Although I can’t speak for everyone, I’ll bet there’s a good chunk of you out there who both love AND hate either working from home, in the office, or both. I’m talking about walking that weird tightrope line where you miss the way things used to be pre-2020 but also aren’t ready to leave the hand you’ve currently been dealt. Then there’s the boatload of you that just stepped back into the office and miss the commute that comes with walking from your bedroom to that cozy home office where the only morning traffic might consist of something left on the floor or moving around a piece of furniture. Each side has its ups and downs, pros and cons, or steaks and baloneys…
Since the pandemic, I have had the pleasure of working remote in my little home office (also known as The Geek Den due to the overabundance of movie posters, DVDs, and film memorabilia). I miss walking into an office, getting out of the house/apartment, and saying “good morning” to my team members using the forgotten art of eye contact. At the same time, I love wearing sweatpants, avoiding traffic, running my dishes/laundry, and watching TV during lunchbreaks.
Here are the breakdowns of those advantages and disadvantages along with the ugly truth of the matter:
Home Sweet Home
- It’s just so damn convenient! It’s a nice feeling to balance house chores with work tasks. You can send that deliverable to your boss then get up real fast to swap out the dishwasher. Then you can attend your virtual meeting before quickly dumping your hamper into the washing machine.
- As stated, you just can’t beat that commute. Say goodbye to driving 15-30 minutes or more to work every morning and praying you beat the inevitable traffic. Until teleportation is invented, there’s nothing better than getting ready for the day in your bedroom or bathroom and walking over to your home office to jump into your work. My commute is approximately 7 seconds, how about yours?
- Every day is Casual Friday! I mean, you can throw on a collared shirt or a nice blouse for the virtual meetings, but nobody sees what you’re wearing from the waist down. Whatever your preference is, feel free to rock those jeans, sweatpants, pajamas, gym shorts, etc.
- For some, it can feel a little isolating. Too much time alone can really take a toll on your mental health. The company of other people is a much-needed luxury for a lot of us and working near your coworkers in person at the office can really be the cure you need if you feel shut-in. May I recommend some good tunes and a few walks outside?
- How’s that motivation doing? It can be easy to get distracted or lose motivation when you’re working at home. If you’re working while your partner/spouse, roommate(s), or children are home also, then it might be a struggle getting work done. Taking a break, doing your chores, and starting whenever you’re ready in the morning can be nice, but too much freedom can fracture your urgency. I don’t know about you, but I need to be around other people working to work at full capacity and keep that productivity at its highest.
Just Another Day at the Office
- Fellowship with others is healthy. Whether you’re an introvert or not, it’s good to be around other people when it comes to maintaining good mental health. Human contact can improve your mood, productivity, and overall quality of life. There’s just a nice feeling of working next to others who share a common goal. Water cooler talks and crackin’ jokes is fun! As The Lego Movie told us, “Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.”
- Communication is key! It is so much easier to communicate things with vocal tones and facial expressions and simply walking over to someone’s desk in the office. Conversation trumps texting or emailing any day. Sure, you can still do virtual talks or meetings, but that’s a whole process that includes scheduling, hoping they’re around to see that invite, and remembering to execute it. By being in an office nearby, everyone can really improve an organization’s internal communication.
- Sometimes, it’s the calmness or the comfort of the home that gets the creative juices flowing. There are a lot of you who turn in your best work when you don’t feel like coworkers or superiors are watching your every move. It can relieve pressure which brings down the anxiety levels thus sharpening the mental stability to a degree. When you’re in the office, everyone is right there with you in a space that isn’t yours.
- With the pandemic still being an issue, you can’t avoid the health risks that go with the office. It is much safer to work at home. No matter how many mandates or precautions are put into place for your office, home will always be the physically healthier option (I can’t say the same for mental health).
The Ugly (Truth)
When it comes to working remote or in-office, it’s not up to you. It’s up to your leadership. Whatever they say is whatever goes. After 2020, remote working and virtual meetings are here to stay for several businesses. There’s zero chance that everything’s going back to “normal” because that word now has a new meaning. It’s cool when leadership gives you the option to choose where you work from, but that ain’t always the case. If you prefer one over the other, then you’ll need to find an opportunity that caters to your preference. It’s not what is better or worse, it’s what works best for you professionally.