The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Meredith Hart

Meredith Hart | March 10, 2020

Before jumping into something new, we often weigh the pros and cons. What would the outcome be if X happened? How would Y benefit me? If you're just getting started with remote work or working from home, you're likely in the process of evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of this new work style and what they'll mean for you.

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It's often helpful to hear from people with prior experience who have seen the pros and cons firsthand. We reached out to the work from home, remote work, and digital nomad communities to get their perspectives on remote work and working from home. Plus, we included tips for combatting the most common challenges of working from home. Keep reading to see what the remote work community had to say.



Pro: Remote workers feel less stressed and more focused.

Remote workers report that increased productivity, better focus, and less stress are some of the top reasons they work remotely. When you work from home, you're less likely to lose focus due to in-office distractions like background noise or interruptions from coworkers. With increased focus, you can get your work done more efficiently.

That being said, some people thrive in a typical office environment. If you're new to working from home and struggling to focus, we have some productivity tips and music playlists to help you focus.


Con: Working from home can be lonely.

When you work from home, you're likely flying solo most of the time. This can create feelings of isolation and loneliness, and can often have a hurt your health and productivity. It's important to build in time for social interaction, even if it isn't in-person.

Schedule a virtual coffee with a coworker or join a Slack community to socialize with other people who share similar interests as you. If you need even more inspiration, check out these tips to combat the work from home loneliness you might be feeling.


Pro: No daily commute.

If you work in a city, you've likely experienced the hassle of commuting. Whether you're taking public transportation or stuck in traffic, your mind might wander and think about all the other things you could be doing during your commute time. Studies have shown that commuting negatively impacts health and happiness. When you work from home, not only will you have more free time in your day, you're likely to see an improvement in your well-being too.


Con: Communication and collaboration can be a challenge.

Effective communication and collaboration can be hard to achieve when you and your colleagues are distributed across different locations. This means that the tools and strategies you use to communicate need to be thought out and intentional.

Determine which asynchronous communication tools you'll use (e.g., Slack and email) and make sure you have a consistent schedule for face-to-face conversations via video conferencing. When everyone's clear on the methods of collaboration, miscommunication will become less frequent.


Pro: Remote workers have flexibility in their schedules.

Raise your hand if you have responsibilities and obligations outside of your day-to-day job? I'm sure most (if not all) of us have our hands up. Depending on your organization's remote work policy, you might be able to schedule your day to accommodate aspects of your life outside of work.

Need to run to a doctor's appointment in the morning? Go for it! Have to hop offline for an hour to pick up your child from school? No problem! Remote work gives you the flexibility to manage all aspects of your life, whether they're directly related to your work or not.



Con: It's challenging to build a remote company culture.

Co-Founder and CEO of Donut, Dan Manian, says, "The biggest myth about company culture is the idea that leaders can think about it later, as if it's something you can decide when you want to decide it".

If you have a team that's comprised of remote workers, company culture needs to be much more intentional. The ways remote teams get to know one another and collaborate are different than they'd be if everyone worked together in the same office. Luckily, there are remote culture tools and resources that can be used when team members aren't able to get together in-person. Remote leaders and managers need to remember that transparency is key for employees to have the information they need to work independently and feel engaged with their work.


Pro: People who work from home have a better work-life balance.

The 2019 State of Remote Work report found that one of the top reasons survey respondents gave for working remotely was work-life balance. As we touched on earlier, the flexibility that remote work provides gives people the ability to better manage their obligations whether they're work-related or not.

You might feel more motivated to finish a project once you've taken a quick walk around the block. Or maybe you need to spend some time meditating to clear your mind before an important meeting. With remote work, individuals can structure their workdays in a way that supports their productivity and enables them to enjoy their lives outside of the 9-to-5.


As more people begin working from home, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of remote work. Addressing any challenges head-on ensures everyone can work from home successfully. Do you have any tips for working from home effectively? Share your tips with us on Twitter @OwlLabs.

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