It’s no secret that companies are migrating to flexible work schedules for employees, including flex hours and more specifically, working from home. Startups especially are offering this luxury as a way to attract top talent and provide, what we’re beginning to associate, as a “cool, start-up, millennial-ly culture.”
The idea of working from home sounds, in theory, like the perfect situation. I mean hey, wake up a little later, stay in your pajamas, and work from your couch as you answer emails, right? But just like a pancake, everything has two sides.
Let’s go ahead and start by defining some benefits from working remote:
- Save gas money – Always a plus and it definitely adds up if you live far away from your office.
- Save time on commuting – Some people spend 1-2 hours per day in the car to and from work; not so fun. By not driving to work, this also typical leads to more time spent with your family.
- Flexible daily schedule – Being able to wake up a little bit later (or even start your work day earlier to be done earlier), take your kids to school, or just being able to take a lunch break whenever you’d like are definitely pros to consider.
- Distractions – We’ve all been caught up in coworker drama, unnecessary meetings, and general office shenanigans. Sometimes just the essence of an office environment can contribute to a lack of focus.
So what about disadvantages, what would those even be?
- Lack of communication – Unless you conference in to every single meeting and conversation, you will miss out on many nuances during and after meetings, daily conversations about projects, and anything that hasn’t been laid out in meeting minutes.
- Employee culture – This to me is the biggest drawback of remote work: PEOPLE. Don’t think you’ll be invited to all of those last minute happy hours or be involved in those goofy inside jokes during the workday. What about missing out on the office donuts and birthday parties, the impromptu team lunches, and more… #FOMO
- Loneliness – Depending on your personality, working remotely can sometimes just be flat out lonely. Not really anyone to talk to during the day, except maybe your dog. Human interaction is important!
- Distractions – Yes, this is also a disadvantage. Don’t tell me that your house isn’t full of temptations and side projects that need to get done. That load of laundry that need to handled. Groceries that need to be bought. Maybe your husband or kids are home and they’re driving you nuts…sometimes there’s more distractions at home than at the office.
- No clear separation between home and work – Sometimes the best thing about going to work is being able to go home. With working remote, there’s not a distinct difference between home and work, despite maybe a room to call your office. Psychologically, we find great relief being able to go home and decompress after a long work day. In this scenario, I guess you would walk 50 ft and lay down on the couch? While people consider working from home “work/life” balance, it doesn’t necessarily constitute a “work/home” balance.
Now let’s talk more so about where these pros and cons come into play: Considering a new job.
As a recruiter, I talk with people on a daily basis about job opportunities and now more than ever do I get inquiries regarding remote options. *face palm* While I can appreciate the questions in its pure form, what always becomes an issue is when remote becomes the hindrance for moving forward. There are some things to be said here:
- First of all, there were hardly ANY remote options a few years ago, unless you were basically a travelling salesman or a flight attendant. Can we all agree that we’ve become just slightly spoiled with the potential of SOME companies offering it, to now assume that every job will?
- Secondly, let’s consider something that I’ve discussed in the past: not hinging your career decision off of one thing. Before it was compensation, but I absolutely consider remote work in the same category. If you’ve always wanted to work at a company within a certain industry or work on a specific cutting-edge technology, are you really telling me you’d throw away a dream opportunity because you simply have to go into an office?
- And to top it all off, office spaces and company cultures are at an all-time peak right now. Yes, we’re all a bit exhausted from the ping pong tables and casual fridays, but companies are now thinking outside the box a bit. Catering daily lunches, holding weekly or monthly events, like field days, massages, movie nights, etc. And don’t we all care about other benefits too? What about free gym memberships, unlimited PTO, tuition reimbursement, and the like?
Let me be the first to say that I think the idea of working remotely is super cool and I’m sure I would enjoy it, to an extent. What I want to express is that working from home should not be the bar you measure a job. There is much more to take into consideration and trust me when I say that I’ve spoken with countless employees that DO work remote, wanting to get BACK into an office because it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The grass is always greener, right?