More people now work from home than at any other time. Some job roles can be fulfilled entirely at home, whilst others may be suited to a more hybrid style of working (switching between home and office days). With access to high quality fast internet services being the rule, rather than the exception now, working remotely has never been a more accessible option to employers and employees alike.
Working from home does have its advantages, but there are also some disadvantages that are worth taking into consideration, too.
Before we have a look at the pros and cons of working from home, it’s worth mentioning that home working is very much in the news right now. Concerns over Covid 19 prompted many businesses to move large swathes of staff to working from home which has reaped huge tangible benefits, from being able to save money by down-scaling their office space rental requirements, higher workforce morale and increased uptake in the usage of available communications technologies.
There are calls by some politicians to get everybody regardless of job role working back in the office, but that seems to us to be a massive over-simplistic argument without considering the pros and cons in full.
With our experience we’ve tried our best to come up with solid arguments for and against, so without further ado.
Table of Contents
The Advantages of Working from Home
First the considerable upsides….
No Travel involved when working from home
What’s the worst part of the working day? It’s got to be the commute at the beginning and end. Whether you drive to work, braving the rush-hour traffic, or have to wait around for the bus or train to turn up, commuting is a chore.
For many people, it’s a necessity to travel and work at a specific location – Doctors, Binmen, Pilots, and Construction workers are a few examples – but for IT Developers, Telephone Support Staff, Sales Operatives, Writers, Newspaper Columnists and many other desk-based positions, there scope for working just as efficiently, if not, more so, from home.
Start the day fresh
A long commute can mean an early start. Working from home might give you that extra hour or two to recharge properly so you’ll be ready and focused for the day ahead. You can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be starting work, fresh and ready to get going stress-free having avoided the morning rush. Gaining that commute time back can be invaluable to a quality of life in itself.
Save time & money
We already know that by not commuting, you save time and money. With petrol prices increasing, cutting out your commute could be saving yourself, or employees hundreds of pounds per month. The same applies for those who use public transport, saving on fares is a benefit that is not to be sniffed at.
Good for the environment
The rush hour traffic contributes greatly to pollution in every city across the world. Businesses are actually doing their bit for their green credentials by allowing staff to work from home. Imagine a small business with twenty staff who all drive to work every morning. If only five of them work from home that’s potentially five less cars on the road, taking up space and pumping out pollutants. If a small percentage of businesses in a regular small town did the same, that’s potentially many hundreds less cars clogging up your the town’s roads in the morning rush-hour which in turn benefits everyone – even those who still need to commute.
Less cars on the road stands to benefit everyone, including those who still need to commute!PMC Telecom
Working from home can mean fewer interruptions
Interruptions for tech staff can be particularly grating, stymieing progress and frustrating ongoing work. When colleagues pass by and stop for a quick chat, or maybe you get called into an impromptu meeting – these can impact negatively on the task you were in the middle of. If you’re working a job that needs a high degree of focus and concentration – computer programmer, writer, etc, then isolating yourself to focus can be absolutely invaluable to your levels of productivity.
Working from home using remote applications allows you to manage potential interruptions – muting chats for a period of time and properly scheduling calls, or group meetings allows you to focus on the task at hand without fear of being disturbed and knocking that flow off course.
Working from home can improve staff morale
Working from home can do wonders for staff morale – cutting out the commute, allowing greater flexibility can benefit businesses in the medium to to long term. Increasing staff morale helps to increase staff retention. It is of course important to hold on to those experienced members who know your business inside out! Offering the flexibility of working from home can save businesses thousands in re-training, as you’re more likely to hold on to those staff who feel valued and trusted.
A well tended garden is better than a neglected wood lot.Dixie lee ray
Working from home can be great for the differently-abled
For employees with impaired movement, the ability to work from home can be an absolute Godsend, and opens the door to more opportunities, working from home can very much level the playing field in terms of being able to perform job functions with ease.
Health Benefits of Working from Home
Working in an office, especially after a long commute with the rigors of daily life can put people in a strain when it comes to basic things like eating healthily.
Having little time to prepare a healthy meal for the following day’s work, it is quite common for people to hit the sandwich aisles in their local mini-mart, or visit a local coffee shop and load up on those deliciously calorific and over sweetened mugs of coffee goodness. Working from home, cutting out the commute time, does give people that extra time to look after themselves a little more. Extra time allows for time to make healthy meals and snacks at home, all the time saving money in the process. Extra rest time = less need for caffeine just to get through the day.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a park or the countryside, the scope for getting out of the house for a short lunchtime walk or run can do absolute wonders for refreshing the brain and coming back to your work feeling ready for round two and getting things done in the afternoon.
Working from home can give you that feeling of control of your own space. You can set things out how you like, your own ambience that suits you. This might sound a bit woolly, but being comfortable in your own space is important for jobs where concentration and a feeling of calm around you can be important to focus your attention. Office lighting, layouts and ambience can often be harsh and foreboding. A one-size fits all, functional, boring design, can often not be particularly conductive to comfort and concentration.
You should know your office well and – hopefully – feel comfortable at your place of work, but it’s not your home. Your home is your space, one that you have laid out in exactly the way that makes you feel at ease.
Dress for comfort whilst working from home
Of course if you’re working from home, you can pretty much dress how you like and how you feel comfortable, unless you’re job role requires you to be doing lots of visible webcam meetings and conferences.
All being said, it’s advisable to maintain level of professionalism and routine you would expect if you were starting your day in the office.
What equipment do you need to work from home?
A lot of people may already have the tools available to work from home already. The outlay for working from home can be remarkably small when all you really need is a computer and an internet connection and you’re good to go. Some employers may even supply all or some extra bits of kit to help you, whether that’s a laptop, PC, webcam, or specialist USB Headset so that you can be heard clearly when making calls.
Headsets – Webcam – Hands free Speaker/Mic
Communicating via collaboration software such a Microsoft Teams or Google Workspace etc can be improved by using high quality equipment.
Click below to browse examples of some of the best home working equipment.
The Disadvantages of Working from Home
There are also downsides to take into consideration…
Distractions whilst working from home
There’s almost as much scope for being interrupted whilst working from home as there is in the office. This very much depends upon individual’s circumstances.
Perhaps you have children or pets? The child that walks in as you’re doing an online web presentation, there’s the dog that wants feeding or taking for a walk, or the cat that insists on walking on your keyboard.
There’s also doorbells ringing that need to be answered, or maybe the neighbor who has building work done right in the week you have important meetings planned.
These are all typical distractions you wouldn’t typically get in an office, so worth bearing in mind if peace & quiet is what you’ll be needing to do your work, if it’s not possible to attain, then working at an office might be preferable.
Lack of Supervision
If you’re not great at working to your own initiative – and you’re not alone as many people need a push here and there – working from home may be less productive for you.
It’s worth noting that there are people out there, like Mr Johnson who could and would take liberties, so for employers at least, healthy monitoring practices can be employed to track user’s work-loads, call volume, sales achieved etc etc, although in most cases from our experience using regular chat and call apps, this hasn’t been necessary.
No face-to-face contact with colleagues
It can be lonely home working, and you may miss the interaction with your colleagues. It also means that networking can be less effective, which does lessen the chance of those serendipitous conversations that happen in person which help solve a problem or resolve an issue. Of course via messaging apps such as Microsoft Teams and Google Workspace, you can communicate easily with colleagues and groups over the internet and phone – but it isn’t quite the same.
Working from home, you will use more electricity and gas for power and heat. This can mount up over time and is worth keeping an eye on although this may be offset by your saving on travel costs.
There is plenty of advice online on how you can mitigate energy costs.
Is working from home a good idea? Our Conclusion
Whether you have the option to work from home or not, or whether you’re an employer thinking about offering work from home or otherwise, it is at least useful to know that it is an increasingly viable option.
As an employer or an employee, there are many factors that come into play when making your decision as to whether working from home is viable, and you need to consider these carefully. If it’s not something you’ve done before, then limited trial runs, or hybrid working (switching between office days and home working) are a good way to test the waters and see if it is a good fit for you, or your organisation.
On balance we think that offering work from home or hybrid working is something that should be taken very seriously.
We feel that overall the benefits definitely do outweigh the negatives.
We’re interested to know what you think… leave a comment below and let us know if there was anything we missed.
Further help and advice about working from home and the equipment you might need.
Whichever way you decide to go – PMC Telecom can help you with advice and a range of equipment. We can help ensure a high level of professionalism whether staff are working at home and/or in the office!
Feel free to call us: 0161 737 9898 and speak to our experienced staff who can help.