You found our article about working from home.
Working from home is a method of employment. For example, you may work from home as a software engineer, marketer or teacher. These jobs tend to have flexible hours and locations. Other differences with traditional work structures can include pay, benefits, team collaboration, communication and more.
This page includes:
- advantages of working from home
- disadvantages of working from home
- tips for staying happy and productive
So, check it out!
List of advantages of working from home
Of the many advantages of remote work, one of my favorite is “zero commute time” because it saves you time, money, stress and more. Otherwise, this list is in no particular order.
1. Zero commute time
When you work from home, there is no commute time. Instead you can roll out of bed and start working. If you are like me, the work day actually starts while you are still in bed. I wake up, power up my phone, and check non-work apps first. Then I scroll email and Slack and respond to easy items. When I hit a message that needs a computer to take action on, I get out of bed and do the work on the computer. The commute time is zero, which saves at least dozens of hours every month.
2. Cook at home
When you work from home, you can also cook at home. This advantage includes being able cook breakfast, brunch, second brunch, lunch, and dinner. You can eat in your own kitchen or at your desk. Cooking at home is a benefit as you can save time, save money, eat healthier and more.
3. Watch Netflix during the day
If you work remotely then you can take breaks during the day and watch Netflix or sometimes Amazon Prime. For example, you could watch Ozark and cry a little, Dark and think deeply about time paradoxes and Ant Man for the eighth time. Netflix also makes excellent background noise.
You can watch teamwork movies for workplace inspiration.
4. Compete in push-up challenges
Doing push-ups at the office is weird, but doing push-ups at home is less weird. You can set a timer for three minutes and do as many push-ups as you can, aiming to get to 100 or more. My friend Nick and I have a challenge where each day we do 30 push-ups and then message DONE to the other person. Having someone to compete with keeps the push-ups alive and motivates you to keep up the habit over time. You can do other virtual team building challenges too, and plan various workplace competitions.
5. Work from Bali
One of the advantages of working from home is that you don’t have to do it in Dearborn, Michigan, and instead you can work from a private villa in Bali, Indonesia. I don’t recommend working from the beach because it is sandy, too darn hot, and kind of distracting, but working beside your private pool is cool.
6. You don’t have to wear pants
Working without pants is one of the benefits of working from home. I’ve worked without pants as a lawyer, marketer, manager and more. I wear shorts instead. You could wear PJ bottoms, yoga gear, long johns or go commando with a robe. Working without pants is a luxury and one of the major advantages remote work has over going to an office.
7. Listen to whatever you want
Whenever I go into a restaurant or store I take note of the music playing, and if it seems like it is pretty repetitive I assume the staff are tolerating the endless loop. Maybe your office plays 1460 CJOY, or SiriusXM or Spotify, or maybe the playlist is at the whim of Shannon in HR. Whatever the office situation, at home you are the DJ and you can listen to whatever you want. For example, you can loop an endless playlist of 90s boy bands and only you and your cat will ever know.
8. Take care of goats
If you go to an office then you may have to leave your baby goat unattended at home. One of the benefits of working from home is that you can take care of your small goat. You can feed your goat, cuddle your goat, love your goat, and raise your goat to be a stalwart protector of nearby bridges. Be a good goat mom or dad and work from home.
9. Read whatever you want on the internet
When you work remotely you can surf the internet freely, including reading random stuff on Medium, Reddit and michaelalexis.com. At an office you may have to pretend to be doing work while you secretly read Bored Panda on your phone, but at home you can do whatever you like as long as you put in the expected hours and get your work done.
10. Call your mom more often
Going to an office every day soaks up a lot of time, and always mean you are around other people all day. Your office may have one of those fancy sound-blocking phone booths that you could use to call your mom, but if you work from home you can call whenever you like. You could even call your mom right now.
11. It doesn’t matter what time the service people come
Setting up utilities and receiving packages is annoying when you go to an office every day. If you work from home then you are available throughout the day and it doesn’t matter what time the utility person comes to fix the electric meter. You can also receive packages any time of the day, which is nice.
List of disadvantages of working from home
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is that you don’t see your coworkers face to face. Those relationships are important for team bonding, collaboration, productivity and more. This list includes other ideas too.
12. You don’t see people as much
When you work in an office, you start your work day by saying hello in the morning, and then at lunch you can eat with colleagues. Working from home is different because you don’t have this basic social outlet. Instead, you need to be very deliberate about seeing people, so that you don’t get in the unfortunate place of looking forward to any human contact.
13. Getting exercise needs to be more intentional
For office dwellers and road warriors, getting 10,000 steps a day is a little easier because you have to walk to your car, walk from your car to the office, walk to different parts of the office and similar. After work you may walk to the pub and enjoy fusion tacos with your colleagues. Working from home does not have this exercise built in, and instead you need to be very deliberate about making you sure get some exercise during the day. You could do tai chi, go for a walk, participate in a push-up challenge, do yoga or a wide variety of other activities. All of which takes more effort than just going to work.
One way to remedy this disadvantage is to do develop a virtual employee wellness program.
14. Dirty everything
One of biggest disadvantages of working from home is the wear and tare on your space. If you don’t keep up with regular cleaning then you will have more dirty dishes, a filthy bathroom, a messy desk and similar. Unless you have a housekeeper, or a house mate that coddles you then it is your responsibility to make sure everything stays clean and tidy.
15. People will challenge your boundaries
And by people I mean your roommates, friends, mom, dog, spammy call people and nearly everyone else. A disadvantage of working from home is that it looks like you are available when you aren’t, and so you need to have healthy boundaries by saying “no I can’t let you out of the house to go bark at stuff for the fourteenth time this hour, but maybe after my virtual meeting.”
16. No free lunch
If you work in fancy industries like tech or finance then your office may provide free lunch. This free lunch isn’t a guarantee though. I spent one summer working for a corporate catering company that lost a contract because the accounting firm client found that instead of free lunch meaning people worker at their desk, free lunch meant that people still did not work and ate on the company dime. When you work from home, lunch is almost definitely on your own tab.
Check out this list of employee benefits to consider more of the perks.
17. Your home probably isn’t as nice as your office
A lot of office have nice views, nice furnishings and nice people. Your home probably doesn’t have a stellar view of the bay or other office buildings. Your home probably doesn’t have as nice furniture as a corporate office does. You can remedy all these aspects, but the default is often lower.
Here are some ideas to improve your home office.
18. Higher bills
When you work from home your utility bills like heat, hydro, electric and internet will probably be higher. You can mitigate these bills by putting dressing appropriately and turning stuff off when you aren’t using it, but still you will probably end up paying more by being at home 8+ more hours every day.
19. Building relationships with your coworkers is harder
Building meaningful relationships with colleagues when working from home is challenging. You don’t see your coworkers face to face and you don’t get the benefits of proximity or chit-chat throughout the day. Instead, you need to be very intentional about building relationships with other folks you work with by doing Mister Rogers Calls and sending them friendly messages.
20. You have to be very intentional to get credit for your work
Working remotely means that nobody sees the hours your put in. However, your manager may see the hours you are online and the results of your work. If you want to earn promotions and accelerate your work from home career then you need to be very deliberate about getting credit for your work. One recommendation is to collect praise from colleagues and clients in a document that you can then present to your manager when it comes time for a review.
You can make the case for your promotion during a virtual one on one.
21. Sometimes you don’t speak to other people for days
If you work from home and live alone then there is a risk that you don’t speak to other people for days or even weeks at a time. You may speak to your cat or house plants, but that isn’t the same. If you find yourself looking forward to engaging dialogue with the person that helps pack your groceries, then you likely need to be a little more intentional about connecting with people throughout your work from home life.
Tips for Working From Home Productively
One of the best tips for remote work is to go outside daily. However, the tips below span a wide range of topics for you to consider.
22. Go outside every day
When you work from home, it is easy to stay inside every damn day. If you get groceries delivered then it may be weeks before you have a reason to poke your head outdoors. Take charge of your outdoor life and either go for a 10 minute walk or do some gentle Tai Chi out on the lawn.
23. Track your showers
If you work remotely then you know it easy to forget when you last showered. Some people shower in the morning, at night and after the gym, which is probably overkill for one day. You likely don’t need to shower every single day, but you do need to shower every sometimes. Track your showers on the calendar to make sure you don’t go too many days without one.
24. Don’t stay up late if you wouldn’t wake up early
Working from home often gives you the flexibility to work hours that fit your schedule. You may be tempted to stay up late, sleep late, and then start work late. This pattern is kind of dangerous for working from home productively. Instead, follow this rule of thumb: don’t stay up late to do something unless you would wake up early to do it too. You probably wouldn’t wake up early to watch Season 2 of Game of Thrones again, and you probably wouldn’t wake up early to read Reddit on your phone, so don’t stay up late doing it either.
25. Do postural exercises
Future you is going to be really mad when you get tight neck muscles and weird curves in your spine because you didn’t take care of your body well. Working from home sometimes means working from the couch or other awkward positions, which is okay, but you need to make sure you counteract the damage with proactive postural exercises. Do yoga, stretch and other exercises that help support good posture and future you will be happy.
26. Invest in a good setup
When you work at an office it is your employer’s responsibility to make sure you have a good work setup, and when you work from home the responsibility is probably yours. Get yourself a good desk, chair, monitor, external keyboard and mouse. All of these items will help improve your productivity while working remotely.
27. Put in the hours every day
One of the traps of working from home is getting into a pattern of running errands and other distractions that are not work. Putting off work hours for one or two days is okay, as long as you catch up on other or the weekend. If you get in a pattern of putting off hours each week then you will eventually be in a time-debt that you can’t get out of. Maybe no-one will notice except your guilty conscience, but if your employer notices then it may be a problem. The level 10 integrity approach to remote work is to put in the hours every day.
28. Put YouTube on loop
One of the common productivity drains on working from home is constantly going back to YouTube to search a new set of songs. Instead, find a song you love, right click and select “loop” to listen to Alicia Key’s Underdog over and over.
29. Keep protein bars by your desk
If you wake up late and then jump on conference calls then you may go hours without eating anything. Keep a box of protein bars on your desk you can chomp down on some high energy snacks to keep you going during meetings and working from home effectively. Instead of protein bars you could keep a bag of trail mix, but that is dangerous on portion control.
30. Get house plants
I am a strong advocate for two things: pursuing refunds when a company lets you down, and getting an absurd number of house plants. My preferred ratio is 20+ house plants for each full-sized human in your living quarters, and you could probably get by with less. House plants give you a fun hobby called “try to keep them alive” and may give you a productivity boost by having better air quality in your space.
31. Do a deep clean at least 1x per week
When you work from home, every room gets more use than when you go to an office. Your bedroom, office, bathroom, kitchen and other living quarters will take wear and tare that leaves them messy, smelly and unkempt. Don’t wait until friends are coming over to clean your place. Instead, do frequent tidy-up times and at least one deep clean every week. Deep clean means scrubbing your toilet.
32. Attend company events
If your manager organizes a virtual happy hour for your team, then attend. If your colleagues are doing a more substantive event like a virtual team building event or an online escape room, then attend those too. These events are opportunities to connect with your colleagues in a meaningful way.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of working from home. Every organization and employee needs to carefully weigh these considerations to make their own decision. Then, you can start applying the tips and best practices to make the most of it.
Next, check out our guide to writing an effective work from home policy, these remote work statistics and facts and these locations to do remote work.
We also have a guide to hot-desking at the office.