By: Christina Nguyen
In our last blog post, we discussed the advantages to working from home you may not have realized. Working from home can bring quite a few benefits you may or may not have realized, such as some extra “you time”, saving money from eating out, and allowing more control over your environment.In case you missed it, check it out and see why working from home can be a dream for so many people!
Unfortunately, working from home also has its downsides. Whether these downsides outweigh the benefits will depend on your life circumstances, personal preferences, and job duties.
Before you make your decision whether to return to your office or not, let’s talk about a few cons of continuing to work from home:
1. Limited social interaction with others. Zoom, Google Suite, and Slack can only take you so far when it comes to interaction. Their easy-to-use platforms make essential communication easy, including file sharing, screen sharing, and other methods of virtual collaboration.
Even though multiple people can work together on a Google Doc and other shareable collaborative softwares, verbal communication is also necessary. Sure, you can email and instant message, but there are small nuances in social interaction that text can’t completely replace. You could be on a Zoom for hours, but then there’s still the issue of nonverbal cues and technical problems.
Tip: Stay connected with others! Just because you're working from home doesn't mean that you can't meet up with friends for lunch or happy hour!
2. Hampered motivation. Even though we cited stats showing that remote working can lead to improved productivity, that doesn’t mean every individual will automatically become more productive and motivated working at home. Remember, every person works differently.
While the advantages listed in our last blog post may help your coworker be more motivated and productive, they might hurt you. This is especially true if you’re extroverted and are energized by social interactions. Working at home means you won’t be surrounded by the energy of your hard-working coworkers. This can be a little demotivating depending on what moves you.
Tip: Find other ways to get motivated that don’t require a consistent people presence, such as rewarding yourself with new gadgets for doing an amazing job on your project. If you thrive off the energy of others, again, schedule virtual meetups with your friends and attend motivational virtual events!
3. Not-so-optimal environment no matter what. Sure, being at home means you can customize your workspace as weirdly as you want. However, you might be living in a situation where there isn’t much you can do to build an optimal home office. Maybe you’ve got kids running around or a fellow work-from-home partner who’s always on loud calls. Maybe your cat won’t stop walking across your keyboard.
Tip: Have a meaningful discussion with anyone you live with who may be affecting your work. Discuss boundaries and how they can go about their day as much as they can without negatively affecting you. If you inevitably have to cross paths for some reason, try to make those interactions as positive and motivational as possible.
For pets, you might want to look into physical barriers around yourself such as a gate, or ways to distract them away from you.
4. Extra costs. Working from home can definitely save you a lot of gas money and hold you back from going to restaurants with your coworkers. However, some jobs may require a lot of equipment that you’ll have to purchase on your own, such as special webcams. Companies should pay for your business needs, but sometimes they don’t.
Working from your personal computer instead of an office one means if it breaks, you’re fixing it. You won’t get a technically-inclined person rushing over in minutes like you would at the office.
Tip: Have the contact information of good repair techs on hand. Be careful with your equipment -- keep it away from anyone you live with.
5. Possible overwork. One of the reasons why we’d like to head home at 7 PM isn’t just because we’ve completed a satisfactory amount of work, but also because we’d like to eat the food in our own fridge and change into pajamas. But what if you’re already in pajamas eating half your fridge? There isn’t as much of an incentive to stop working.
Tip: Develop a hobby to take your hands and mind off work at the end of the day, such as playing an instrument or going to the gym. Recognize the importance of work-life balance on your mental and physical health.
Whether the pros outweigh the cons should be determined by your own situation, not someone else’s experience. It’s up to you to choose the option that leads to greater productivity, motivation, and overall physical and mental well-being for you.
What difficulties have you encountered working from home? Everyone’s story is different, so let us know what we might have missed in the comments!
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