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The 5 Best and Worst Things About Working from Home

No commuting, a flexible work schedule, and more time for family and individual pursuits are some of the advantages of working at home. There are disadvantages as well, however, including isolation and 24-hour access to your office (and work). Read on to learn more about the lifestyle and perhaps decide if it's worth pursing.
A pair of pink slippers underneath a desk with a computer keyboard on it.

Working at home offers many perks and advantages, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges you need to anticipate or overcome. Here are some of the best and worst aspects of working from home.

The 5 Best Things About Working At Home

1. Every day is casual Friday. Working at home means you can forgo the pantyhose and pumps, and instead wear whatever is comfortable. It also means setting up your work environment in ways that inspire you, including photographs, loud music and a cat keeping you company on your desk.

2. Flexible work schedule. Depending on what you do from home, you may not have total flexibility in your schedule, but most work-at-home options offer at least some wiggle room in setting your work hours and breaks. This allows you to take care of errands during non-peak traffic and shopping hours. You can volunteer in your child’s classroom or go on a field trip. As long as you get the work done, you can arrange your schedule to better meet you and your family's needs.

3. Independence. Whether you’re running a home business or telecommuting, working at home allows you the independence to do the work how you want to do it, without a boss looking over your shoulder.

4. No commuting. One of the best perks of working at home is not having to sit in traffic. You don’t have the hassle of getting yourself and the kids ready and out the door at a specific time. Instead, you can sit in your home office, wearing your pajamas and drinking coffee while watching everyone else -- with glazed looks in their eyes -- make their way to work.

5. More time for family and personal pursuits. Eliminating commuting alone frees up time that is better spent with family or engaging in activities you enjoy. Studies also show that people who work from home are more productive, getting more work done in a shorter amount of time, thereby freeing up more time to have a personal life.

The 5 Worst Things About Working At Home

1. Working too much (or not enough). Working at home means your office is in your home, available 24/7. Many home-based workers feel like they’re never off the clock because they’re compelled to check email or work on a project at any time of the day or night. The opposite can be true, as well. Some workers are easily distracted by laundry and other things in the home, or feel they have so much time that they put off working.

2. Isolation. Working at home can get lonely. There’s no office water cooler to visit when you’re bored or need a break. This has improved some with social media, but it can be hard to work at home alone if you’re a social person or enjoy having feedback from others.

3. Everything rides on you. This is especially true in home business. It’s a heavy burden to carry knowing that you only get paid if you perform. But even in telecommuting, you can be expected to perform without much support or feedback, which puts a lot of pressure on results.

4. Out of sight = out of mind. Working outside the office, particularly for telecommuters, means employers and colleagues might not think of you for promotions or social activities. This can be true in home business, as well, if your social network before included people you worked with or socialized with during the day.

5. It’s a juggling act. Being a mom is a juggling act all on its own, but working at home can make it harder, not easier. Working outside the home sets up natural boundaries for schedules and work. Being a work-at-home mom means going back and forth between being a mom and doing your (paid) work. While there is flexibility, you need routine and schedules to keep all the balls up in the air at the same time.

Despite the challenges, a bad day working at home is still better than a good day commuting to a job. With savvy scheduling, a routine and active connection to others, you can minimize the negative aspects of working at home.

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