The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

9/02/2014


If you didn't know already, I work for a small (but quickly growing) Silicon Valley startup company.  Since we are still in the building blocks stage of our company and have a globally distributed team we do not yet have a permanent office. Thus I work from home...or rather more accurately, I work from wherever I happen to be living at the time (which is currently in Pretoria, South Africa!). A lot of people (those who don't work from home) seem to have rather harsh opinions of what it must be like to work from home, and those opinions tend to be either extremely positive of extremely negative. As a person who has worked from home for the past two and half years I feel qualified to give my views of the pros and cons of the work from home life. So here they are:

Pros

Sweatpants, hair tied, chillin with no makeup on
I'll be honest, most days I have two outfits: pajamas and workout clothes. Since you're living your life behind a computer you don't really need to get dressed up for anyone. For people like me, who would prefer to feel comfortable over looking chic and finds squeezing into a pair of jeans one of the most unpleasant experiences ever, this part is awesome.

I must warn you though, after a point spending your life in your pjs does take its toll and makes you feel like a complete slob. I do feel that it is extremely healthy to make sure to get out of your house and do things which require you to at least make yourself look presentable whether it be going out to get some groceries, treating yourself to a nice lunch, or taking the night off to go see a movie....which leads me to my next point.

You set your own schedule
This is probably one of my favorite things about working from home.  First off, I can wake up whenever I want. There is no more waking up at the crack of dawn in order to get ready, have breakfast, and make the commute to go to work. I usually aim to get working at around 9 a.m. (sometimes sooner or later depending on what I've got going on, how late I went to bed etc.) but I am literally at work as soon as I wake up. I try to set somewhat of a regular sleep schedule for myself or else I end up sleeping in way too late and just feel lazy.

But what I appreciate more than being able to get some extra zzz's in when I really need it is being able to go out to run and errand in the middle of the day since I'm not tied down to a desk. Need to make a doctor's appointment but don't want to go through the ordeal of getting permission from your supervisors?...no problem. Want to go to the grocery store to avoid going with the post-work crowd...sure thing.

No desks
Okay, this one is sort of random. Desks are great and I totally appreciate their invention, but I'm the kind of girl who after a while gets extremely uncomfortable cramped up sitting in one position for hours on end. I really appreciate being able to sprawl out on the floor, lay in bed or on the sofa to work. In fact, when I'm in South Africa I work almost exclusively from a big comfy chair.

Cons

You're always  at work
At a normal 9 to 5 your work hours are much more defined for you and once you leave the office you feel a sense of relief and a mental "clocking out". When you work from home you are literally always  at work.  Especially when you're in a startup where everyone becomes so heavily invested in the company, it becomes difficult to not think or talk about work even when you're not working.  I've realized the importance of letting work slip to the very back of your mind and letting yourself have personal time.

Procrastinating is easier
I definitely think that in order to be able to work at home (and be successful at it) you must be very self motivated because when it comes to procrastination #thestrugglesireal. Since there is no one constantly micromanaging you the responsibility of getting things done rests completely on your shoulders.

When you have the option of replying to an email from a frustrated customer or watching a relaxing YouTube video of [insert your favorite youtuber here]'s monthly favorites making the correct decision is extremely hard. Instead I try to motivate myself by setting up little rewards. For example, if I finish tasks x y and z then I'll let myself watch a 5 minute YouTube video.

If you were thinking of the possibility of working from home or just curious about what it's really like there ya go. Of course if you have any additional questions please feel free to reach out or leave a comment :)



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