Articles From the Team
The pros and cons of homeworking: how to work out if it's for you or not
I specialise in recruitment for residential conveyancing roles and amongst the lawyers and law firms I work with, working from home seems to be one of those ‘Marmite’ topics: you either love it or you hate it.
If you’re a ‘hater’, you can’t think of anything worse than sitting on your own all day with no one to talk to. But if you’re a ‘lover’, you see it as an opportunity to maximise your focus and productivity as you’re without the office distractions. In addition, you might avoid a lengthy and stressful commute (which can take a cumulative toll on your quality of life).
Let’s break this down and review the pros and cons of homeworking.
Benefits of working from home
- Increased productivity! As I’ve touched on, fewer distractions mean you can work more effectively. One study found productivity increased from 6.5/10 to 7.7/10 when working from home
- No commute. As mentioned, this is often a primary benefit for the ‘lovers’. No commute means no traffic, no delayed trains and no getting caught in the rain
- Saving money. Due to reduced travel costs, individual savings can equate to thousands of pounds per year
- Fewer sick days. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, due to a reduction in stress levels, people retain a better work/life balance. Secondly, those who work from home will generally feel able (and happy) to work if they’re not bedridden e.g. have a common cold as they don’t have to muster up the energy to ‘face the outside world’ (especially if it entails an exhausting commute!), and within the confines of their own home, they don’t have to worry about spreading their germs around the office
- Work/life balance – this is overriding. Even if you love your job, it isn’t the only thing in your life. Working from home allows you the flexibility to better balance your work life with your home life!
- Improved health. With the absence of a commute, more time is saved for hobbies and exercise. There’s also more room to perform stretches throughout the day to break up long stints sitting down
- You can have a lie in (who doesn’t want an extra hour in bed?!)
Arguments against working from home
- You’re on your own and can miss the social interaction associated with working in an office; you might feel isolated
- Can’t settle. For some people, the lack of routine throws them. People get distracted and feel they need the watchful eyes of a manager or team to keep them motivated
- Additional electricity and heating costs, especially in the winter.
- Initial ‘set up’, including desk space, network coverage (if you’re required to make calls from a mobile) and fast enough broadband so you don’t end up pulling out your own hair and become unproductive. However, often times this is covered by the employer.
- Difficulty separating work and home life; an inability to ‘switch off’, which might result in working unnecessarily long hours
- Missing out. I.e. office developments such as team changes, changes in business direction etc.
- You aren’t visible to management so you might get overlooked for progression and development opportunities
Making your own personal list of positives and negatives (using the above) is a great way of getting to the bottom of whether homeworking is for you or not. The next step is talking to your family and friends about it. If you’re a residential conveyancer (or not) that’s still unsure and you’d like some additional guidance.