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Working from home: The pros and cons

Written by Matt Westenburg

With more than 18 years of experience as a certified public accountant, Matt has helped companies develop & validate business models, raise capital and provide management expertise. He enjoys working with entrepreneurs who are passionate about achieving their goals and bettering the community. He was voted the Silicon Prairie “Service Provider of the Year” and has been recognized multiple times for his contributions to the local entrepreneurial community.

As technology advances it becomes easier to connect with anyone from anywhere. This is true for families video calling their loved ones around the world and business partners sealing a new deal without ever meeting face to face. Many people view technology as an opportunity to work from home. Some of us are at our most productive when we can roll out of bed and head to the “office” on the living room couch. Before you give up your office space and turn in your parking pass, here are some of the pros and cons of working from home.

Pro: No commute

Working from home saves you money, time and gas from your daily commute. This is a big factor for most people. The average American commutes between 30 minutes and an hour one way. There’s no rush hour traffic between your bedroom and your home office. You can use the extra time to stop by the kitchen for a cup of coffee.

It’s easier to leave your work stress behind when you’re actually stepping away from the office. From home, your office space is just down the hallway so you might find yourself working at all hours of the day.

Pro: No dress code

In your own home, you’re free to work without dress code rules. Put away your suit and tie in exchange for shorts and a t-shirt. Not only will your dress be more comfortable, but you are able to control everything in your work environment. At your home office you can adjust the thermostat to your ideal temperature and purchase the nicest, comfiest chair you can find.

Pro: More flexible schedule

People who balance a career with family life often benefit from working at home. There is usually more flexibility to attend dance recitals and soccer practices. Parents can play a larger role in caring for their children when they work from home. Your home office expenses are a tax write off and your employer might offer some compensation for your expenses.

Con: No office friendships

People who work from home miss out on the daily companionship in an office setting. This means no coffee breaks, no lunch breaks and no happy hours. The distance can also make collaboration and projects more difficult.

Con: Challenging work/home life balance

It’s easy to feel confined when you’re sleeping, living and working in the same space. Organization and a clean work space become next to impossible goals, especially with kids and pets running around. Even if you have a designated office space, it can be hard to make a work/home life distinction. It’s easier to leave your work stress behind when you’re actually stepping away from the office. From home, your office space is just down the hallway so you might find yourself working at all hours of the day.

Con: Nobody to see your work ethic

When you’re putting in all those extra hours of work from home, your boss likely won’t notice. In an office setting, the boss and management people will see you putting in long days and extra effort. People who from home are often judged strictly on their performance and their numbers. Employers aren’t able to consider other factors, like work ethic, as easily.

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