Whether you want to call it telework, telecommuting, or simply “working from home,” I can tell you from firsthand experience that having worked from home for more than 6 years, there are definitely pros and cons to it.
First the pros: The obvious one is setting your own hours, and not the hours you have been assigned by an employer. Some people claim they wouldn’t have the discipline to set their own work schedule. I don’t think that’s true in most cases. The main thing you need to do is set aside an “office” or other work space that is used for work – PERIOD – and when you are there, that is what you do. PERIOD. (Well, outside of a brief break now and then to surf the “Net or check your Facebook page.)
By setting your own hours, you find out pretty quickly that you’re able to be pretty efficient, because you’re working during times that work well for you as opposed to hours that aren’t a good fit for your biological clock. Let’s say, for instance, you’re like me and you’re not a very good early morning person. As opposed to having to down 2 or 3 cups of coffee at an office if you had to get up early, maybe you can get by with 1 because you’re more rested.
Then there is the commuting that you DON’T have to deal with. That can be a particularly HUGE advantage if you live in or near a large city with a lot of traffic. Even when this isn’t the case, like the largely rural area where I live, it still is pretty nice to look outside on a snowy day and know that while I might have to shovel or snow blow later, I DON’T have to drive in the slippery, white stuff! (Or scrape a windshield.)
Finally, in working from home you can stay on top of the dishes or laundry (or both), and not have to wait until the weekend to get all of your chores done. That is, provided that doing a chore (or two) doesn’t sidetrack you from your work day too much!
Now for the cons that I think some folks overlook: you get pretty lonely at times when you work from home. This has especially been the case since our dog passed last spring. I took his companionship a bit for granted until I had to find out what it’s been like without it. I am really looking forward to (finally) getting a new best friend to keep me company.
But before I risk sounding like a pity pot, let me also point out that there are definitely things you can do to relieve the tedium of being by yourself…. Going for a walk, bike ride, working out at a local gym, saying hi to a neighbor, maybe dropping by the library or going to a local diner for lunch with a friend. (One need not do this every day mind you.)
All in all, I’d have to say working from home is probably worth a try for a lot of people – that is, if you are the type that can dive in and get your work done without having to chit chat all day. However, if you’re an extremely social person in the workplace, I’d venture to say that telecommuting probably isn’t going to be a good fit.
That’s about the size of it – like a lot of things in life there is good, and bad in working from your home.