Me at my desk considering pros and cons of remote working

Pros and Cons of Remote Working From Someone Who Knows

Are you planning to work outside the office? If so, your timing is perfect. The era of the traditional office grind is drawing to a close, and it’s a whole new world waiting to be explored.

As someone who works from home for five years, writes about home offices, and sometimes travels while I work, I have learned first-hand what this new way of working is like. It has a lot going for it that benefit your productivity. Still, life isn’t all rosy.

Working from home presents some interesting challenges. Over time I’ve found ways to work around them. This article is here to help you do the same so that you make the most of this wonderful way of working.

So, grab your favorite mug or wine glass, and let’s examine the pros and cons of remote working. By the end of this article, you should be able to grow in your job no matter where you are.

I’ll start with the pros since they are the most fun. You might learn there are more advantages than you originally thought.

Wave “Goodbye” to That Soul-Crushing Commute

aerial photography of freeway traffic

Ugh, the daily commute – that mind-numbing slog through traffic and cramped public transit. It’s a soul-sucking ritual that drains your time and sanity before you even start work.

You can now joyfully kick the commute to the curb. No more white-knuckle drives or awkward transit naps on strangers’ shoulders. Just roll out of bed or stroll to the nearest coffee shop, and voila – you’re ready!

With the long commute eliminated, you reclaim precious hours, have more time for the things that matter, and experience less stress trying to maintain a healthy work/life balance. You can also pat yourself on the back because you’re doing the planet a favor by reducing your carbon footprint.

You Can Create a Workspace You Love

A home desk setup

Working in an office often means you are trapped into the interior design and office products they provide you. However, working from home means you can create a home office setup with work tools you love that still gives you everything you need to get the job done. You can also choose a design scheme that speaks best for you. All traits combined will put your productivity in the fast lane.

Pajama Productivity: The Ultimate Dress Code for Success

woman in white shirt sitting on brown wooden armchair with laptop

Let’s be honest – traditional office dress codes are the worst. Having to put together wardrobes of crisp, wrinkle-free attire to sit at a desk for 8+ hours just doesn’t make sense.

When working remotely, you gain more flexibility with your wardrobe. You can avoid all that work of getting “appropriately” dressed and still get stuff done. You can still whip out that crisp shirt or jacket anytime there is a Zoom call and stash it away again until the next call comes.

Outside of that, the world is your oyster. At home or in your hotel, your pajamas can become your power suit. The dress code is: anything goes, as long as you’re getting work done.

You’ll be amazed at how freeing it is to dress for maximum couch potato comfort without anyone batting an eye. You’ll also be working faster than you think.

No More Awkward Watercooler Chit-Chat

a group of people standing around talking to each other near watercooler

Aren’t watercooler conversations the worst? Those forced social interactions are the bane of office life and waste precious work time. You already needed to commute and sit in meetings, but now Steve from Accounting wants to tell you about his fantasy football lineup. Becky from HR traps you to show off pics from her cat’s quinceañera. All those cringeworthy chit-chats are now avoided at home, so you can actually get things done.

Your Bathroom, Your Throne

a bathroom with a glass shower and toilet

Let’s face it: trips to the office restroom aren’t all that comfortable. You sit in a cramped stall, lack privacy, and have that inevitable awkward encounter with a coworker as you both… you know.

On the road, you have at least the convenience of not having to know the people you are next to. At home, your bathroom is your sanctuary, your throne room away from prying eyes and judgments. You can be there as long as you want and be as loud as you want without insecurity. You can take care of business with grace, dignity, and as much dawdling as you require. Heck, bring your phone or a book, too. Your home, your rules.

Multitasking to the Max

person folding laundry

One of the beautiful perks of remote working is having your entire life at your fingertips. Why just grind away at your computer when you could be conquering loads of laundry at the same time?

By far, this is one of the biggest benefits of working from home. Doing two things at once frees up an immense amount of time for other things you enjoy.

Toss in a load during a quick break, then swap it to the dryer between meetings. Meal prep like a superhero while on a conference call. Squeeze in some vacuuming during that next Pomodoro break. The possibilities for doubling (or tripling) your productivity are staggering.

Eating Was Never So Easy

man cutting vegetables in kitchen

Remember those sad office lunches of wilted salads or lukewarm Hot Pockets sludged down at your desk? Or the expensive hassle of going out to eat daily? When working from home, sad desk meals are ancient history – your full kitchen is just a few steps away.

Enjoy delicious, energizing meals cheaper and faster than if you were eating at the office. The home kitchen opens up a world of affordable, healthy lunch options on your schedule. When lunch is over, clean up and dive right back into work. The more food prep you do beforehand, the cheaper and easier your eating becomes.

If you work at a coffee shop, food is just steps away, and healthier options may be right around the corner.

Your Pet is Your Purr-fect Work Companion

man sitting on rolling chair holding dog

Our furry friends make the ultimate work-from-home colleagues. You can also save significant money taking care of your pet while working from home vs. from an office. Gone are the days of sneaking lunchtime pet visits or hiring someone to walk them. When you work remotely, your pup or kitty can cuddle up next to you for warm companionship. You can take a walk with them whenever you like.

Best of all, their presence boosts your productivity. Studies show interaction with animals increases mood-boosting neurotransmitters. (LINK) They’re also down for a spontaneous snuggle when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

You Can Exercise More Easily

Person on a treadmill in a home office

You can use the same space and benefit of privacy to keep yourself in shape during your workday. You won’t have to get in your car, drive to the gym, do your workout, shower, and race back to work or home. All you need is right next to you, making it easier to fit in exercise, stretching, or yoga to combat aches and pains at your desk.

There are plenty of home office gym ideas that will work no matter the size your workspace or home.

With any pros come cons. Here are the drawbacks of working from home and solutions to protect yourself.

Knowing When to Take a Break

a stressed woman sitting in front of a laptop computer

Surprisingly, you will get more done while working from home. In fact, you may work too much. With no scheduled commute to forcibly separate work and home life, it can be tempting to just…never stop working. Your office is always there, mere steps away, seductively calling you to “just knock out one more thing.”

Before you know it, you’ve worked through lunch, missed your evening workout, and are still typing away at midnight in your pajamas. The lack of boundaries and change of scenery makes it extremely difficult to disengage from the grind and easily leads to burnout, which is a serious issue I faced. In fact, I wrote an entire article on it for Upwork’s company blog.

To combat this, set clear start and stop times. Burnout can quickly occur if you don’t stick to set hours, take real breaks, and, most importantly, learn to shut it all down completely when the day is done.

If you let it, remote work can completely suck the life out of you. Set those boundaries early before “just one more thing” becomes an unhealthy habit.

Netflix is Productivity’s Kryptonite

black flat screen tv turned on displaying Netflix

Working from home means Netflix and all your other streaming services are just one click away. With no prying eyes or managers prowling the office, the temptation is even bigger to check out that latest episode.

Streaming isn’t the only threat – video games, social media, and countless other digital indulgences whisper their distractions.

Working from home requires intense self-discipline. Like work hours, setting defined TV and gaming hours keeps you on track.

Social Isolation Makes You Forget How to Human

grayscale photography of woman facing window

Sure, the lack of awkward watercooler chit-chat was a pro at first. But over time, something more insidious begins to set in – you slowly forget how to function around actual humans. This is especially true when working at home or visiting new places in your remote work journey.

Isolation was a big challenge for me at first. With no coworkers around, days can blur together into a hermit-like existence. Your social skills begin to disappear until basic conversations feel awkward and draining. You also miss out on those casual daily work interactions and incidental discussions that spark new ideas and perspectives.

Stay proactive about scheduling regular interaction, even if just video calls. Get out of your home office and re-engage with society so you don’t devolve into a hermit.

Fighting Off Snack Attacks

brown round cookie on white surface

Being close to your kitchen or working in a coffee shop is good for lunch but a challenge for snack time. All your food cravings – not all of them healthy – are just steps away. Combined with the risk of working longer hours at a desk, you may start putting on the pounds.

The best solution is to choose your snacks wisely, such as bars high in protein. Regularly drinking water will also reduce the urge to eat while keeping you hydrated. Your body and mind will feel great when fully lubricated.

Family Distractions

boy and girl having pillow fight

If you have kids or your spouse works from home, too, you expose yourself to more daily interactions that can distract you from work. The benefits of working from home can start to dwindle if you can’t stay productive, and if you aren’t careful, your boss may ask you to come back into the office to keep productivity up.

One solution is to create a professional home office that is as private as possible, has all you need for work, and keeps you focused. Prioritize an area of the home without high traffic.

Also, set times for interactions with the family to ensure you are fully concentrated on the tasks at hand.

The Occasional Existential Crisis

man in black jacket sitting on floor looking worried

Being alone can be nice if you are an introvert like me, but remote work means you are also alone with your thoughts, which aren’t always kind. You may put pressure on yourself to work hard and think only about what you haven’t done rather than enjoy the process of working alongside your coworkers.

Keeping a positive mental attitude and monitoring your overall well-being help tremendously. Make it a habit to meditate, walk, and take breaks to clear your mind and maintain balance.

Taking advantage of all the benefits of remote work allows you to do more in less time and at less expense. However, making the most of it also means guarding against the challenges. The tips above ensure that your remote work life is productive so that you can grow your business and reap the other tantalizing benefits of working away from the office.

Let me be the first to welcome you to the club! You’re going to love this time of your life. Check out my other blogs for more advice and tools to help you in your work-from-home journey. I cover everything from mindsets to home products that make your work life at home easier and more fulfilling.