers
- No commute
Niki said, “I feel like I get more done. I have fewer interruptions throughout the day from other people…the ability to work from home and save money on gas and save time on the commute is really an added bonus and something I consider as part of a great benefits/salary package.”
Tara is also pleased by the lack of commute. “I enjoy eliminating the commute, especially in the winter months, during poor weather conditions. I’m enjoying more casual attire. Also, there are far fewer interruptions and distractions,” she told us.
Tyler was pleasantly surprised by working from home, noting, “When I first transitioned to working from home, I thought there would be more challenges like communication issues because I’m not face-to-face with coworkers and because of the distractions that naturally come from working from home. In an effort to limit those challenges, I have set up a comfortable workstation and set boundaries with my family, so they know that while I am working, I need to stay focused on my work.”
Working from home has also agreed with Bill. “My productivity has increased significantly since I have been allowed to work from home,” he told us. “The office is filled with distractions, including random people looking for “15 minutes of your time.”
Alayna told us, “As an outside salesperson, it’s definitely been an interesting transition, and although I miss seeing clients and coworkers, I love working remotely. The time saved on commuting, the ability to do chores on my lunch break, and having only myself as a distraction has been great! The pros and cons will be different for everyone but offering remote work when possible is just another way for companies to attract and keep the talent they need.”
Linda offered some advice for using your lack of commute wisely, “For me, being organized and having a comfortable, dedicated workspace with little to no distractions is key! I also take advantage of not having a commute by doing some form of self-care in the morning. Sometimes that is actually just sleeping in a bit, sometimes a workout, sometimes journaling, sometimes yoga or a meditation video. Take advantage of the extra time that you are gifted.”
Stacey reminds us that remote work success is really about being self-motivated. “My experience working from home is that you have to have a dedicated workspace in a ‘distraction-free zone,’” she said. “You also need to know when to say when. Having a home office will allow you to close the door at the end of the day, but it can be hard to ‘turn off.’ I believe you have to be disciplined, a self-starter and a problem solver. Learn how to step away and recharge to avoid burnout and know when to ask for help.”
The Cons of Working Remotely
Remote work isn’t always a walk in the park. As with anything, it has its drawbacks, and we asked our team about those, as well.
- No physical separation between work and leisure time
- Getting a change of scenery takes a great deal of effort.
- Difficult to remember to get up and move
Niki told us, “One of the cons from working from home is that sometimes I get so focused on getting tasks done that I forget to get up and move around throughout the day…I need to try to remind myself to get up and take a stretch break every so often.”
While Tara doesn’t miss distractions, she does note that as a salesperson, working from home makes her miss other people. “The lack of interaction gets lonely and feels isolating. Everyone is busy, but the positive interactions are lacking,” she said.
And What About Hybrid Schedules?
Hybrid schedules can provide the best of both worlds. Time to work from home and time to come into the office and separate work from home life and see other human beings. But that, too, can come with challenges.
Heather offered this advice to people juggling a hybrid schedule, “I love the balance that the hybrid schedule offers with time in the office and remote. The most important thing for me is to keep my morning schedule the same regardless of work location. This allows me to have extra time to get on a little early or do a quick chore in the morning when working remotely. On the other hand, I’m not stressed out and chasing the clock on days that I need the drive time to commute to the office. A hybrid schedule also means that you need to be organized. It’s important to have a routine to make sure that nothing gets left behind, either at the office or home.”
Can Remote Work Help You Attract Talent?
While there are some drawbacks to working from home, it’s clear from our small survey that the pros far outweigh the cons. Many people are used to working from home now. They’ve developed good habits and have fallen into routines that work for them, and as they look for new job opportunities, they will seek out companies that allow remote work or, at a minimum, offer hybrid telecommuting options.