03 . Mar . 2020
Working from home is the goal for many people, and it’s not just introverts; it’s a great option for anyone with a disability or for anyone who needs to work while acting as a caregiver. Working from home has its perks: no commute time, no need to food prep, you can wear your pyjamas around the office and generally you get to reclaim more time to invest in your family, friends or hobbies.
Ditching the need to commute is a big attraction. The time and money you save over a year is huge.
In 2020 we’re at a point where new employers or even traditional office employers are now a lot more open to the idea of working from home. The perks that come with working from home are extremely attractive. Especially in recent years as—Generation Z entered the workforce—we saw the number of people working from home skyrocket.
Small businesses and startups are likely to have a lot of employees working from home. Why? Because it costs a lot to secure an office space, and not having a central physical space saves on some employee costs.
We’ve also seen new working environments pop up such as coworking, which provided a solution for workers who found that both working in a traditional office space and working from home didn’t serve them. Coworking is expected to expand a lot in the new decade and even though coworking isn’t limited to freelancers, we recommend you read this piece discussing everything you should know before freelancing in a coworking space.
Working from home usually seems like a sweet deal. But, plenty of workers every year find out that working from home isn’t exactly what they imagined. Considering working from home can be the result of some significant life and work changes, it’s important you’re also aware of the potential negatives others have experienced.
Working from home can get boring. Very boring. Even though you may find your coworkers in a traditional office space distracting from time to time, at least they’re there, and you have the option to socialize if you want. For office workers, your home is a place to return to at the end of the day and feel completely relaxed. For people who work from home, they have to deal with the fact that their home is also the workplace and you lose that feeling of sanctuary. Even if you’re lucky enough to have your own personal study, it’s not the same. If anything, you may spend time outside of “work hours” (which can begin to blur) wishing you were anywhere but home.
We’ve begun to touch on the negatives, let’s outline the most common repercussions some experience when working from home.
We think of working from home as a way to better achieve a work-life balance. But, this isn’t always the case. Becoming unbalanced is usually something that we experience down the line. In initial months we are usually more committed to “making it work.”
After a few months we’re more likely to procrastinate. This could be binging Netflix or even doing household chores. Even if something feels productive, it’s not your work and can lead you to work later than normal and you’ll end running into all sorts of focus issues. The more other things you’re doing at home, the less work you’re getting done—refocusing takes time. Don’t get me wrong, flexibility can be a huge positive, but it needs to be paired with adequate discipline and then some.
Then there’s just reverting to plain laziness. Although you may not have enjoyed working around other people as much as being at home, there is a certain accountability that comes with having coworkers. Even wearing “work clothes” in a traditional office space comes with a mental reminder that you’re here to work. It’s the same reason many people don’t feel truly relaxed at home until they have changed out of their “work clothes.” When you’re still in your pyjamas at 2pm, your brain might wonder “why aren’t we going to sleep” and so you will.
When you’re at home, productivity can become a lot more subjective. Sure, you got the washing done today and therefore will work harder tomorrow. But will you, really? To keep up a certain standard, it’s recommended you create your own schedule to reduce the temptation of life distracting you.
Loneliness and isolation should not be underestimated. Researchers in Antarctica note that the hardest thing about their adventures isn’t the cold, it’s the isolation. Polar exploration is a bit of an extreme comparison, but it does highlight that working from home can make you feel trapped rather than free.
Even if you think of yourself as the most introvert to ever introvert, you cannot escape the fact that you’re a social animal. If you’re working in a traditional office space where you’re having some face-to-face interactions with people, even limited ones, and wishing you could be alone. Remember, you’ve yet to experience work without all of those random conversations. You also might miss out on team events, lunches and meetings. You can start to feel very isolated. Camaraderie is motivating; isolation dulls our mind and makes it difficult for us to process information.
Communication with other people is how we create or discover solutions. Simply just being around other people helps you keep up with new industry trends. Of course, you can communicate online, but, compared to the spoken word, online is always more likely to be slower, more difficult to understand and less enjoyable.
Undoubtedly, working from home means there are going to be days where you’re feeling a bit lonely. Whenever you begin to feel isolated, you need to proactively make plans. If you don’t—you leave yourself vulnerable to spiral downwards in a whirlpool of pyjamas and Netflix. This is the difference between a traditional office and working from home; in an office you are satisfying your need to socialize without even noticing it, at home you need to make plans.
So, working from home might not be it for you, but returning to a traditional office space won’t do either. Well, coworking is your best shot. Coworking is the happy inbetween, you get the practicality of an office space with the freedom of working from home. Coworking does mean you have to pay for a membership, but you gain it back in increased productivity and a membership is a lot cheaper than leasing an office for startups or small businesses.
Coworking has become a global phenomenon and is providing a valuable alternative to less productive work environments. It’s more than just individuals seeking out coworking spaces, now we see many large companies placing teams in coworking spaces. Their reasons for doing this?
Coworking spaces are great for all personality types, if you want to work at home because you’re more introverted. You can still gain just as much privacy at a coworking space, except you have the option to work in a more social setting if you want.
This article in no way was meant to say that working from home doesn’t work. Its purpose was to make more potential remote workers aware of what they could get into. You might be technically prepared to work from home (a desk and a laptop), but to really make it work you will need a love for discipline and be responsible enough to take care of your wellbeing.
Of course, if you’re looking for a coworking space in the Kolkata area, check out what Zioks has to provide!