It has never been easier to work from home than it is today. In fact, more than 4 million Americans have left the traditional workplace and telecommute. Working from home is better for the environment because it eliminates having to drive as much and it also cuts down on work-related expenses like a new office-appropriate wardrobe.
There are a lot of benefits to working from home, including being better for the environment because of the huge reduction in driving, but it's cost-effective for the employer as well. For every person who telecommutes rather than coming into the office, companies can skip the cost associated with an employee's workspace and burden on communal supplies.
While those are fairly obvious aspects of working from home, there are some pros and cons to the work from home experience that matter a lot more every day:
Pro: There's no need to get up early to face a morning commute.
Con: There's no evening commute. While morning commutes are awful traffic jams where everyone is tired and cranky, evening commutes are a glorious time to de-stress by cranking up music during the transition from work to home. There's not a clear end of the work day when you work at home and it's really hard to shift your mindset.
Pro: There's a lot of flexibility in your work schedule.
Con: While you might have more flexibility to schedule appointments or run a couple errands than your office-bound colleagues, there are always friends and family members who don't seem to get that you do have to work. Just because you happen to be at your house doesn't mean you're available for them to drop by unannounced, meet up for lunch or watch their kids at the drop of a hat.
Pro: You don't get sucked in to drama around the office.
Con: You also get left out of all of the fun team-building stuff and the FOMO is a bit much when you see your coworkers being good friends. Instead of going out to happy hour with everyone, you just drink by yourself on your couch and try not to give in to the soul-crippling loneliness.
Pro: You are able to focus on your work without the distractions of an office.
Con: Without an office full of people to keep your weird habits in check, you basically forget how to act like a respectable human being or hold a normal conversation. There's also nobody to shame you into making better food choices than leftover Chinese food, Doritos and apple cider at 9:30 a.m.
Pro: You almost never have to wear real clothes.
Con: The FedEx guy gives you some serious side eye when you answer the door at 5 p.m. in your sweats with your hair falling out of your ponytail. When you do leave the house, however, your judgement of appropriate attire for different situations is completely shot. Do you need heels and jewelry to go to the doctor? Are flip flops appropriate for restaurants? These are the questions that need answers.
Bonus Pro: Your makeup lasts a lot longer, since you pretty much never use it.
Pro: You never have to miss a soccer practice or band concert, and always get to show up and be your child's biggest fan.
Con: If your children are too young for school or it's summer vacation so they're home all the time, it becomes really, really difficult to get any work done while not totally failing as a parent.
Bonus pro: No matter how bad the day gets, it's so, totally worth it.
(Header image via iStockphoto)