The Cost of Working from Home by Megan Murphy
There are plenty of ways that Virtual Staff Can Outperform Office Staff and last week we even discussed how working from home could help save the climate and bring us together!
And, while all of that is true, every positive has a negative. So, what are some of the cons to working from home? How could working from home hurt us?
The first thing that probably comes to mind is your kids, partners, parents, or roommates. Our friend Lisa Mallis even wrote a blog on how to “survive” a day when your spouse ends up home due to inclement weather. Unexpected events like a sick child or a differing work schedule to your partner can cause headaches when you’re trying to work.
Another obvious distraction is entertainment. It’s hard to say “no” to the TV when it’s right in front of you or to check social media when your boss isn’t watching. Even things like kids playing outside or the mail being delivered may be a distraction when you’re working from home.
And another distraction to consider is that it’s easier to snack when your pantry is only a few steps away! Second lunch? Don’t mind if I do!
Aside from the obvious – you aren’t around your co-workers, clients, or bosses to socialize – there are a few other ways that isolation can happen when working from home.
Miscommunication is a big factor. It’s easier to feel misunderstood or ignored when you’re relying on written communication (or Zoom). It was much easier to get your point across when you were standing right in front of people. Emails can’t carry tone and nuance the same way that a verbal conversation can and with fewer of those happening, it can feel lonely. Not to mention that if you get left out of an email you can’t insert yourself, whereas you could always hop into a conversation happening a few feet away.
Something else you’re missing out on is office “perks” as US News pointed out. When you’re at home, there’s no going to the break room for a free donut or popping down to the cafeteria for a quick lunch with your co-workers. No grabbing a coffee from your favorite shop on the way to work.
When you’re working and living in the same place, there are going to be quite a few changes. For example, you might be more likely to lose the separation between work and leisure when you can “clock in” at any time or place.
That can cause both disruptions in your home relationships and burnout. Something to consider when working from home are the boundaries you and your partner, child, parent, roommate, etc. might have had before where you are not directly in contact with them for X amount of hours during the day. When you’re home with your partner more than usual it could account for friction in your relationship.
Burnout could occur simply from over-working but it could also be triggered by no change of pace or scenery. When you work and live in the same space, it could feel monotonous. Plenty of people, according to Indeed, said they dreaded having to spend the evening in the same place they spent all day.
And, as a final note, another disadvantage to working at home instead of the office is financial. When you were working somewhere else and able to use their equipment (computers, printers, scanners, coffee machines, toilet paper, soap), their heat or AC, and electricity; there was little to no cost to you. But, now that you’re working from home, you’re on the hook for a proper computer, phone, printer, and electricity bill.
Here at EVA, clearly, we’re fans of working from home…so much so that we made it our whole business! But just like any business move, big or small, there are always two sides to consider.
What are some of the disadvantages you’ve discovered? Comment below.
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