With the current Corona virus outbreak and recommendations to self-isolate, working from home may become more and more common practice among businesses. As with any change, some find it hard to adopt but some are willing to embrace it and give it a go. Who knows, they might even think it’s fantastic and be more open to flexible working in the future. Let’s be honest, not everyone can work from home though. We still need shop assistants, nurses, doctors and others in customer facing roles. Unfortunately the same people are also the most disadvantaged and in danger of being infected.
For those who are freelancers or self-employed, this is what their Monday to Friday looks like every week. There are a number of reasons why working from home can be a great option for small business owners.
Some people love working from home, including me. I quite enjoy having no one around and getting things done. I am a morning person and love working in the morning and getting things done in the first half of the day. I hate commuting to the office. Especially when I do not live that far from the city and my journey from door to door normally just takes me 35 minutes but with disruptions in the train service, it can take me over an hour or even two hours. Let’s be honest- that is complete waste of time. The time I could spend on getting stuff done. The time I never get back.
Let's look at some of the pros and cons of working from home.
Pros of working from home:
As mentioned before, one of the biggest pros about working from home is no commute to and from work. Personally, I spend at least an hour and half commuting daily and that’s a short commute. On average, it works out 7.5 hours a week which is actually a whole working day. So technically, if we wanted, we could fit in another 7.5 hours work a week or increase our own personal family time.
Flexibility. You can fit your work around your personal life. You can put a washing on when you grab yourself a sandwich or you are having a break. You can pop out for 10 minutes to take your furry friends for a walk or do your shopping online. You can decide to work when you are most productive and when you don’t feel like dressing up, you can work in your pyjamas and no one judges, unless you have a virtual meeting. Then you better put a shirt on.
You can save money. Without commuting to work Monday to Friday, you can save at least $160-200 a month. Not to mention, all these coffees or lunches you have on top of your commute. Plus all the money you spend on work clothes. I spend $40 a week on commute and probably around $30 on coffees and lunches. That will work out $3360 a year. Well, it’s not exactly a big overseas trip but could probably stretch to a week in South East Asia for sure.
Better work-life balance. Some people may find hard to balance their personal lives and working lives and having enough time for both. Working from home may help you find that balance, especially if you can do some personal tasks simultaneously to your work tasks.
Cons of working from home:
As already mentioned, you need a lot of self-discipline to get things done and keep yourself motivated when at home.
It’s hard to separate personal time from work time. Whilst working from home, you should still stick to your normal breaks: take 10-15 min every now and then to just walk away from your desk, get some fresh air, rest your eyes, have a lunch and finish work on time you would normally finish.
It can be lonely- people who are used to being surrounded by people and talking to others around them, may find it isolating and quite hard to adjust to being on their own. You can ring people as you would ring them in the office. Utilise Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime. You can still participate in meetings by using technical solutions and your electronic device.
You lose living space. As much it can be quite good sitting on the sofa with your laptop in your pyjamas, it’s probably not a good idea in long term. You should have a dedicated work space at home or an office space where you can focus on getting things done and feel productive. You should not mix your living area with your work space. Even though hanging around in pyjamas whole day may sound good too, and sometimes you may even do that, it’s probably best to get dressed into somewhat casual Friday outfit that will make you feel like you are actually at work.
Relationships are harder to form. When working from home, it may be harder for you to communicate with your colleagues and build those vital relationships.
As you can see- working from home has some advantages and disadvantages and whether this is for you in long term, depends on the person.
In meanwhile, with the pandemic when everyone is in lock down or self-isolating, this is the way forward.