Is Working From Home Really As Good As It Sounds?

Katherine Scrowther

21st March 2016


The number of the UK workforce that are now working from home has dramatically increased to 4.2 million workers. The idea that you can roll out of bed, put on the kettle and ease into your workspace sounds far better than standing on a cold wet train platform waiting for the delayed, oh no it’s now cancelled, train. 

As more companies than ever disrupt the standardised view of how we work, it is worth exploring why this trend may continue and why it is not suitable for everyone.

working from home

Being commute free! 

For a lot of people, getting into their office, or needing to get home on time is becoming more stressful than the actual working day. Typically commuting is now one to three hours of a person’s day and a sizeable chunk out of the pay packet to pay for the privilege. Working from home can relieve you of that stress and actually allows people to be actively working when they could have been unable to get on their train or tube.

Flexibility 

Working from home can allow you to create your own work schedule, allowing you to prioritise your day in line with your expectations. This can relate to tasks and of course your environment. The need for a creative stimulation can be found in your garden, local park, or indeed your favourite coffee shop.

Less distractions than at work 

“Do you have a minute?” is rarely heard when you are working away from the office as you can control the contact points that you have when you are away from your colleagues or management team. Those incidental time sucks are minimised allowing you to be far more productive.

Suits family life 

Flexible working is very useful if you have a young family or other dependents that need you to be more available than you usually would plan for. Planning key times such as the school run without the pressure of getting back and getting on a train allows for a more relaxed and productive mindset – rather than a stressed reaction.

No work wear 

This is changing all the time, but there are still a lot of organisations where wearing a suit is a pre-requisite. It is sometimes a relief not to have to do this – particularly if you are trying to spend the time in ‘creative mode’. Aside from this, your dry cleaning bills reduce a lot.

So pretty compelling, and in the right circumstances this is certainly a good solution which is why it is becoming more popular than ever before. So why might this not work for everyone?

Lack of social interaction 

In the office, we are more engaged with our colleagues both through the social bonding and in terms of brainstorming sessions. This interaction can give energy and direction to workloads or projects, and allows help or advice in a timely manner. working at home can leave you very isolated and certain people can be easily distracted by the lack of day-to-day interaction with people.

It can be hard to separate work life from home life 

The merging of work and home environment can blur the boundaries of how and when someone switches off from work. As difficult as commuting can be, the opportunity to sit down, listen to music, read the paper or book, or watch streamed TV allows the winding down process from work to happen. This is far harder for many people when they work from home, especially when leaving your laptop/computer alone and returning to home life is difficult when the option to continue is still there.

Lack of motivation and excitement 

We can motivate ourselves, but sometimes it’s the team we work with that motivates us more, especially if we are working on a project. We can get so engaged with our team about finishing a project that the process of getting it done seems exciting. you can discuss with other team members about what would look good and what other ideas you could bring to the table. When you’re working on your own, you are refined to your own thoughts and it can be hard to get the excitement and motivation without a lively work environment.

Need to be self-disciplined 

Working from home can be a bigger distraction than working in an office. When at the workplace, you will be at your desk and you know you will spend those working hours sat there. When you are at home, you need to make sure you give yourself those hours and you spend them doing your work, you can become distracted by the simplest things; family, the door knocking or the phone ringing. You may also find yourself cutting your work hours down because you’re at home and you know you can.

Being out of the loop with company developments 

A lot goes on at the office such as morning meetings, company/team updates from your manager, team developments, work changes, occurring problems or successes. If you’re working from home then there will be a lot that you will miss out on. The only information you will be provided with will be via email or phone and that’s not going to tell you everything a face-to-face meeting or discussion would have. Also what if there’s a promotion coming up? How inclined will you be to get it if you’re not in your managers sight every day?

This by no means is an exhaustive list, and there are no absolutes on this topic. Circumstances, personal preference, self-awareness, type of work needed to produce are all considerations in this. What is exciting is that more companies than ever before are prepared to offer flexible working arrangements either as standard or particular roles meaning people have the choice to engage in a career that fits around their personal needs.

Here at Just IT Recruitment we have a variety of roles available. If you are considering getting into a new career, you can give one of our recruitment consultants a call today on 020 7426 9835 or see our latest vacancies here. We can advise you on your career and which role would be suitable for you. 

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