The brouhaha surrounding Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban employees from working from home had barely subsided when Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman following suit, announcing that she wants all employees to come to office every day. At the same time, we have Sheila C. Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts who says she approves of the work-from-home option for her staff.
With such a strong difference of opinion on the merits and demerits of working from home, does working from home really work? Is it as convenient as it’s made out to be? Let’s just discuss the pros and cons of working from home – and decide whether it’s right for you and everyone else reading this!
The pros of working from home
Truly a boon! No more getting caught up in snarls and walking to the train station. An article published by Adecco rightly explains how long commutes can leave employees feeling miserable, and sharply bring down productivity. Consider yourself blessed if your daily commute to work is no longer than ten steps!
Saving on time and money
Another advantage of working from home is that you save considerable time and money. Long commutes can be costly and time-consuming, so when you work remotely, you save on fuel expenses and time spent in traveling, which can be used resourcefully elsewhere.
I’m not just referring to the flexibility to determine your working hours, but also the flexibility to define your workspace, which isn’t always possible in an office cubicle. You can get creative with your workspace, buy ergonomic furniture, and determine what ambience suits your mood the best and brings out the best in you.
More time with kids
For many parents, the opportunity to be home with kids is immensely reassuring. There’s a certain sense of comfort knowing that you’ll be spending time with kids when they’re home from school; or that they won’t have to spend hours in a daycare while you worry whether they’re being looked after properly.
The cons of working at home
Work seems unending
Oftentimes, working from home blurs the line between fixed working hours and break hours, and people often continue working late into the night or early morning. Since there are no strict working hours, work may seem to drag on endlessly. Incessantly working can make you lose focus and disrupt creativity.
Separation from workplace developments
Working from home can alienate you from your workplace and teammates. It can also lead to a feeling of loneliness if you’re cooped up all day in one corner of your house. Being isolated can suppress creativity. You may lose out on important updates, team changes, and the brainstorming sessions the rest of the team goes through. The solution is to visit your workplace every once in a few weeks – meeting teammates and discussing the assignments you’re working on together can be refreshing and infuse you with new ideas and concepts.
Less likely to get promoted
A study by MIT Sloan Management Review states that workers who telecommute and don’t show up at work as often are less likely to receive promotions. Working from home results in less face time with your manager and coworkers and this can have a detrimental effect on your career. The fact that you aren’t a regular at office works against you when promotions and pay hikes are announced, no matter how long and hard you work.
You saw the pros and cons of working from home. Where do you think you fit? Are you the gregarious sorts who can’t imagine life without being surrounded by people, or someone who can thrive in a quiet environment away from the hustle-bustle of a busy office? As convenient as it may sound, working from home isn’t for everyone. It takes immense discipline and self-motivation to produce your best, because when you aren’t being continuously supervised by a boss, you tend to slack off which can hamper productivity.
Boon or bane – it all really depends on how you look at it. Professions like writers may excel in a work-from-home setting, but think of a medical administrative assistant, and working from home seems tough, though not impossible. There’s a new breed of virtual assistants cropping up, but the role of a medical administrative assistant, as described on CareerStep, is better suited to a professional office setting where he or she can easily manage the daily operations of the facility they’re employed with.
It remains to be seen whether Meg Whitman’s or Marissa Mayer’s diktat is a progressive move or a regressive one. What’s your take on working from home? Weigh in with your comments!
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About the Author
Frida Cooper has been working as a career guidance counselor for about 12 years. She’s stayed on top of growing industry trends through market research and interaction with young students and working professional alike. Her hobbies include swimming, meditation and music. She believes that everyone can enjoy a lucrative career by paying close attention to their passions and aptitudes. Of late, Frida has been focused on researching work-from-home opportunities for stay-at-home moms or professionals who would like to supplement their income.