Pros and Cons of Working from Home
By now, you’ve probably started your summer internship, and as the days tick by, you’re settling into a remote rhythm. You log on in the morning, shoot everyone a quick “Hello!” on Slack, and check your calendar for Zoom meetings. Even though you can’t chat with colleagues around the water cooler, you’re meeting new people and learning new skills.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen millions of Americans shift to work-from-home arrangements, and in the months and years ahead, a lot of jobs are likely to stay remote. For many of you, this may be your first work experience ever … and you’re not setting foot in an office. And while virtual jobs can be hugely fulfilling, they’re also pretty different from IRL jobs.
You might be wondering, “What exactly are the differences between an in-person job versus a remote one? And which is better?” While there’s no single answer to those questions, we’re here to walk you through the pros and cons of working from home.
Pros of working from home
- Flexibility. When you work from home, you can roll out of bed five minutes before a meeting. You can take a one-month vacation and work from your rental house. You can sign for a package whenever it’s delivered, and dash to an appointment at your convenience. Sure, you’ll still have meetings and deadlines, but you’ll have a lot more control over your own schedule. When you work from an office, once you’re there … you’re there.
- Fewer interruptions. You’re in the zone, furiously typing away, when your coworker taps you on the shoulder. They have a question, and it can’t wait. This happens a lot in the office, and while someone can always send you 20 Slack messages in rapid succession, you can always mute your notifications. As long as you’re self-motivated, working remotely may increase your productivity significantly.
- More time. The average US commute is almost 30 minutes one way. No commute means more hours in the day—so try not to sleep them away!
- More money. Not paying for public transit, gas, lunches, and/or doggie daycare is a big perk of working from home.
Cons of working from home
- More distractions. There are no overly chatty coworkers at home, but there is your laundry. And your video game system. And that recipe you’ve been wanting to try. When you work from home, work and home life are one, and all your leisure-time distractions are in front of you all day long. At an office, you simply can’t wander off and do something else, so it’s easier to focus on what’s in front of you.
- No work-life divide. You can’t leave work at work when you work from home. Working 9–5 can be tough when you work remotely. The workday ends, but you’re still at work, so … maybe you should keep working? In some ways, it’s easier to maintain a work-life balance when you work in an office. That’s why we suggest setting aside a designated workspace at home if at all possible.
- Social isolation. One great thing about being in an office is making friends. You see people five days a week, and over time, you get close. You can still make friends with colleagues when you work from home, but it requires a lot more effort. To avoid getting lonely, be sure to connect with your colleagues throughout the day and schedule the occasional virtual coffee date.
- Communication can be challenging. While you can always schedule a video call, you can’t tap a colleague on the shoulder with a question or clarification—and that means a lot of text and email communication. People can easily misinterpret emails, so remote workers learn to overcommunicate.