Home VS Office, it’s a question we’re all asking ourselves these days. Working from home was once a rarely heard of benefit that everybody wanted. During 2020 many companies were forced to adapt to this new way of working. Now, working from home is here to stay, but is it really better than being in the office?
Job searchers are in the position where they have the option to choose, they can work from home or in the office. But which is really better for you? What are they pro’s and con’s of both? We’ve looked into this to try and unpack how they differ and which might be more productive.
Commuting – waste of time or time to destress?
Commuting is usually the main pro for working from home. Many of us want to use that time to have breakfast with loved ones, work up a sweat at the gym, or just spend that little bit longer in bed catching some rest (or scrolling mindlessly through social media!).
All of these things are great for our well-being, but others find commuting a useful part of their day.
Commuting can mean time to catch up on work relevant social media and networking using LinkedIn, reading a book or listening to music and podcasts to help you switch off after a day in the office.
The question is, how do you want to spend your time before and after work?
On and off – the productivity switch.
Productivity is something that we all struggle with from time to time. It can be impacted by various factors like our working environment and distractions and engagement with colleagues. It’s also important that we’re able to switch on and off from work.
When we’re at home, there isn’t always a good way to ‘switch off’ after the day is done. Even if you’re working from a home office. We can walk away from the room that we were working in, but sometimes the temptation to check our emails or reopen our laptops is all too easy. When we’re in the office, we can physically leave the working day behind at the end, and return home. There is a degree of separation.
Productivity is impacted by distractions, and when we’re at home working on our own, it’s much easier to fall into an endless scroll or the TV programme that you promise you’d only put on in the background for some noise.
This one’s all about structure. If you find yourself able to focus and be productive in the comfort of your own home but able to switch off at the end of the day, then WFH will see you flourish. If you need to be around other productive people and leave it all behind at the end of the day, office working is best for you.
Your working environment matters!
Where you work impacts how you work. There are challenges whether you’re working from home or in the office.
You could share a home office with unlikely colleagues – your pet, your partner or noisy neighbours. You also might not be equipped with a good workstation, meaning your chair might be causing damage to your posture and your desk might not be at the right height. If you are lucky enough to avoid unlikely colleagues and have an appropriate home office, you can create a peaceful and cosy home working situation which can lead to brilliant productivity.
Working in an office can mean being around chatty colleagues, but this isn’t always a bad thing. Chatting with people is great for staying sociable and keeping loneliness at bay. Taking small breaks to chat about non-work related things can increase productivity. You can also quickly bounce ideas off colleagues if you’re feeling stuck. In an office, you also should be provided with good ergonomically designed workstations, meaning you can work comfortably.
Whether you’re a social butterfly or a lone wolf, ensuring that your work environment works for you is the best way to decide if you should head in to the office or stay at home!
Communication is key
Technology has advanced to the point that we can communicate with each other from far ends of the world. This is no different when it comes to working remotely. With software like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, we can easily get access to our colleagues at the press of a button. How confident you are with technology comes into play here, as it can be tricky to navigate. Having access to some IT support, whether remote or in the office, is beneficial for all tech issues.
It is important to consider that when we’re communicating in person, much less can be misconstrued. It’s harder to read people via video call, sometimes miscommunication can come into play. Being able to physically show documentation and discuss this with your colleague or manager is a bonus of being in the office. Communicating remotely can lead to issues with work and missing out on vital information that might be necessary to do your job.
It’s important to consider how best you communicate, and want to be communicated with.
Learning on the job
Something else to consider is learning. None of us ever stop learning through our careers and it’s something that only makes us better, more well rounded workers.
While you work from home, you have the option to spend some of that time saved on commuting to continue to learn and improve. With access to the internet and podcasts, we can stay up to date on current affairs in our fields. It’s also a great way to stay interested and learn things that sometimes colleagues don’t have time to help with.
However, there is nothing quite like learning from the people around you. Being in the office, you can work closely with colleagues who may be more experienced, giving you first hand advice and guidance.
This is something to consider when thinking about where to work from – people are a brilliant resource when they’re willing to lend a hand.
Ultimately, when choosing between home and office working, it’s down to personal preference. Which feels more comfortable for you? Where do you think you’ll be most productive? Remember to make the right decision for you and for your career.
P.S. – sometimes a little balance is the perfect medium (hybrid working is a great option, too!)