Working from home has much to recommend it but every silver lining has a dark cloud.
The only reason I can indulge in such mucking about is because I work from home. A home office has much to recommend it BUT every silver lining has a dark cloud. Let me walk you through the pros and cons:
NO COMMUTING REQUIRED
This is one of the purely positive aspects of working from home. Regardless of the traffic or the weather, getting to the office may involve only a leisurely one-minute stroll past the wardrobe.
As you get older this perk becomes slightly less attractive. However, workdays spent in bare feet and pajamas or a sarong has a perennial appeal. It’s comfier and less costly than kitting yourself out in proper office attire.
It’s great to be able to work only when you feel inspired and motivated. As long as you don’t mind working all night, you can spend your days at the movies or having coffee with friends. The downside is that when you hit the perspiration and teeth-gritting stage of a job, there is no one there to browbeat, shame you or otherwise compel you to keep your unwilling nose to the grindstone. See also: You Are the Boss
YOUR OFFICE IS YOUR HOME
Logically, if your office is in your home, then your home is in your office. The first drawback of such an arrangement is the risk of social isolation. In Japan, young people who sequester themselves in their rooms for 6 months or longer and have no social life beyond the home, are called hikikomori.
We haven’t coined a word in English to describe the person who has lost contact with real life because they live and work at home, but it’s only a matter of time.
If you go out to work, you have eight hours in which to forget that the house is cluttered with overdue library books, unwashed dishes, unmade beds, un-vacuumed carpets, un-watered plants and un-walked dogs. Working from home you get no such respite especially if you are the distractible type. Weeding the garden or cleaning the bathroom can be a whole lot more appealing than doing the work that actually keeps the home & office roof over your head. See also: Flexible Work Hours
Every day is Bring Your Dog to Work Day if you work from home. A dog in the office makes the clicking of a solitary keyboard sound less lonesome. When work is going badly a dog will listen uncomplainingly to your mutterings and carryings on. The only drawback, if your dog has any thespian talent, is the harrowing canine appeals for another walk or doggy chew.
THE KITCHEN NEVER CLOSES
The good thing about the home office is the complete absence of instant coffee, dusty teabags, Vanilla Wine biscuits or signs Sellotaped above the sink which read WASH YOUR CUPS! THIS MEANS YOU! The tea is always Mr Dilmah’s finest, the coffee is real and there’s a plunger or espresso pot to brew it in. If you’re peckish or just bored the fridge is only a metre or two away from your desk. And that, of course presents one of the great challenges of working at home: how to balance calorific intake with frequency and duration of dog walks. See also:Pet Friendly.
ABSENCE OF CO-WORKERS
The average workplace is a mash-up of people selected for specific skills, not for their compatibility. Working alone means you don’t have to get along with a random collection of neurotic, incompetent, nit-picking or merely boring colleagues. You only have to get along with yourself. This can, of course be just as hellish. If you end up quarrelling with yourself, there’ll be no one around to commiserate with you over a cup of (instant) coffee, talk you out of an ill-considered act of sabotage or proof-read your desperate application for a new job.
The other drawback to working from home is the lack of staff. You have to be your own receptionist, administrator and office cleaner and you also run the I.T. help desk, and the marketing and accounting departments. Qualified or not.
YOU ARE THE BOSS
This should be one of the biggest advantages of working for yourself. Being your own boss means you’re not pressured to work harder and faster by someone who despite their incompetence, has a bigger office, a bigger salary and a better car than you do. You are unmolested by management meetings, performance reviews, or the office sociopath. It’s a relief not to have to obey senseless policies and procedures or pretend to believe in the company’s Mission Statement or that you are part of a “friendly, knowledgeable and professional” team.
However, it also means that your boss (A.K.A. you) may be just as erratic, unreasonable and deluded as any other boss you’ve suffered under. And this boss lives with you.