Business First | Working from home vs. working from the office

Working from home vs. working from the office: 11 reasons letting staff work from home is better

20 Apr 2016 –– News
Working from home vs working in the office

Working from home vs. working from the office - who wins?

We’ve been here before, and personally, I prefer working from the office, but in the name of impartiality, here’s the other side of the ongoing debate.

Working from home is viewed by many employees as the holy grail of their professional career. Something to aim for in their work-life. It removes commuting from their lives entirely, allows them to stay in their pyjamas all day, and can often encourage higher work-rate and productivity.

Many staff who work from home rarely go back to the office if they can avoid it. Here are 11 reasons why:

1. Home comforts

Your home is designed by you, for you. It is comfortable and functional and suits your personal needs perfectly.

Although being able to work from such a comfortable environment comes with its own set of risks, but as long as you are self-motivated and driven, these can be avoided pretty easily.

As long as you can motivate yourself to work and not watch YouTube videos of cats (a phenomenon I genuinely don’t understand!) then working from the comfort of your own home can greatly increase your satisfaction, productivity and quality of work.

2. Peace and quiet when you need it

Ever had an ever nearing deadline for the completion of a project, but not been able to fully switch everything else off and get your head into it? Often this can be due to the distractions provided by colleagues who need your help, or just want a chat.

At home you have none of these distractions. Shut everything else out and get your project completed to a high standard and before your deadline.

3. Complete control over your set-up

Want to have that picture of Vladimir Putin topless on a horse framed on your desk? At work this would be frowned upon, at home; blow it up to A2, frame it in an antique frame, stick it behind your desk. You can’t do that in the office, can you?

Ok, so this is perhaps a prime example of exaggerating to prove a point, but seriously, you can choose the IT equipment you have. You can choose your seat. Your desk. Everything.

Working from a set-up that is comfortable for you and conducive to achieving your highest levels of productivity is yet another advantage that working from home has over working from the office.

4. Wake up later, start work earlier

Sounds like a pipe dream, right?

Working from the office, you’re up at 7.00am, out of the house by 7.45am, and – despite not technically starting until 8.30am – in the office for not long after 8.00am. Pretty easy commute, granted. But…

Working from home, you can start work at 7.45, having rolled out of bed at 7.40, gaining an extra 4 hours and 20 minutes sleep a week, whilst still starting work earlier.

Earn yourself a lie in and brownie points at the same time. You can’t do that in the office.

5. Music

I have to admit, a lot of offices are pretty relaxed about what music is played these days, team members take turns to choose, and there isn’t much that’s off limits.

That said, if you’re more productive completing projects with 90s acid house playing at ridiculously loud volumes (probably a throw-back from uni days) then working at home allows you to do just that.

6. It’s cheaper, and often healthier, to eat at home

Unless you’re working for Google or someone similar, the chances of you having a work subsidised healthy and tasty café within your work complex is slim.

Working from the office leaves a lot of people on a diet of whatever fast food is conveniently close to their office.

Working from home on the other hand gives you a wealth of possibilities. Whatever you feel like having for lunch, you can make fairly quickly.

And you can make sure it’s healthy, and it’s cheaper than eating out every day.

Where’s the downside in that?

7. Afternoon siestas won’t be frowned upon

The Spanish do it. A lot of South American countries do it.

Not only is it a nice perk of working at home, it’s good for you.

Google it.

It’s been proven to make you more productive and can lead to you living longer.

8. Pick your own hours

When you work from the office, unless your employers allow you the option of flexi-time, you’re bound by the working hours of the company. Even when you work flexi-time you often have to complete your contracted hours between certain start and end points.

If you work from home, you can start and finish your day as early or late as you like, as long as you work your full hours and get your work done.

This can in turn, allow you to, for example, be finished in time to pick the kids up from school every day.

9. Wear what you want

I don’t know about you, but I get pretty sick of buying new clothes that are pretty much solely for work. Especially given the fact that nice work clothes aren’t cheap.

Working from home lets you stop needing to do this.

Work in your dressing gown, work in your pyjamas, work in your underwear, work in your birthday suit if that’s what floats your boat. No-one will know and no-one will mind. As long as you are still working, working from home allows you to work in whatever you want.

Just don’t forget and go to work in the Emperor’s New Clothes if you do need to go into the office for a meeting one day.

10. Your office can be anywhere

Your custom made home-office, complete with your life size Vladimir Putin poster, is great. But one of the other benefits of working from home; work in the garden if it’s sunny. Feeling a bit stir-crazy? Work from a coffee shop. Work from the library.

Working from home allows you to pretty much work from wherever suits you on any given day. The only thing you’re bound by is a decent internet connection if you are using the cloud or need to be contactable by email.

If you need to unplug and get your head down, you’re not restricted at all. Work in a park if that suits you.

11. Commuting is bad for the planet and bad for you, too

By working from home you not only save the time you would otherwise spend commuting, you also save the money it costs and the carbon footprint you’d make.

In fact, according to the ONS, "Commuters have lower life satisfaction, a lower sense that their daily activities are worthwhile, lower levels of happiness and higher anxiety on average than non-commuters."

Three wins for the price of one.

It isn’t for everyone

Working from home has many benefits, but so does working from the office.

Which one will work for your business and your staff should be assessed on a case by case basis to ensure that your business and your employees remain happy and productive.