With COVID-19 changing the way many of us work, multiple studies have attempted to determine whether the negatives of working from home, outweigh the positives. In fact, as many businesses now announce a more permanent shift towards flexible working, and working from home, with Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels declaring that; “In 2020 and beyond, most organisations are going to be transforming into a completely cloud-based environment”, this debate becomes increasingly more prominent.
Here are some of the pros and cons to working from home and the new way of working that we’re experiencing.
Of course you have to put in the required hours, and meet the necessary deadlines, but you make the decision on how to achieve that. Working from home allows you to work during your most productive times, wear what you’re most comfortable wearing and create a workflow that works for you.
This can be particularly useful in easing the load at the end of the ‘working’ day: rather than coming home to a mountain of dishes, laundry and so forth, you can take 10 or so minutes out a few times a day to keep household ‘admin’ under control.
While there may be distractions at home, you control them much easier than you can control distractions that come from coworkers, employees, and other office-based noise. Remote workers typically have more time and fewer distractions, which leads to increased productivity – a huge benefit of working from home for both employees and employers alike.
You might get déjà vu with this one as you scroll down. But of course, working from home can improve your work/life balance. Many professionals struggle with finding a balance between work and their personal lives. Working from home can make this balance a little bit easier to find and maintain.
However, there is a caveat to this in getting that balance right and making a clear distinction between your work and home life.
No more crowded buses or trains. No more annoying traffic jams. You’re surrounded by tired, frustrated and stressed out faces of all the daily commuters first thing in the morning. How are you supposed to keep up your good mood?!
Not to mention, having a long commute to and from work can save a great deal of time and money. Just think of what you could do with that time. Sleep a bit longer, go for a run, have a long breakfast – the list is endless.
Possibly the largest disadvantage to working from home, and whilst some employees would argue that benefits of working from home include not constantly having to do the tea run, and avoiding that annoying colleague; it is evident that a lack of office environment can lead to feelings of isolation.
Not only does working from home allow us to have meetings in our pyjamas, but with the help of technology we can now connect with people from all around the world. Nonetheless, it would seem that technology can also have a detrimental effect on people working remotely.
A study by Twingate, reported that 40% of employees declared feeling mentally exhausted as a result of video calling, in addition to 59% of respondents who felt less cyber secure working from home, compared to in the office.
Work/Home Life Boundaries
In a study by the United Nations 41% of employees stated an increase in their stress levels, due to the lack of a boundary between work and home life as a result on working from home.
It’s becoming increasingly evident that employees struggle with work-life balance when working remotely. Whilst this non-existent boundary has enabled more people to be productive, the Mental Health Foundation found that people in the UK were working an extra 28 hours a month – in the long-run it could be a cause for burnout.
Finally, consideration should also be paid to the impact working from home has on the environment. Research from WSP, concluded that working from home in the UK summer months would reduce a commuter’s carbon emissions by 5%.
However, this reduction by remote working, would be offset if the employee was to work from home for the entirety of the year, as they would produce 80% more tonnes of carbon than an office worker, as a result of heating in the winter months.
Perhaps an answer to the overall debate belongs in the middle ground; a mixture of both working remotely and working in the office.
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