Pros and Cons of Working from Home (From Someone Who Is WFH)

Prior to 2020, remote work was like a unicorn in the corporate world—rare and almost mythical. If you were lucky enough to snag one day a week to work from home, you were living the dream. Fast forward to today, and remote work has become a standard option for many professionals. Today, 40% of the workforce engages in some form of remote work, and this number is only expected to grow annually.

Working from home has a lot of perks for employees: flexibility, cost savings, and increased productivity associated with working from home have made it an attractive choice for both employers and employees. However, this shift has also brought about challenges such as isolation, distractions, and the struggle to maintain a work-life balance.

To help you fully understand the pros and cons, who better to turn to than someone with over five years of experience working from home: me— Katie Duncan, the content manager here at JobSage! Typically, my experiences don’t take center stage in JobSage blogs. But with half a decade of WFH in both freelance and full-time positions under my belt, I felt I could offer some first-hand expertise.

Advantages of working from home

Ready to secretly wear your pajama pants all day? Here are some of the benefits that I (and many other WFHers) love about working from home. 

1. No commute

Cutting out the dreaded morning and afternoon commute puts valuable time back into your hands to do things that you love.

2. Fewer expenses

Eliminating your daily commute to work saves more than time; it also saves you money that you’d spend on fuel, car maintenance, or public transportation. Additionally, working from home can help you cut costs in other categories like work apparel or lunches at the nearest sandwich shop.

3. Location independence

Location independence is a major benefit to remote work. Whether you have lofty goals to explore national parks and new countries or would simply like to work from a different coffee shop every week, remote work options enable you to do this.

Note: Before you start planning a globe-trekking journey, always be sure to double-check your employer’s remote guidelines. Some workplaces stipulate that you must reside within your state or country due to scheduling or tax implications. 

4. Streamlined communication

Tired of days filled with meetings that could have been a few emails? Many people find that when work is flexible and remote, communication is streamlined between coworkers and teams. 

Of course, this isn’t the case for all employers. Some companies tend to lean towards over-communication instead of under-communication, leaving employees with daily schedules packed full of Zoom calls. When interviewing for a position, always be sure to ask questions about their communication process. This can give you a better idea of whether or not their process matches up with your ideal vision. 

5. Fewer office distractions

Between in-person meetings, conversations with coworkers, and the sounds of phones or equipment, the office can be a distracting place. At quiet home office means you can be productive in an environment that works best for you.

6. Take care of chores and to-dos around the house

Working from home gives you extra time to do those things around the house that ordinarily pile up. Whether it’s a load of laundry before meetings or the chance to do dishes during lunch, taking care of these tasks throughout the day can make housekeeping far more manageable. 

7. Increased flexibility

Many companies who offer remote work opportunities also allow some degree of flexible scheduling.

Being able to set the times that you work allows you to do things during the day that you would otherwise have to take off for. Doctor appointments, taking the kids to school and picking them up, and helping family members can all be done throughout the day. This also allows you to adjust your schedule to your most productive hours.

Note: Keep in mind that remote doesn’t automatically mean flexible. Some remote companies still expect their employees to be at their computers from 9 to 5 as they would in-office. This is also something to ask about at some point in the interview process.

8. Opens up more job opportunities

When you are open to working from home, more jobs become available to you. This is because companies from coast to coast are hiring remote employees that live anywhere in the country— not just in the cities they’re based in. More job opportunities mean that you have a better chance of finding a job you truly love with an employer you’re proud to work for. 

Disadvantages of working from home

Though there are plenty of reasons why I love working from home, I know it’s not for everyone. The following are a few reasons why some people prefer to stay in the office. 

1. Lack of a good working environment

While an office may be distracting for some, the home may be an even poorer work environment for others. Whether it be kids, roommates, or other family members, the home isn’t always quiet and can have plenty of distractions.

2. Home office costs

Working from your bed sounds nice, but your back and neck will thank you for a desk and ergonomic chair. Building a home office like the one you have at work can get a little pricey— and not all employers are willing to help their employees cover these costs. Whether it’s a laptop stand and second monitor or a standing desk, creating the perfect setup isn’t always cheap.

3. Less face-to-face interaction

Working from home can get a little lonely at times, leaving people yearning for face-to-face interaction with coworkers. If in-person communication and camaraderie with coworkers are a must for you, then a remote job may not be the best option. 

4. Less work-life balance

Some people find a better work-life balance when working from home; others are worse off. There are days where you feel like you never really leave your job when your office is also your home. With no physical separation between work and home life, the lines can get blurred, leaving you feeling burnt out and exhausted whether you’re on the clock or off. 

Don’t be afraid to ask how a company supports work-life balance in an interview!

Weigh your work from home options

A workplace environment that works for one person may not be great for the next. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of working from home. By considering both the benefits and challenges, you can make an informed decision that best suits your personal and professional needs.

If you’re still on the fence, consider looking for an employer with hybrid work opportunities that can give you the best of both worlds!