Should You Work From Home?

There are clear benefits and drawbacks to working from a home office. It’s more convenient, and can be much less expensive to work at home. It can ease your stress by eliminating commuting. But, it can be lonely, and you’ll need to be self-disciplined about both getting down to work and then ending your workday because the lines between home and work will easily blur. You may also lose out on networking and learning opportunities.
Among the positives:
  • No need to commute. You’ll save time and money on transportation costs, as well as your wardrobe, while reducing your daily stress.
  • More flexible. You can choose to work at your most productive time of day and create an environment in which you work best.
  • More balanced. There’s no guarantee, but by creating your own environment, you’ll have a better chance of maintaining balance between your work life and personal life.
The disadvantages:
  • Self-discipline is a must. You’re on your own in your own home. The lines between work and home are likely to blur. You’ll need to be motivated and self-disciplined.
  • Are you okay with isolation? Not everyone can work from home. Working on your own day after day without face-to-face time with colleagues can be very lonely. However, social media and tools such as Facetime and Skype can help you connect with clients, colleagues and other business partners.
  • Shutting down at night can be difficult. While you may establish a better work/personal life balance, if you don’t have the discipline to set boundaries and you tend to overwork, you run the risk of work encroaching on family time.
  • Loss of learning opportunities. Beyond the isolation of working alone, you will lose opportunities to learn from others informally and to network. You still can find those opportunities, but it will take more effort.

Game Plan

Evaluate the pros and cons by reading articles and by talking with others who have established a home office.
Next steps:
  • Think about whether you can effectively run your business from home. Will you meet with clients? If so, would your home location affect your professional image? Would background noise be a distraction or annoyance?
  • Assess how well-suited you are to working from home, isolated from face-to-face contact with colleagues and clients. Are you able to be disciplined and accountable?
  • Do a cost/benefit analysis. Weigh any interruptions or possible productivity losses against cost savings.
  • To help get a better idea of why you might or might not want to work from home, read relevant articles and books. This article covers the basics of “The Pros and Cons of Working from Home.”
  • Think about whether your home could accommodate an office within its existing space, whether that would suit your needs, and whether you’d be happy and productive in such a situation.
  • Talk with people you know who have successfully created a home office.
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