This national lockdown due to COVID-19 forced many companies to change the way they operate very quickly and with very little warning. People had to adapt overnight and change the way that they work.
Now that restrictions are slowly easing a lot of companies are having to transition BACK into working from the office. This has given me some time to reflect on my experience working from home for the past few months and have a detailed look at the real pros and cons. A lot of people I have spoken with have thoroughly enjoyed working from home and I think a lot of companies may have to change the way in which their staff will work moving forward.
Prior to all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, I had never worked from home and was keen to see what was so popular about this trend. From the many people that I interview I know that some people absolutely love the idea of working from home whilst others are strongly against it.
I have overall enjoyed the experience, however, I am keen to get back into my ‘regular’ routine again.
- No commute – I have gained 2 extra hours per day not having to commute and I must say that this is one of my favorite parts about working from home. I get almost 2 hours a day extra to myself. Whether it be exercising, sleeping in longer or having a long breakfast, I think most people would enjoy having this extra time to themselves.
- Comfort – this surprised me. Initially, I thought YES!! I don’t have to wear makeup and can wear my trackies. However, I did find that I wasn’t as productive or felt like I wasn’t at ‘work’. Putting on a nice outfit and a bit of lippy on made a difference and made me feel like I was going to work. So my lesson from this, don’t get too comfy too often!
- Saving money – this actually surprised me but I didn’t realise how much money I spent on coffees, eating out and public transport – it all adds up!
- Food preparation – a big advantage that I found working from home was preparing my own meals every day. It means I eat fresh and healthy meals all the time and am not relying on all the takeaway options in the city
- More time for workouts – I find myself working out a lot more when I work from home. Obviously, you have more time as you don’t need to commute and secondly, when you’re sitting around at home all day, I naturally felt a greater urge to get my body moving more. Whether it was walking my dog a bit more or realized that I enjoyed doing yoga, I found myself exercising more.
- Work life balance – this is incredibly important and is one of the number one things I hear from candidates when I ask them “what’s important to you?”. I found that I had more time to myself and to spend with my family and friends whilst also being responsible for my own work performance. Even though you spend just as much (and sometimes even more) time working from home than you would in an office, you still feel like you are closer to your ‘outside of work’ life than before.
However, with all of these amazing advantages, there are also cons.
- Human/people interaction – this is what I struggled with the most by far. Yes, you have online meetings and phone calls but nothing will ever replace that real life, human interaction. I missed getting coffees with my coworkers and having banter in the office as most of the time I was home alone. This lack of social interaction was most definitely the hardest part for me.
- So many distractions – I live by myself and don’t even have kids or anything but still found myself getting distracted! Quickly doing some laundry, vacuuming the house, the new episodes of West World getting released! etc. There are so many potential distractions everywhere when you work from home. It took a lot of discipline for me to focus and get things done.
- Difficult to switch off – I sleep at home, I work at home, and during the lockdown, I basically did everything at home. So sometimes it can be challenging to separate from private/personal life and business/work life. Since I wasn’t dependent on office hours, I could work anytime from early morning to late at night. One night recently, I couldn’t sleep, so I just did some work when I probably should have been trying to get back to sleep. You can end up having your whole life revolve around work. If you enjoy your job like me you may not see this as a disadvantage, but no matter how much you love your job you could burn out.
It is evident that there are plenty of pros and cons to working from home and I’m sure we will all have our own struggles transitioning back to ‘normal’ life in the office again. I’ve slowly started doing a couple days a week in the office to ease myself back into it.
Whilst I have certainly enjoyed working from home, I have been very keen to get back into the office.
What works best for you?
Working from home; in the office or a combination of both?!
We’d love to hear from you!