The pros and cons of working from home
Here's how to decide whether working from home will work for you.
Over the past few years, many organizations have begun to allow their staff members to work out of their homes. With recent advances in technology, including the Web, email, intranets, modems, cheaper fax machines and voice mail, some people rarely go into the main office anymore. Working out of your home is a mixed blessing, though. There are certain benefits that any worker would love. If you are facing a decision of whether or not to take a job with a 10-second commute, take a look at a few pros and cons of working from home.
- You are free to do as you please.
- There is no commute.
- You can work in shorts and a T-shirt.
- No one looks over your shoulder.
- You can write off a small portion of your home office expenses on your taxes.
- Your employer usually compensates you for incidental expenses.
- If you are married or have children at home, this type of work situation could be especially convenient for you.
- It takes a phenomenal amount of self-discipline to start work when you know you don't have to be at the office by 8 a.m.
- You are the only person around all day, so there is no outside pressure to be busy.
- You must be entirely self-motivated.
- You miss out on the camaraderie that stems from working with others day after day.
- There are no coworkers to go to lunch with.
- You can never escape the office and go home, because you are already there.
- Working from home can be messy and can take up an entire spare room in your home.
- You don't get face time with your coworkers, so it is more difficult to find out about new projects you might be interested in.
- The boss can't see that you are working hard or putting in extra hours, so you are judged more on the numbers than your work ethic and other intangible factors.
- There is a danger of putting in too many hours or overworking. As improbable as this might sound, imagine that it's 11 p.m. and you suddenly have a panic attack about work. It's all too easy to go into your home office and work until 1 a.m.
Tips for Working at Home
Working out of your home can be a great solution for certain people. I have worked in an office and in my own study, and I think it takes special discipline to work at home. You need to ask yourself, "Does this work style fit in with what I want and how I am most effective?"
If you do work out of your home, it is important to remember:
- Maintain a presence at the main office. Report in often and let your boss know you are alive and productive.
- Treat your study (or wherever you work) like a real office. Close the door at 6 p.m. and don't open it until you are beginning work the next morning.
- Get dressed as you would for work and be consistent with your hours. Act like you are at the office and not at home, and you stand a good chance of actually being productive.