There has been a growing trend of people pursuing careers allowing them to work from home. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management suggests that the number of available telecommuting jobs is rising as more companies are offering these positions on a growing basis.
As a freelance writer, I myself have been intrigued by the possibilities that working from home can yield. Now having an equal amount of experience in both a telecommuting and on-site position, I feel confident enough to weigh the advantages and disadvantages that working from home can offer.
It is no secret that increased autonomy is a major advantage that comes with working from home. Personally, freedom was the number one factor that motivated me to pursue a career with which I could work from home. The idea of being able to make my own schedule, set my own hours and have greater control over my work-life seemed like a no-brainer.
Along with this freedom, I have also found myself to be more productive while working from home as opposed to an office setting. This experience isn’t just anecdotal however, as the Harvard Business Review seems to be in agreement.
A study was conducted to see how one half of a company’s employees fared while working from home, compared to the other half who remained in the office. The results suggest that individuals who work from home not only are more satisfied, but also more productive than their cubicle-residing counterparts.
The positives are all we ever hear about in regards to working from home. Although all of the news coverage may suggest otherwise, I can assure you that it is not all sunshine and rainbows.
There is a strong sense of isolation that comes with working from home. This can be beneficial at time in terms of productivity, but it also contributes to a feeling of loneliness. Additionally, it can be difficult to maintain effective communication with fellow employees.
Another real disadvantage is the chances of stagnation. Working from home, you are naturally seen less in the office. This means less interaction and fewer chances to make positive impressions on your employees. As a remote worker, you will have to work harder to stick out amongst the crowd and fight for your promotions.
I completely understand the enticing factor that telecommuting jobs carry with them. However, I think it's important for people to understand the complete picture before deciding whether working at home is an appropriate fit for them. Some may find working from home to be a perfect fit while others could realize it's not all it's cracked up to be.