Working from home has become more and more popular lately. In U.S. alone, home office work increased 12 times in 2020-2022, as per the Economist. Working from home has become more and more popular lately. In U.S. alone, home office work increased 12 times in 2020-2022, as per the Economist. But is it as great as it seems? Here, we closely look at the home office's advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of home office
Working from home comes with a variety of employee benefits. We have compiled these for you below.
No need to commute
Employees benefit from working in a home office since they no longer have to travel to work and experience stressful situations like traffic jams, searching for a parking space, train delays, and so on. Without these challenges, the day starts stress-free in your home office. According to Eurostat, Europeans can save over six full days of travel time per year by working from home. Eurostat also reported that the average annual expense on transportation for Europeans is €2,000, with individual countries spending varying amounts. For instance, in Germany, the average German worker spends approximately €1,510 per year on transportation and commutes roughly 28 minutes to work each day, as reported by the German Federal Statistical Office recently. On the contrary, these German workers could save on transportation expenses and other costs, such as meals and work-related attire, if they work from home.
On another note, working from home has potential environmental benefits for the environment as it reduces carbon emissions from travel. A study by Stanford University found that remote workers had a 50% reduction in their carbon footprints compared to their in-office colleagues. Also, a report by the International Energy Agency, published in 2020, suggests that remote work could reduce carbon emissions worldwide by 107 million metric tons annually by 2030. Thus, by adopting remote work as a practice, companies can positively impact the environment and improve the quality of life of employees and beyond.
More free time
The fact that commuting is no longer necessary also means that employees have more free time. For example, they can sleep longer if they do not travel to work in the morning. Home office employees have a stronger sense of time and time management. A study by ConnectSolutions showed that 30% of home office workers do more work in less time. 24% do more work at the same time. Furthermore, workers at home have more free time in the afternoon or evening for hobbies and personal interests as they do not have to take the bus, catch a train or drive to get home.
Employees also save on costs if they do not have to commute. Due to rising gasoline prices, this is an attractive proposition for car drivers. Those who use public transport also save money on monthly bus and train passes, rarely covered by employers. In concrete terms, home-office workers save themselves, as per FlexJobs, $ 2,600 to $ 10,000 a year.
Peaceful and comfortable working environment
In many cases, home offices offer more peace for actual work. It is especially the case for employees who otherwise work in an open-plan office, where there are often high noise levels and distractions. And less noise is productive! A study by Stanford attributed an up to 13% increase in productivity and a 50% decrease in attrition rates to a quieter home.
Organizing working day in line with personal biorhythms
Working in a home office enables employees to organize their workday closer to their biorhythms. If, for example, employees feel unfocused in the morning but particularly productive and fit in the late evening, then they can adjust the workday accordingly. It is not only healthier but also more effective.
Greater freedom of choice
Working from home offers greater freedom of choice. In the home office, for example, there is no dress code. Instead, employees are free to decide what they wear without being judged or criticized by colleagues. Furthermore, everyone is free to work from where concentration is highest. It can be the desk, the couch, or even a place outside in the fresh air. Employees remain free in setting their work environment since productivity does not decline.
Disadvantages of home office
Working from home comes with its caveats. We have compiled some of these for you below.
Easier to follow if you are not disciplined
Working in a home office requires a high degree of discipline, time management, and independence on the part of the employee. Not everyone is inherently structured or organized in this way. Those who cannot discipline themselves accordingly are less productive in the home office than in a shared office.
More exposed to distractions
In a recent study, 63% of home office workers cited distraction harmed their productivity. Some employees face more distractions when working from home than in a shared office. That is especially true for those who have children at home. Additionally, many find themselves distracted from work by pending household tasks such as hanging up laundry, unloading the dishwasher, etc.
Lack of spatial motivation and inspiration
According to a survey conducted by OnePoll, the average home office worker went through three different at-home workspaces before finding the best setup since they began working from home. That is because finding that ideal spot at home is not easy! Those who do not have a separate office room at home tend to do their work at the kitchen table or in bed. Such a tendency may seem comfortable but can affect the constructive balance between work and private life. For example, those who work in bed may have difficulty falling asleep in the evening. They have conditioned their body to be alert and focused in bed after spending an entire workday there. Relaxing on the couch can also become more difficult if you associate that place of relaxation with work. Bottom line? Many employees ultimately find their home not as relaxing in their private time when they spend the day working from there.
According to a recent study of 2,000 U.S. home office workers, 73% felt more digitally connected than ever. Yet, 60% of those same respondents reported being less productive. A significant number of home office workers go through a digital overload. Home office employees get bombarded with digital information such as email, chat rooms, and video chat tools. Unlike the office, at-home employees are more attached to digital tools leading to low performance.
Working from home has become increasingly popular, especially among younger generations. And there are plenty of good reasons: from avoiding the daily commute to having more control over your working environment. However, it's not all roses – there are some disadvantages too. So before making the switch or committing to a home office, individuals should weigh the pros and cons.
FAQ: Home Office - Advantages and disadvantages
What are the three advantages and three disadvantages of having a home office?
Three advantages of having a home office include better performance due to spatial separation, higher motivation due to a more stimulating environment, and reduced financial costs. Disadvantages of having a home office include the need for greater discipline, higher exposure to distractions, and digital overload.
Does working from home get lonely?
Working exclusively from home can lead to a lonely life, especially if the worker lives alone.
Are introverts more comfortable working from home?
Many introverts work better from home because they avoid the inherent drawbacks they suffer in-office while still maintaining their natural due diligence.