After a whirlwind two years in a global pandemic, things are slowly getting back to “normal”. Countries have reopened their borders to visitors, social events and gatherings are back on the calendar, you can walk around unmasked and you can make your way back to the office. But the latter is not one that people are jumping to get back into. For most people, working from home is their new normal, with some choosing to resign or take lower pay in lieu of returning to the office. We’re laying the pros and cons of each working solution to help you decide if you should continue working from home or return to the office.
Working From Home
Working remotely was growing in popularity at the start of the pandemic. Today, more jobs and companies have adapted to these options and it’s becoming the preferred option for many.
The Benefits of Working From Home
- No commute
Your home-office commute is now shortened from your bedroom to your home office. You save hours on travel and money spent on fuel. With global rising fuel costs, every cent counts.
- Flexible work schedule
Lucky employees can work flexibly if their contracted hours are met, and their tasks and deadlines are complete. This allows one to develop a health work-life balance which greatly impacts your overall well being. What makes working from home more appealing is that now you can be your own boss and make a good living.
- Increased productivity
Many individuals have found that they are more productive at home than at the office. In some cases, this is done to prove that they are as productive at home as they are in the office. Risk of lower output would force a move back to the office.
- Communication skills
Emails, meetings and chats have to be direct, clear and defined in order to limit miscommunication. Developing effective communication skills, both written and verbal improves relations and does not poorly affect your team’s output.
A useful work from home guide with few tips and tricks on how to make this transition seamless is what you need. These tools help you rethink and change your daily lives to make working from home work.
The Disadvantages of Working From Home
- Technical issues
If anything breaks, you either must call out a technician to fix it or drive to the office for your tech team to look at it. This can be costly and take up time driving to the office and back and as a result, losing working hours.
- Domestic distractions
A quick nip to the shops, another hour at the bank. Cleaning, laundry, watching the kids, taking out the garbage and a million other tasks that suddenly demand your attention during your working hours.
- Limited socialisation
You’re limited to talking with your teammates on Teams or in Zoom calls. There are no more face-to-face conversations as when in the office.
You need to discipline yourself to know that work time is just that, work time and not time to do everything else you didn’t find time to at the weekend. Your productivity will be monitored by your managers and thus, maintaining your office hours at home needs to be kept as well as possible to meet goals and deadlines.
The truth is, working from home requires discipline and willpower to not get distracted by the errands, chores and domestic tasks you’re faced with when you move from room to room. It’s very easy to put in a load of laundry when you should be finishing that task. Knowing when to work and when to ‘be at home’ is key so that the two don’t bleed into each other. Our time management course is a great way to learn how to manage your time and meet your respective goals.
Working From The Office
If you find yourself struggling with staying focused at home, then you may be part of the crowd that prefers working from the office. It has its own set of pros and cons and essential soft skills to master the workplace.
The Benefits of Working From The Office
- Defined work hours
You know what time you knock on and off at the office and when you close your laptop, you’re mostly done for the day. Working from home isn’t always as clear cut as this is.
- Access to technical support and equipment
Unless you’re an IT guru, when your computer or laptop or connectivity goes down, the IT team is on hand to fix it – at no call-out cost to you. You could also get access to a replacement laptop which means no downtime and work can continue without too much hassle.
- Less distractions
All you have in front of you is your work and no pets that need walking, children that need to be monitored or dishes in the sink that need to be washed. When all you have to focus on is work, your task list can get whittled down much quicker.
You can engage with your colleagues at the water cooler, have robust discussions about everything under the sun, meet new people and connect with other associates you wouldn’t necessarily get the opportunity to in person.
The Disadvantages Of Working From The Office
Working from the office does pose its fair set of challenges. Most jobs are online and can be done with a laptop and secure internet connection. At the office, you have to deal with office politics, where to park and a host of other issues that become frustrating over time.
- Lack of balance
Workplace pressures, stresses and demands can place a lot on your mental health. Spend a few minutes to take our mental wellbeing assessment and find out how you’re coping with the various demands from work and home.
- Less time with family
You spend a lot of time commuting to and from the office. When you finally get home, you have a ton of chores to do and maybe spend another or two completing work tasks.
- Dress code
Some jobs require their employees to keep to a strict dress code. Many people have now gotten used to more comfortable and less restricted attire in their home office. You just have to remember to switch your gown for a formal jacket in those video conferences.
- Sedentary lifestyle from sitting all day
Sitting for 8 hours at your desk is not conducive to healthy living. At home, you can get closer to your 10 000 daily steps walking from room to room in your house.
- Costs of commute
You wake up a bit earlier. You may spend a significant amount of time in traffic. Petrol and diesel costs are high and the resulting carbon emissions have a negative impact on the air.
Some personalities thrive and are more productive in an office environment than when working from home. If you aren’t sure which working environment is best suited for you, take our Workplace Personality Assessment. This will also recommend suitable courses to help strengthen your weak areas and guide you on skills you can improve on.
There are strong arguments to working from home and working from the office. Each has its own set of pros and cons. If home is where the heart is, a few small changes will take your career even higher. Wherever you choose to work, be sure to equip yourself with the necessary skills and support to succeed and excel.