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Working from Home vs Office - Pros and Cons to Consider

By Paige Tonna


Working remotely has become the new norm, with businesses across many industries maintaining work-from-home policies or adopting hybrid working models for the long term.

Younger workers have spent most of their careers enjoying flexible working arrangements, while the shift to remote working has benefited workers with young children and families and is said to improve employees' overall physical and mental health.    

Despite these benefits, many companies have been encouraging their employees to return to work in the office, with business leaders arguing that working remotely reduces productivity and is bad for their team culture.

Let’s unpack the key advantages and disadvantages of both work environments and see what’s better for you in the working from home vs office debate.

Pros of Working from Home

Better work life balance

Working from home allows employees to create a customised schedule that aligns with their personal and professional lives, with workers able to determine their start and finish times and their working environment.

Workers who are given the option to work remotely report enjoying more free time. This can be used for personal pursuits, spending more time with their family, and engaging in sports and regular exercise to take care of their physical health.

Reduced commuting times and expenses

The daily commute has long been a begrudging feature of working in the modern world, one that remote workers are happy to be rid of.

One study found that the average person saves 72 minutes per day when they are working remotely, saving them time to focus on their work rather than worrying about what time they’ll get home.

In fact, one study conducted found that 40% of time savings from commuting was instead devoted to finishing their tasks, resulting in employees working more hours than they would have in the office environment. 

Workers can also make significant cost savings when they work remotely, reducing their expenses on public transport as well as petrol and fuel costs if they choose to drive to the office.   

Potential for increased employee productivity

One of the key points of contention when discussing the advantages and disadvantages of remote work and working from home relates to productivity levels.

When remote work became widespread in response to public health orders, economists and business leaders expressed productivity concerns. The thought of workers wasting their time distracted by Netflix or playing video games was raised early on.

Although this has been the case for some, many businesses reported the opposite, with remote work productivity being higher than in office productivity.

According to the Future Forum’s Pulse Winter Snapshot for 2023, 39% of workers state feeling more productive at home and 64% say they have a greater ability to focus at home where they can control their home environments. 

This has often resulted in greater revenue returns, more finished projects and better outcomes for businesses, although the scale of these benefits varies between industries. 

When they have the flexibility to dictate their schedule workers can also complete tasks at their own pace, allowing them to manage their time and stay productive whilst enjoying regular breaks if they so choose more efficiently.

Cons of Working From Home

Reduced face-to-face interaction and social isolation

You can’t beat face-to-face communication.

While technology facilitates communication through video calls and virtual meetings, many agree it simply doesn’t cut it.

Team culture and creating connections heavily relies on casual conversations, impromptu meetings, and spending time together in the office

Here, we run into a complication.

Remote workers may experience feelings of social isolation due to the absence of these interactions. This can lead them to be less engaged with their work and company by no longer seeing the bigger picture of their day-to-day work.

It also leads to less cohesion as a team and the sense of belonging that comes from being physically present with colleagues in an office environment.

Difficulty separating work and personal life

One of the downsides of the potential increased productivity remote work offers is that many people tend to work longer hours and blur the lines between an individual’s work and personal/ home life.

The absence of physical separation and not exiting an office at 5 PM each day makes it challenging for some individuals to “switch off” from work. Unfortunately, it can lead to neglecting personal needs and increased stress.

It might also result in overworking, burnout, issues with their mental health, and the risk of developing unhealthy habits that are detrimental to their well-being.

Lack of access to resources and equipment

The pandemic made remote workers realise they weren’t equipped with the necessary technology, physical space, and equipment to make the business work.

Fast track a few years, and many businesses are stuck in the same situation. While they’ve been given funds for buying office furniture, they still lack access to reliable internet and cybersecurity measures, like a VPN.

The list of semi-frequent disruptions to someone’s workday in a remote setting is even worse for those living in areas prone to internet outages. The same applies to those who don’t have a second monitor, a printer, and other office amenities.

Pros of Working in Office

Opportunities for collaboration and teamwork

Collaboration, teamwork, and interpersonal interactions have long been the appeal of in-office work for their role in fostering the exchange of ideas and brainstorming to make your service or product more commercially viable.

In fact, it can be said that one of the main reasons companies have adopted hybrid work over full-time remote work is because of the importance that collaboration plays in getting things done and achieving business goals.

There’s nothing like watching coworkers come together in the office to work on a shared project, leading to new innovations that make the lives of everyone easier.

Alternatively, if a work crisis comes up that requires urgent attention, being together in the office allows for quicker decision-making to solve the issue immediately, especially when every second counts.   

Access to necessary resources and equipment

Working in an office ensures ready access to resources and equipment required for the job, whether it's high-end computing equipment or meeting rooms.

And if the hybrid work setting is a non-negotiable for your company, then flexible workspaces are your ideal option. Serviced offices provide businesses with the team, technology, and space at the fraction of the cost of a traditional office – all while giving hybrid capabilities.

Better focus and less potential distractions

As appealing as it is to work in your controlled home environment, it's undeniable that the office setting boasts fewer distractions.

​​For some individuals, the structured environment of an office space provides a conducive environment for focused work without interruptions such as chores that need to be done.

Workers are also more likely to maintain a routine when they are in the office, setting clear start and finish times and sticking to their usual 12:30 pm lunch breaks, enabling effective time management.

Cons of Working in Office

Commuting time and expenses

Traffic jams, trains running late and the occasional bus breakdowns have long made the daily commute to the office unbearable for many workers, resulting in less time for themselves.  

As previously touched on, the commute is also the main contributor to the financial burden that employees face when working in the office, with many having to pay hundreds each week in fuel, public transport and other associated costs.

In Australia, hybrid jobs and remote workers save on average $216 a week, whilst in the United Kingdom they can save up to £7000 per year.

Limited flexibility and work life balance

Office-based work often comes with a fixed schedule, limiting the flexibility that some employees value.

The requirement to adhere to set work hours may make it challenging for individuals with personal commitments or preferences for more flexible working arrangements.

May feel more confining than working from home

For those accustomed to the freedom of remote work, the office environment may feel confining if their new job requires them to be in the office full time.

The structured nature of an office, with designated workspaces and set routines, may not align with the preferences of employees who thrive in a more flexible and autonomous working environment.

The choice between working from home and the office involves a careful consideration of individual preferences, job requirements, and the nature of tasks.

For many companies, striking a balance that accommodates both personal and professional needs is crucial in the evolving landscape of the contemporary working landscape.

The advantages and disadvantages outlined here provide a framework for individuals and organisations to make informed decisions based on their unique circumstances.

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