Working at Home: Pros and Cons – Noetic Psychiatry
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Working at Home: Pros and Cons

Welcome to Episode 2 of the work-life balance series! In Episode 1, we introduced the series and discussed a few important tips like the 80/20 rule. Here in round 2, we’ll be talking about the pros and cons of working from home.

It seems that in recent years, everybody has been looking for work-at-home positions to fill. It’s certainly an easy concept to romanticize; who doesn’t want a 10-second commute, or to work in their PJs, or to get cheap, homemade lunch breaks at home? Just imagine all the stress that could take away!

Well, these perks and more are certainly valid. Having spent much of my work time for the past year at home, I can vouch for that. But it’s no picnic, either. Below is a list of my favorite work-at-home pros and cons.

Pros

  • Flexible schedule. You may have conference calls here and there and be tied to time-sensitive tasks, but for the most part working from home means you can sleep, eat, relax, and work when you want to.
  • No dress code. Again, this one may be affected somewhat by conference calls (especially of the video variety), but otherwise footie pajamas or jeans and a grungy t-shirt are totally fair game.
  • Food. Close-by pantry? Check. Longer lunch breaks? Check. No coworkers judging your Cheetos-fingers-on-the-keyboard habit? Check.
  • Family. If you’re like me and love spending time with your family, this is huge. Every meal where other family members are around becomes bonding time. You can take breaks to play catch when the kids come home from school. And even if you have to laser-focus on work all day, you can at least sit together.

Cons

  • Longer work day. Obviously, if you’re taking breaks to be with family, relax during lunchtime, or even grab an afternoon siesta, you’re gonna have to get that time back somewhere. You may start earlier and end later than your in-office coworkers. (I’ve heard stories of some at-home employees starting the work day at 4:30am and ending it at 10pm. Ouch.)
  • (Source: Tony Babel, dribbble.com)

  • Less focus. In my experience, this is one of the toughest hurdles to jump. Especially when there’s family around, it can be easy to redirect attention a thousand different ways. There have been a couple of occasions where I ended up working extra hours later without clocking in just to make up the difference. That hurts.
  • Instability. You’d think that being on someone else’s payroll would totally counteract anxiety over paycheck woes, and for the most part that’s true. However, the less-structured workday established in an at-home position can sometimes lead to long weekends catching up on work hours. Anxiety over whether or not you’ve worked long enough this week is a major mood-killer.

There is Hope

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, I had no idea that such an awesome thing had so many terrible drawbacks!” Well, that may be true. But there are ways we can combat these issues.

  • Set your hours. Seems simple enough, right? The trick is to have a stick-to-it attitude about the hours you set. Sure, flexibility takes a hit, but so does anxiety over getting things done or spending too much time on work.
  • Use a home office. If you have an office, den, spare bedroom, or even a stool in the laundry room, having a dedicated workspace can bring all the focus back. Just make sure the kids know not to come in unannounced.
  • Work from someplace else. Counterintuitive, I know, but many of the perks of working at home remain when you sit in the public library or at your local Starbucks. The key is that your mind will switch to work mode if you have a spot just for working.

Conclusion

Working from home can be an amazing opportunity for independence, growth, and lasting contentment in your career. Many individuals, including myself, have enjoyed the extra family time it affords. With the right attitude of balance, determination, and focus—as well as a willingness to set a few ground rules—it might be just what you need.

 
Daniel Moster is an office/IT intern at Noetic Psychiatry, who also occasionally moonlights as a writer, mandolin player, and student of Family Life at Brigham Young University. In his free time, he enjoys collecting hobbies, eating sugary foods, and spending time with his beautiful wife and son.

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