In 2008, the CEO of a FTSE-100 company proudly held up his cutting-edge Blackberry and said “I can work from any beach in the world.” He meant it too, and with the huge advances in digital technology that we have seen since then, surely the day of the remote office is here and most of us can work from home, or indeed from wherever we want to. There are undoubted benefits to working from home, but also some potential pitfalls. So, sit back on the sofa, put the phone on silent and let’s take a balanced look at the pros and cons.
For many, the biggest benefit to working from home is the ability to fit work and life commitments around each other in the most sensible and practical way. No need to start at 9am and finish at 5pm, either early birds or night hawks can put in the hours whenever it suits them. This gives the flexibility to fit day-to-day errands seamlessly around their work, whether it is doing the school run, walking the dog or taking a time-out to watch some TV.
Saving time and money
Travel to and from work takes time, and costs money. All over the world, crowded trains, buses and roads bring daily misery to rush hour commuters. Where are they all going, and do they really need to be there?
Saving office rent
The savings do not just apply to the home worker, but potentially to the employer too. An increasing number of organizations utilize either virtual or hired offices for meeting purposes, and otherwise work remotely, doing away with the huge overheads that come with renting and maintaining a physical office. But before we all throw away the keys to the office forever, we should consider a couple of potential drawbacks to working from home.
Work / life balance
The flexibility of working from home might be the biggest draw, but it can also be a double-edged sword. You need discipline, and not just to make sure you work instead of spending the day watching TV. In reality, that is seldom a problem – it would soon become obvious if your work was not getting done. The greater difficulty is usually the reverse, that you can end up in “work mode” 24/7, constantly answering emails and taking calls, particularly if your work involves interaction with people in other countries and time zones.
It can also be difficult for other family members to adjust to the fact that you are simultaneously at home and at work. If you are home all day, surely you can sort out the laundry, read to the kids and pop to the shops?
It’s lonely out there
Many people thrive in the atmosphere of a working environment, and miss the camaraderie and sometimes the competitive spirit of being among peers and colleagues. The home worker can end up feeling alienated and no longer part of the team, particularly if they are the only one who is working remotely.
Making it work
There is little doubt that there are more pros than cons to working from home. The main prerequisites are a disciplined approach from everyone involved, both at home and work, to ensure that the right balance is maintained and that boundaries between work and home life are maintained and respected.
With the right approach and the necessary buy-in from all sides, there is nothing to stop you from joining the millions of people who have made a success of teleworking. You might not want to join that CEO on the beach, but by working remotely, you really can work from anywhere in the world! Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to give it a try.