With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions worldwide, many companies are reopening their offices to employees, slowly bringing back the pre-pandemic office cultures. Nowadays, many companies offer three work setting options for employees: Home, Office or Hybrid.
Some people prefer the formal office setting, while others prefer a casual home setting or a mix of both environments. To understand which is more suitable for you, we have to look at the options and fit them to your preferences and personalities. In this article, we help you weigh the main pros and cons of working from home and working from the office.
Pros of Working From Home vs Office
Pros of Working From Home
1) Increased Flexibility
Assuming employers keep the standard traditional work hours of 9 to 6, working from home allows you to do things like waking up later and having a flexible lunch hour. You have more control over your day’s schedule, which helps to improve your work-life balance.
An Airtasker survey reports that a worker saves an average of 8.5 hours a week by not commuting to work. This number adds up to 408 hours that are saved per year! With a work-from-home setting, morning and evening commutes are abolished. This frees up more time and allows it to be used in other areas, such home workouts or self-improvement time.
3) Reduced Costs
Having home-cooked meals, wearing only home clothes and doing away with commuting all help to reduce your expenses. Over an extended period, this certainly adds up to a significant amount of money saved.
4) No Office Distractions
Working at home allows you to remove distractions you usually face in the office, such as chattering and office noises. If you are easily distracted, a work-from-home setting can spare you from them.
Pros of Working From Office
1) Defined Work Structure
Being in the office means following rules and routines that most workplaces have set for their employees. Set work hours, a clear schedule or even a designated desk for employees help establish order in the workplace. The workplace offers universally recognised boundaries and expectations, which can boost productivity.
2) Better Communication
During the work day, there are plenty of opportunities where employees can communicate directly with one another. Such settings can help clear up any questions or doubts quickly, which cannot be done as efficiently as working from home.
3) Networking Opportunities
Getting to know other people in the office helps expand your network because offline interactions are less transactional, which helps establish more meaningful relationships. Who knows, the colleague you met at the pantry could help start future professional projects!
4) Builds Company Culture
With the pandemic and remote work, some companies have lost their unique culture within their workplace. Building company culture is not easy but can bring various benefits, such as increased employee morale. Being physically around, enjoying office facilities and participating in company events all adds to the company’s culture.
Cons of Working From Home vs Office
After going through the good stuff, let’s take a look at the disadvantages of working from home and working from the office.
Cons of Working From Home
1) Lesser Socialisation
Face-to-face communication turns into video calls, and physical conversations become online messages when working from home. These changes disconnect some people from each other and make it harder for socialisation to happen in the work setting.
In some cases, employees struggle to unplug from work at home. Traditionally, there would be cues to stop work, such as seeing your co-workers pack up for the day. These cues do not exist in an “always-on” digital workplace setting, making people work more in comparison.
3) Exposure to Home Distractions
While you may be free of the typical office distractions, you can also get distracted by other things at home. Some may browse social media more or take a longer mid-day nap. Family, friends and even pets can add to the list of distractions at home.
4) Setting up a Home Office
A worker’s productivity can take a hit without a proper home office setup. Problems like poor Wi-Fi connectivity and inadequate electronic equipment are common issues. Getting a better setup can also cost a lot of money. However, after the pandemic, many people have already upgraded their personal workplaces and have solved most of the problems faced with a home office.
Cons of Working From Office
For many, the hours spent every day commuting to their physical workplaces could have been used for hobbies or other leisure activities. Be it via private vehicle or public transport, the cost of commuting can also add up to a hefty amount over a while.
2) Inflexible Schedule
Work timings and lunch breaks may not be in your control in a typical work day. You can make fewer decisions for yourself, which leaves you less flexibility to enjoy things outside work hours.
3) Lack of Privacy
Open-plan offices are everywhere because the layouts are so cost-effective and supposedly increase collaboration and productivity. Open offices can be intimidating for introverts, but extroverted folks don’t like being watched all the time either.
4) Office Distractions
A typical office worker is interrupted every 11 minutes. It also takes them 25 minutes to get back to their tasks based on a study done by UC Irvine. Being in a workplace with more people makes communication more fluid and easy, which means having a noisier working environment. Your productivity can suffer as a result of these potential distractions in the workplace.
Companies are gradually opening their workplaces and allowing employees to work from the office more regularly. However, working from home is now more prevalent after the pandemic and will continue to be a viable workplace setting option for many jobs worldwide.
Now, back to the question, “Which is better for you – working from home or the office?”. The answer is that it depends on you. Your personality and preferences differ from everyone else. The best way to find out is to try both options and see which you prefer. If your company gives you the choice of your workplace setting, you should work at both locations and find what works best for your work style. If your company does not give you the options, you should still make the best out of the situation and learn how to adapt to the environment to improve your work efficiency.