Working from home. The most coveted perk you can find in a job.
No more commuting. You can procrastinate on your laundry another day. And you’re within arm’s reach of your kitchen, where you can keep filling up your cup of joe and snack all day.
Here at Bluleadz, we can work from home two days per week. And while we love that benefit, working from home comes with advantages and disadvantages.
The Benefits of Working From Home
Everyone thinks about sitting around in their pajamas, watching TV, and happily typing on a laptop when they imagine the reality of working from home. And your experience can definitely be like that if you want.
In fact, that’s one of the best benefits – you create your own workspace and style. But that’s just one advantage.
Let’s go through the rest.
You Design Your Own Office.
The gray walls and cubicle rows of outdated offices are being phased out for good reason. Our environment impacts our productivity in many ways.
Fortunately, since it’s your house, you get to build your space in a way that fits your personality and empowers you to be focused. Use soft white light if you prefer that ambiance. Set up a standing desk if you want to avoid sitting all day.
This is your home and your workplace, so make the most of it.
You Can Go Anywhere.
Even cooler, if you don’t want to be stuck in your home, you can get up and go! There are so many great places you can work at and crush your daily goals.
For example, the hip coffee shop down the street or the state-of-the-art library in downtown are great options. My personal favorite – use your phone as a hotspot and lay in a hammock at your local state park.
You Don't Need to Commute.
Commutes are horrible, plain and simple, especially if you’re working during the standard nine to five. The rush hours cause big traffic jams and long wait times.
Factor in the stress, cost of gas and wear and tear on your car, and the time, the start of your day is rough. But when you can eliminate all that added stress and simply walk to your home office, you’re off to a much better start.
Your Meetings Are Easier to Manage.
No more fighting for meeting rooms in your crowded office. When you work from home, you can sit comfortably in your quiet home office and get on the phone.
Thanks to all the amazing telecommunication tools, you can hop onto video conferences with your whole team in one click. Plus, you can record meetings and take diligent notes.
You Learn How to Be More Autonomous.
When you work from home, you’re your own boss in many ways. You don’t have leadership floating around your desk.
You have your own list of things you need to get done, and it’s your responsibility to manage your workday. This is empowering because it means your company believes in your ability to perform the tasks you need to get done. Prove yourself to them.
You Stay More Focused.
If you’re in a cubicle farm or in an open space setting, no matter the circumstance, you’re prone to distractions in the office. At home, on the other hand, you’re removed from all the chatter.
You can stay focused in your home office, especially when you create an environment that is conducive to your work style.
You Can Still Collaborate.
Slack. Google Hangouts. Microsoft Teams. Whatever communication platform you use, you’re able still work together with your teammates.
Leverage technology to work closely with your team. And worst case, jump on a phone call or video call to review snags in your project.
You Shape Your Own Schedule.
Instead of feeling chained to your desk for eight plus hours, you can better manage your workday schedule. That means if you’re more productive at night, you can work later hours.
Plus, you can break up intense tasks with some hobbies, like playing guitar or going for a run, or even take a quick power nap.
You Stay Comfortable.
Wearing ties and formal attire can be a drag, especially if you have to manage business attire with extreme weather conditions like hot summer days or frigid snowy winter days.
Not when you work from home.
Instead, you can wear what you are most comfortable. Pajama bottoms. Stained sweat pants. Those well worn jeans with the holes in the knees. The only thing that matters is your comfort.
You Are Happier.
Those who work from home are happier than those who work in an office by more than eight percent, according to a study by Porch. This makes sense when you look at all the benefits we just explored.
And when you’re happier and you feel more valued, you’re a better worker who is far more productive and engaged. That’s arguably the best perk of all.
The Negatives of Working From Home
While those 10 benefits are awesome, there are also several potential downsides to working from home. Sure, you can have your dog in your lap while you’re writing your email, but you also might lose internet if your home wifi craps out.
Here are some potential downsides to remote work.
You Experience Boredom.
While getting caught in conversations with coworkers can feel distracting, they can also be fun and engaging. And if you’re working from home, you might miss that dynamic.
Depending on how you manage your time working from home, you might get bored and feel isolated, especially if you need that face-to-face interaction.
You Lose a Sense of Urgency.
Deadlines can feel less pressing when you don’t have your manager sitting in the office next to you. Depending on your ability to be autonomous, you can lose that important sense of drive that helps you hit a deadline.
You’ll Slack Off.
We are all humans. We all have T.V.s and smartphones.
If you’re not in the office, you might feel tempted to check out your Instagram stories more frequently or pop on Hulu for some entertainment.
This is a slippery slope and can cause you to slowly slack off. Next thing you know, you’re three episodes into your favorite show, and your project manager is asking where your reports are.
You Will Be Stuck Waiting for Answers.
In any team, you’re going to rely on others. So if you have a question or need something from one of your coworkers while working from home, you can quickly message them.
But don’t expect an immediate response. You might be on the receiving end of crickets for a long time.
You Get FOMO.
Every company culture has fun traditions, and if you’re working from home, you might be missing out. This is one of our common concerns at Bluleadz.
We celebrate pizza paydays, and if you decide to work remotely on that day, you could be missing out on some delicious pizza.
But really, your fear of missing out (FOMO) can be attached to anything, like just catching up with your favorite pod mate or grabbing lunch with your friend.
You’re Limited to Your Own Tech.
This is especially tough if you’re used to using super high-speed internet and two monitors in your office. When you work at your residence, you only have what you have.
You need to settle for the slower download speeds, the smaller screens, and the slower, older computer you have on your desk at home.
You Miss Calls and Notifications.
Just as you can get stuck waiting for coworkers to respond to you, they might feel the same when they hear nothing from you after sending a message.
Technology is amazing, but it’s not perfect. There might be a lag in communication, or you may simply miss a notification or phone call. This can be problematic to say the least.
Your Family and Fur Babies Get In the Way.
My dog wants to play when I’m home. If you have a significant other or kids, they might be vying for your attention too. This can be distracting and even stressful.
You Can’t Disconnect.
No matter what, at some point, you’re going to struggle disconnecting from work mode when you’re home. If you have a separate room as an office, you will think about your workday every time you pass it in the hallway.
It’s especially difficult to find work-life balance when your desk is in your common area or bedroom.
You Get Cabin Fever.
We all know the feeling of being too isolated or experiencing the sensation of being stuck in one location. If you’re spending your morning, noon, and night at your house, you run the risk of catching cabin fever.
15 Working From Home Tips to Stay Productive and Get Shit Done
You don’t need to become that slacker who struggles to finish their tasks and hit their deadlines.
Working from home affects everyone differently, but you can follow these tips to be a productivity wizard in your home office.
1. Get Dressed.
Wear what you would normally wear to the office. This gets you in the work mode mindset.
2. Avoid Friend Visits.
A friend might text you when they’re in your neighborhood. Politely decline meeting them so you don’t derail your concentration for too long.
3. Keep Your To-Do List Visible.
Make a clear list of tasks that need to be completed by the end of the day. Then, put it out for you to see throughout the day so your priorities and order of tasks are clear.
4. Work Outside Your Home.
The concept of working remotely opens the door to other possible scenarios, like working at a coffee shop or a quiet bookstore. If you get out, you get a nice change of pace that is conducive to focused work.
5. Make Use of a Locked Door.
If you have the space in your house, find an area where you can lock yourself in to prevent people from distracting you. This physical separation is key to helping you focus.
6. Decorate to Your Comfort Level.
You need to feel comfortable where you work, so make your home office as cozy as possible. Hang decor, get a cool chair, and adjust your lighting – whatever you need to do to get comfortable.
7. Establish Clear Start and Stop Times.
It’s so important to create boundaries between work life and home life. Make these times clear to you and your time to prevent burnout.
8. Keep Your Notifications On.
Don’t miss an important message or phone call. Make sure all your notifications are turned on so you can be reachable and promptly respond to your team.
9. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones.
This is especially helpful if your family can be distracting by making noises. Use headphones to tune it all out and stay dialed into your work.
10. Plan Around Your Peak Hours.
Everyone has hours in the day when they’re better at focusing and doing work. Stay in tune with what those hours are, then manage your time around that. For example, if you’re better at creative tasks like writing or editing in the morning, do those tasks first thing.
11. Use Productivity Apps.
There are so many apps that help manage time. Download them to see which ones fit your style of work.
12. Prioritize Your Health.
No matter what, stay active and eat right. You should plan your meals ahead of time, even when you’re working from home, and schedule time in your day for exercise to burn off stress.
13. Keep the Distractions Off.
Say no to T.V. Turn off social media notifications. Close your browser when you don’t need it. These small actions can have a big positive impact on how well you focus.
14. Take Short Breaks.
Schedule breaks throughout your day so you can take the time you need to step away and breathe. These short breaks every hour or so make a world of difference in your concentration levels.
15. Set Up Rewards.
We all have task we don’t want to do, but a good way to motivate ourselves is establishing a system of incentives. That email you don’t want to write – tell yourself you need to complete that first before you can make your second cup of coffee.
These tips can keep you dialed in throughout your day so you can crush your priorities in no time.
Make the Most of Working From Home
As you see, your ability to exercise some discipline and willpower can really help your productivity at home. Keep these tips in mind and start crushing your daily to-do list!