Monday, March 14, 2011

Working From Home vs. At The Office

Since leaving my Capitol Hill job at the end of last year, I’ve become quite familiar with the strange new world of working from home. When it comes to working in this way, I know opinions are generally mixed. Some people hate it, and some people love it. Others simply have a lot of misconceptions about what working from home really entails.

And I can tell you, after a couple months of doing it, I am definitely in the “love” group, though that’s not to say it isn’t without its downsides at times. Here, in my opinion, are the top pros and cons of working from home.

Pro

• Space and privacy. Though I had my own private office on Capitol Hill, that didn’t stop people from walking in unannounced, catching me as I was headed out the door, and so on. Working from home allows me the space I need to be as efficient as possible, prioritizing as I see fit, with fewer distractions.

• No commute. When I worked on the Hill, I had to get up a full two hours before my start time to get ready and commute by Metro each day. Working from home, I’m able to easily stay in one place, no suit or perfect hairstyle required.

• More freedom. Working from home allows me to set up my office in any way I choose, and to schedule breaks as I find it necessary and appropriate. If I need to run a quick errand at lunchtime or stop at 4 p.m. to make it to class on time, I can. Working from home allows me to make basic adjustments to my schedule in this way, as long as I am still taking care of everything I need to.


Con

• While working from home allows me to tweak my schedule now and then, it also makes it harder to set limits on hours. It’s very easy to spend all of my time at the computer, literally working around the clock. I regularly have to remind myself that I still need to take breaks and set clear parameters between work time, classwork time, time with my husband, and so on. Working from home can definitely blur some of these boundaries.

• Less interaction and exercise. As much as I love my kitties who keep me company each day, I do at times miss being able to head down the hall to chit chat with coworkers or get their opinions about something. Physical activity is another issue, since I don't move around or walk as much throughout the day anymore.

• The misconception many people have that those of us who work from home somehow aren’t really “working,” like in the picture of Homer up above. This honestly drives me nuts. Trust me, when I say I am working from home, I honestly mean I am working, often including long hours and a hectic schedule, just like anyone else. Working from home definitely does not mean kicking back, watching daytime TV and being lazy! After all, I’ve got a blog to manage, brides to help, classes to pass and volunteer work to be done!

What do you think about working from home vs. working at the office? Which do you think you’d prefer, and why?

(Graphic Credit: scrapetv.com)

11 comments:

  1. I would love to work from home in fact I am toying with the idea of home daycare while our baby is young

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  2. I would never be able to do my full-time job from home, but I would love a part-time to do that way!

    As for the exercise - allow me to recommend wearing a pedometer. Wear it for a week without doing anything different, and see how far you are walking. Then make a goal. If you currently walk 1.5 miles in a day, try for 3. You'd be amazed at how conscious of your activity you become when it's being logged for you!

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  3. LOVE working at home!! I now also have a part-time outside of the house which is nice too. But LOVE the fact when I just work from home I don't have to get out in the cold :D

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  4. Working from home isn't really an option for me - though I do it occasionally when I have to work over the weekends. For some reason, I just can't focus in my apartment, but suspect that I would figure it out if I tried to do it more regularly. I have a lot of friends that work from home and definitely understand that it's not like a "day off."

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  5. On the days I've had to work from home due to snow or because I wasn't feeling well I find I'm very productive given that I can only check emails from home and don't have access to our whole network. I would love to work from home maybe 2 or 3 days a week to help save gas and stuff since my commute sucks but I would miss the interaction with my coworkers so I would still like to come into the office a couple days a week.

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  6. Working from home isn't easy (distractions and like you said possibility of working longer) but still a great option.

    xoxo,
    Chic 'n Cheap Living

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  7. With my last job, I was able to work from home a few days per week. I mostly loved it, but agree that it blurred the boundaries of home and work life. I also missed the social interaction. Working from home allowed me to be much more productive overall, though. Now, if I'm at work and finish up early, I'm still chained to my desk. Whereas, if I were at home, I could run errands, work out, do chores, etc. I really hope that once we have kids, I can either be self-employed or in a job that allows me to work from home.

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  8. i so agree on the limitless hours!! it's so hard to close up shop sometimes when you're working from home!

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  9. very interesting. I don't work from home, but I do want to. I think I would have the exact same pros and cons list...I get easily distracted when I'm home "I should dust...oh there are dishes in the sink" but if I was set out to actually really work from home. I would make sure to set boundaries and goals for myself so that wouldn't happen. I do hope to work from hope esp. when we have children.

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  10. Great post and I agree with all of your Pros and Cons. I def need to set limits on how much time I spend on the computer, sometimes I get lost and loose track of time. But on the weekends I make sure to step away from the computer! :)

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  11. i would love to work from home, but know that a schedule must be in place and followed, and i must take time to go outside and have interactions. but the opportunity to work at home would be great :)

    great post!

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