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Pros and Cons of Working from Home

Go Back to Course Outline I. Introduction Hello World. Back in 2011, I am on a successful corporate career but I feel like I’m losing...

Go Back to Course Outline

I. Introduction

Hello World. Back in 2011, I am on a successful corporate career but I feel like I’m losing a lot of time, commuting to the office would often take more than an hour even though it’s relatively near. It really sucks the energy out of my body and all I could do at home was asleep. It was then when I received a life-changing call, a chance to work at home and the most notable proposition was that I can work wearing only my underwear. It was funny, but it summarizes the opportunity. And to make a long story short, I grab it.

In this article, I will share the pros and cons of working at home that I experienced throughout my career. I hope that these experiences would be of help especially to those who are contemplating to walk on the same path.

II. Let’s start with the pros of working from home

  1. No commute, no transportation expenses
    1. This is one of the major considerations of why I chose to work at home. I really hate commuting because a lot of things could go wrong like getting stuck in traffic, improper behavior from co-passengers, pollution, and reckless driving. Add the fact that the always increasing transportation fare and it’s not hard to imagine why you would want to commute.
  2. Extra time to study and spend time with family
    1. Working at home definitely allows me to earn extra time that I was able to spend on something worthwhile like learning new technologies, making myself relevant and making courses like this. 
  3. Flexibility to take care of urgent errands
    1. In my case, we are paid on a per hour basis sometimes even per deliverables so as long as I can deliver my commitments I can spend some time on urgent matters like emergency repairs at home due to natural calamity.
  4. No dress code
    1. I graduated from the University of the Philippines where there is no dress code, so I’m not really a fan of wearing long sleeves, slacks, and black shoes. So working at home makes me feel natural and increases my focus.
  5. No boss, no colleagues
    1. I have no boss or colleagues around so I am able to create my own workflow and work on my tickets or tasks in the most efficient way. And I’m able to improve this process day after day.
  6. Few interruptions
    1. When working at home, I’m in my own world and my level of focus is really high. Just make sure to be aware of the time and know when to take breaks.
  7. You can create a workflow that works for you
    1. Don’t just randomly work on your tasks. Make sure to create a workflow that will help you efficiently finish them. If you think that it’s not working then do some adjustments. For example, I’m working on a 3 mini scrum process per day where I will first take a look at the problem, work on an algorithm on how to solve it and finally the implementation. Sometimes the first scrum is all about taking a look at the problem, the second is implementation and if I’m able to finish it the last scrum would be testing.
  8. Easy to control distractions
    1. In the office, there are many things that are beyond our control like uncooperative team-mates. But at home, you can adapt everything according to your preference to make you focus more on work. For example, I bought a noise canceller headphones to eliminate all the noise altogether.
  9. Less stress because you can take a break anytime
    1. While I do have a daily schedule, there will be days when I just don’t feel like working in the morning and would prefer to do something else like traditional or digital painting to relax my mind. With this, I’m able to lessen the pressure and look at the problem differently a second time.
  10. Easy to find work/life balance
    1. As I mentioned in the previous item, everything is adaptable when working at home. It all depends on you and the effort you are willing to give to attain a work/life balance. It’s very important to stay organized and committed so as to avoid making things complicated at work.
  11. Comfortable
    1. It will need some effort but since it’s your house you can definitely do anything you want to make you feel comfortable. My workplace is a representation of me so it’s full of things that I care about and it’s always pleasing to the eyes when you see them all the time.
  12. Good food selection
    1. Working at home will give you some extra time and for me, I allocate some to buying fresh foods in the market. My choice which I think are healthy are vegetables, fish, beef and fruit. So a little effort can go a long way. Now hire a chef to do the cooking :-)
  13. Workouts, good health
    1. Make sure to stay healthy so make sure to add exercise to your morning routine. Because believe me once you sit in your chair, it’s impossible to do an exercise. And since we work indoors it would help if you can allocate some funds to buy a treadmill.
  14. Tax (freelance)
    1. Freelance tax is lower compared to the tax that you will pay when you are working in a corporate company.
  15. Autonomy
    1. You can approach the tasks any way you want as long as you can deliver, but make sure to stay committed and create a culture where you deliver on time.
  16. Can start part-time
    1. This is the good thing about working at home. You don’t have to risk it all at the beginning. Before I started to commit to full-time work I have accepted several part-time jobs that let me gauge whether this thing is right for me. And of course, you can choose the job that you feel will be beneficial to your future career.
Make sure to take notes of those pros so you can compare them to the cons which we will be discussing next.

III. Let’s start with the cons when working from home

  1. No physical separation between work and personal life
    1. Since your working at home, it’s obvious that your personal life will get in the way. Sometimes your wife will call you when you are in deep focus or perhaps an unexpected visitor will show up. A lot of things could get in the way so it’s really important to let everyone know when you are available.
  2. Higher probability of miscommunication
    1. Without facial expression sometimes we are in the dark as to what our colleagues really mean at the other end of the line. So make sure that everything is clear before you start working on your task.
  3. An effort for a change of scenery
    1. There will be times when you are at home 24/7 and I’ll tell you the boredom can get a fever pitch level and that will lead you to unplanned getaway. So make sure that you have a place to go when this happens. Have a list of places where you can work and where you can relax completely.
  4. Hard to shift from work to relax, work take over your life
    1. This is really hard because you are on your own no colleagues who stop working at 5 PM. There will be times when you will be working for more than 10hours a day and bring the work thoughts even in your bed. This is a serious problem, especially when it becomes a habit. So make sure to accept tasks that you know you can deliver without getting pressured. One thing that works for me, is taking a hot bath at night. It really helps in the relaxation process.
  5. Need effort to communicate, no facial expression
    1. When you become a capable worker, sometimes you have a tendency to forget that you have colleagues/clients on the other end of the line that could help you solve your problem in a short time.
  6. A lot of self-discipline getting-up, working and focus
    1. This is an issue even for a corporate employee what more to a remote worker. Don’t make it a habit to stay at night just to play games or watch movies. Remember, you will still be working at home tomorrow and you have some extra time.
  7. Loneliness, no human interaction
    1. Humans are sociable creatures, even for the introverted ones a small group with the same interests definitely provides inspiration. So go out and join some local communities or online groups would be a good place to start.
  8. You lose extra house space
    1. Nothing can be done. Just make sure that you have enough space to focus on your work and away from distraction.
  9. Hard to form relationships
    1. Since you will be mostly at home the chance of interacting with others will be lower and this is not good when you are just building your career or if you want to work on your own project or company in the future because you definitely will need connections. So spare extra effort to form relationships.
  10. You have to learn all by yourself
    1. There is minimal or no ad-hoc learning at all. No colleagues beside you to help. This is why a remote worker is always creative when working on a task.
  11. You have to buy your own equipment
    1. More often your client will not provide the equipment necessary for you to work at home. So before committing to remote work, make sure that you have enough savings to buy your own equipment. Often, these are a full computer set, headphones, and printer if necessary.
  12. Distractions
    1. Remember at home, you have your TV, games, pets, hobbies and everything personal that can get in the way of your work. That is why a place dedicated to work is very important. Imagine working in your sala set where the TV is on, is that even possible?
  13. Less productivity, no pressure
    1. This is often true for repetitive work such as typing where your body gets accustomed to the action that you need to perform.  More action and less thinking. This is why I suggest that you start with a simple task like typing and maybe work on becoming a VA familiarizing yourself with the different tasks that are often associated with it like appointment setter, email manager, and presentation maker.
  14. Unhealthy lifestyle
    1. Staying up late, which results in waking up late. Eating junk, sweet foods or whatever you like without control. Sitting the whole day. See a lot could go wrong when working at home. That’s why discipline is very important.
  15. Less collaboration
    1. Since you will be working on your own tasks and on your own at home, the idea of collaboration can sometimes become non-existent.
If you really wanna work from home make sure to at least be aware of the following.
  1. You have to have a lot of self-discipline.
  2. You should be organized and structured.
  3. You must have great time management skills.
  4. You should be able to work on your own with minimal or no supervision at all.
  5. You should be able to stay on focus, relax and must know how to avoid distractions all the time
Do you work from home? Are you a remote worker? Share your struggles while working from home in the comment section of this article.

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