The Pros and Cons of Working at Home
by Greg Crisci on Friday, August 13th, 2010
With atoms turning to bits, traditional models of business being overruled by freshly paved business models, companies are looking for more ways to upgrade their productivity. Working from home isn’t a new concept and now with the ability to perpetually connect to anyone, anywhere, at anytime, there has been a push for employers to allow their employees to stay at home. We are becoming the work at home generation.
Having only worked in the small business arena and as a current entrepreneur, I am all for this movement. Though, in the midst of starting two companies (all from home) I have realized that one must set concrete boundaries for themselves as well as the loved ones around them.
I gathered and re-purposed many of the pros and cons I have come across as well as added some personal examples myself.
Working from home provides the flexibility that some people want and need. Flexibility in terms of when and where to put your hours in. One day I can be sitting in my home office working on my business plan, but next minute be working in the backyard. I get more accomplished from having the flexibility to change my scenario than being confined to one place. I use dropbox to keep all my files in one central location in which I can access from my laptop or desktop.
With flexibility comes control of being able to set your own schedule and deadlines. This requires the type of person who is very disciplined and goal oriented. If you require a lot of direction, working from home probably isn’t good idea.
Cultivates a Creative Environment
For the right-brained folks, having the leisure to build our space is highly prized. This is seen in the cubicle world of many businesses, especially at places like Zappos where creating your own personal space is part of the culture. However, it is still at an office.
No Dress Code
There is no dress code and that saves money. Though, some people like the process of dressing up. In my experience people who do not dress the part work just as hard or even harder than people who do.
Never leave work
While the flexibility and control of working from home is a plus, the negative of this situation is the risk of not being able to separate home-like from work-life. One can easily become distracted. To combat this issue, I would suggest setting a place of the house to be solely for business. In my house, my room is my office. But, I am different.
Lack of Office Camaraderie
We all need to socialize. It’s human nature to want to compete. This is why some organizations foster the competitive spirit and look for it when deciding who to hire. A lack of camaraderie is dangerous because it eliminates that human element to your business.
Brainstorming is Difficult
It is hard to brainstorm with one person. It’s difficult because you are the only one at home. But, with new technology, work at homers are now becoming more meeting based which brings the client to them.
Not being in contact with the office can seem nice but when it comes to key decision issues, it can be very difficult. I have run into this problem several times. To overcome this, my company has setup mandatory weekly conference calls. At these meetings we discuss any key changes that occurred that week, we show off any new and exciting advances and we set goals for the next week. Throughout the week we keep in contact through e-mail, phone and SMS.
Technology is moving to support more work at home businesses. Though there will still be a need to get your competitive fix and be the social butterfly that you are. I am interested in seeing where and how businesses will utilize the many benefits and overcome the negative issues that surround working at home to accomplish something more seamless.
Do you work from home? How do you handle it? What else do you like and dislike?