There’s been a lot written in the past few years – and increasingly so since the Covid-19 pandemic – on the pros and cons of working from home, and to be honest what is a con to one person is a pro to another, and vice versa. Like so many things in this new world we find ourselves in, communication, empathy and flexibility are what is needed for success. We are increasingly seeing flexibility (work from home options, work hour options etc) as a key discriminator for candidates looking for roles, and we expect this to continue well into the future.
There’s no doubt enforced lockdowns caused all of us to rethink how we work, when we work and where we work. In the last few months, we have seen a settling down and rhythm start to set in, and increasingly companies are adopting the hybrid model. A few days at home, a few days at work. This has massive advantages for both the employer and the employee, eliminating many of the cons associated with working from home and maximizing the pros.
Below we have outlined some of the pros and cons we see from working from home.
- Better mornings
I think Aucklanders in particular can relate to this one! No more setting the alarm and eating breakfast in the car! Commute time turns into potentially exercise/mindful time, or time to get some personal tasks out of the way.This leads to a more relaxed start to the day, making your whole day more positive – increased clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.
- Less distractions
One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. You are more visible to colleagues and they are more likely to engage with you, whether it is truly necessary or not.Well-disciplined working from home allows you to shut out the rest of the world for quiet focused work. Closing down messaging services like Slack and Email is all you need to do to avoid the risk of being disturbed. This causes productivity to increase, and therefore the amount of time needed to perform the work decreases allowing us more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends, as well as improve our mental health.
- More control over your day and environment
When in the office it is all too easy to be pulled onto a project or piece of work that was not part of your plan. Working from home means bosses and colleagues are not disrupting your scheduled tasks for the day.There is also control over where you work, you might choose somewhere with lots of natural light to stimulate the mind. No fights over aircon temps!!
For some people creating a very personal and excellent working environment really helps with job satisfaction, when you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably produce better work.
- More time to spend with family
With the many hours saved on commuting and attending ‘non-essential’ meetings, idle chit chat etc, there is simply more time in the day. Particularly for parents of small children this can literally be life changing. Attending local school events suddenly becomes easy, whereas when you are in the office this can seem like an impossible task.It is not just those with family that benefit, there is more time for extra-curricular activity and with the increase in people working from home, so too has the uptake of hobbies and cooking increased as people find more balance in their lives.
- We move a lot less
It’s not all about sitting in cars, when we commute there is generally walking involved on either side, we also walk for lunch, meetings and other breaks. Walking to the refrigerator doesn’t count!!
Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to, potentially sitting in the same place for too long stifling creativity and productivity.
- Less human interaction
A huge benefit of being on the office is the camaraderie and relationships with your co-workers. These are built up over time, from multiple interactions and via cues that are often missed over a Zoom call. This is particularly distressing if you used to work in the office and now you don’t, this can cause a real feeling of loss.We’re a social bunch, even those of us who think we are not! We need to be with other people, at least some of the time. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.
While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.
- The cost of Buying Home Office Equipment
A lot of companies assume a laptop is all you need to work from home so a full office set up can prove to be expensive for many people, or they need to make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs and a setup that isn’t comfortable for an 8-hour day.
Kids sitting on knees during Zoom calls? Dogs barking? These are all distractions we don’t get in the office. While for many parents working from home gives them the flexibility of spending more time with their children, such as being able to watch cross country at lunch, but when deadlines are due, it can be difficult to separate and get away from household noise and demands of the family.These are just a few of the MANY pros and cons of working from home. We expect to see the hybrid model being adopted by more and more companies and a continued rise of shared working spaces. If you are given the choice to consider working from home permanently, or you are thinking of introducing it for your employees be sure to think through each of the pros and cons to ensure it is right for you and or your staff. Remote work has clear benefits, but as you can see above, nothing is very straight forward and understanding the good and the bad can go a long way to getting it right.