My Personal Pros and Cons of Working From Home
Working from home became the talk of the world in mid-March 2020. It seemed like everyone (except me) was doing it.
(Of course, not without a lack of trying--I proposed many times to my bosses that I should be allowed to work from home for the safety of everyone in the office. My bosses were not listening, but that's a story for another day).
My then-fiancé, now husband, did start working from home, and I ached with jealousy. Although I began to see how he thrives working from home, as I knew I would too, I learned working from home came with only a few cons. I still wanted to try it. A few months into dedicating my life to pursuing a virtual assistant career, I can attest that I thrive working from home.
These are the reasons I thrive working from home.
My Working from Home Pros
I'm an introvert.
Being an introvert doesn't mean I'm not a team player. I am absolutely a team player. Since I started working from home, I'm communicating with people more than ever. I've made many contacts through my virtual assistant, many of which I talk to daily. I'm even making friends from behind my computer monitor. I love socializing and communicating with people all over the world.
However, as an introvert, I require plenty of time to decompress to regenerate. It takes more "social" energy for me to collaborate in person than over a video chat, text, or e-mail. Maybe it's something about how I only have to worry about how I look from the shoulders up on a video call.
I don't have to watch the clock.
When I was in the office, I would constantly look at the clock until the clock at 4:30 p.m. and I could rush out the door. I would count down until my breaks. Since working from home, I barely know what time it is unless I have appointments scheduled that day, or it's 6 p.m. on Wednesday (yoga time).
Because I'm not tied to the time, I'm more relaxed and able to focus on getting work done.
I have fewer interruptions.
My husband works from home, I have an almost 1-year-old, and my mother-in-law lives with us. Oh, and I have two cats and a bird. Those are the only interruptions I'm going to experience at any given moment, but it's far less distracting than being on a phone call and having a group of 10 clients come into your office with unpredictable needs, wants, and desires. My son is the most predictable one. He usually wants food, a nap, or some attention.
I'm working on training my family to give me the peace I need to work. The most stressful part of working in an office was the interruptions, which interfered with productivity. I'm so much more productive at home.
I'm more organized.
Every morning used to be a juggling act. I had to get dressed, make breakfast, prepare my lunch, gather all the things I would need for the day, and be out the door by 7:30 a.m. My brain was running a million miles a minute.
Now, I wake up, I make my coffee, and I sit at my desk and begin my day. I grab a bagel or waffle or make a yummy smoothie when I need one. My brain is less cluttered, which allows me to focus completely on getting my work done.
The one downfall...
It's harder to disconnect.
I'm the type of person who likes to make people happy, and I like to be the fastest responder on my team. However, disconnecting from work is necessary. It's the #1 complaint I've heard from colleagues, friends, and my husband. It's also a downfall of loving what you do.
I have to mentally tell myself when I'm going to disconnect and make my clients aware of when I'll be unavailable. Family is and always will be my #1 priority.
Should You Work from Home?
The answer to this question is absolutely going to depend on the individual. For my husband and I, it works great. We’re introverts who focus better in an environment with few interruptions. I can see how it wouldn’t work for extroverts who crave social interactions. There are ways to get around this isolation, though, if you crave the flexibility work-from-home provides.
For example, The Happy Neighborhood Project is an excellent way for business professionals to meet online. They offer several groups and meeting times, so if you’re feeling lonely, you can hop on one of those meetings.
Network After Work offers in-person events for professionals to get together, socialize, and promote their work. Networking is also a great way for small business owners and freelancers to get their names out in the community.
I’ve also heard about work-from-home groups arranging events at libraries and local community centers, so those who are lonely can get together and work together. I haven’t personally attended one of these meetings, but this could be another great opportunity for someone who works from home to get out and socialize.
My takeaway is to do whatever works for you. If you love working in the office, there are plenty of those jobs available. If you prefer to shave the commute off your day, allowing you more time to focus on what matters most to you, then absolutely seek out virtual work — it’s out there, you just have to search for it!