The internet, email and Skype have made it easier than ever to work from home. More and more businesses are allowing, even encouraging, employees to work remotely.
Freelancing from a deck chair or chaise longue may be fashionable but, like most things, there are pros and cons.
Pro: Freedom and flexibility
One of the biggest pluses of working from home is you can get the job done in your own time and at your own pace. You have the flexibility and freedom that’s rarely, if ever, available when the boss is doing the rounds.
You can wear comfortable clothing, let down your hair and take several coffee, mid-morning, lunch and tea breaks without glancing at your watch.
Similarly, if you feel the urge to do household chores before hitting the keyboard, spreadsheets or ledgers, there’s no one about to raise an eyebrow and say that you can’t!
Pro: Multiple savings
Work from home, and you’re automatically in line for cross-category savings. You’ll save as a result of a more casual wardrobe, less frequent haircuts and less need for those genuine leather work shoes. You’ll also save money on bus tickets, train fares or petrol and maintenance for a car.
You’ll save oodles of time due to not having to commute. You can literally slide out of bed and onto your ergonomic work chair, an action that takes a few minutes out of your day.
And if real money savings are key to your happiness, even the tax man supports you with work-from-home tax breaks. You’ll find many of your home office expenses are tax deductible.
Work from home, and it’s likely you’ll have more money in your pocket. If you’re working freelance, expect some hair-raising ups and downs in your month to month income though!
If you have a family, one of the greatest incentives to work from home is being available to drop off, and pick up your kids from school. You’re onsite when those little emergencies occur, and you can lay down the law, and monitor performance and behaviour, in between handling work-related chores.
You won’t have that irritated and anxious feeling induced by hour-long traffic snarls, and you’ll have more time to be a good mom or dad.
Con: Self -discipline issues
If you have problems with motivation and self-discipline, working from home is not for you. You’ve got to be the kind of person who sets a routine, and sticks to it. You can’t afford to be side-tracked by the doorbell, your phone, social media, the TV or the temptation of an afternoon nap.
Even if you can keep yourself at your desk, that may not be enough. You also have to be able to prioritise properly.
Otherwise, with nobody directing or monitoring your work except you, you might end up wasting time, missing deadlines and losing focus.
Con: Space guzzler
Home offices are space guzzlers. You’ll need a day-to-day workspace, and that might mean having to give up an extra bedroom, a study or even half your living room.
At minimum, you’ll need space for a desk and office chair, your computer and any office equipment, files and stationery you use to get your job done.
Con: No socialising or networking
A major con of working from home is the isolation. There are no co-workers or colleagues to chat to, have lunch with or share trade secrets with, and nobody to comment on your achievements or notice the extra hours you’re putting in.
This can get depressing even for the most introverted of people. In turn, it can have a negative impact on your relationships with family and friends.
At home, there’s also no opportunity for networking, or expanding your business contacts. This can hamper your ability to get new business, hear about developments and stay competitive.
Con: There’s no “going home”
Working from home makes it especially difficult to “leave work at work” at the end of the work day.
You may find it difficult to forget about work-related stresses after hours and on weekends, and it’s easy to become a workaholic. This can interfere with your family relationships and your health.
The best of both: The Workspace
With coworking at The Workspace, you can have the best of both worlds.
Work for part of each week – or whenever you choose – in a comfortable, professionally decorated and fully equipped office environment, but manage your own time and work.
Each branch of The Workspace offers a variety of different types of workspaces, along with high-speed internet and business infrastructure that’s already in place. When you need to focus, use a private booth. When you’re ready to network with like-minded people, join a more communal work area or head for a coffee.
Need to meet business colleagues, clients or partners? As part of a coworking package, you’ll have access to professionally appointed meeting rooms. You’ll also be able to use on-site video conferencing facilities and a range of business services.
Our coworking packages are flexible, affordable and available at central locations throughout Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Contact us online or call us on 0861 250 259 to find out more or arrange a tour of a branch near you.