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Working from Home Versus Working in an Office

Updated on October 30, 2015

As technology allows people to adjust not just their lifestyle but their working habits as well, a lot of new opportunities have opened up to make work a little bit more convenient. Today, people have the choice to fulfill their obligations at work the conventional way by going to the office each day or to stay at home and remotely complete their tasks.

The Benefits of Working from Home

A lot of people have made the switch to setting up their own working space at home instead of traveling to an office everyday. With the number of perks that come with working from a remote location, it definitely seems to be the better option from so many angles.

For one thing, it allows you to work in a way that you’re most comfortable with, allowing you to adjust your own space, wear any kind of clothes, eat anytime you want and a lot more. It lets you set the perfect ambience for working and enables you to work with fewer distractions and stress. It also allows you to be around your family most of the time, enabling you to give instant attention to their needs.

Working from home could also be more cost-effective in a lot of ways. It eliminates the expenses for transportation, at the same time taking out the hours spent on travelling from one place to another. These hours could then be added to your productivity, allowing you to finish more than usual without feeling as tired.

Why Working from Home is Not for Everyone

As much as working from home seems to offer everything that an average worker has always dreamed of, it still doesn’t work for everyone. Those who have a bunch of kids at home, for example, find that they are more distracted when they work from home. There is more noise and stress, and the constant need for them to attend to their families’ needs hinders their productivity a lot.

There are also times when you need to work with an entire team to complete a project, which is something that you just can’t do effectively when you’re at home. Although there are a lot of ways to communicate with teammates (email, chat, video call, etc.), there are certain tasks that need everyone’s physical presence more than anything.

Why Employers and Managers Do Not Like the Idea

A lot of employers and managers are also not keen on the idea of having their people working from outside the office. This is because a lot of them claim that they are unable to check on productivity real time and they are wary of the thought that they cannot give directions personally.

Business experts explain that although this is what a lot of bosses believe, it is actually more about the loss of control that they worry about. It is not the actual productivity that they are missing out on, but the mere presence of the employee in front of them. After all, just because an employee is sitting at his desk everyday does not always equate to productivity. A lot of people have actually perfected the art of “looking busy” as opposed to actually being busy. Therefore, an employee’s presence is not necessarily the deciding factor on whether he would be productive or not.

Working from Home versus Working in an Office

So which is better, working from home, or going to an actual office? At the end of the day, it would all depend on what kind of work you do and what kind of employee you are. People who work from home require a certain level of discipline and should be able to work with very minimal supervision. They should be able to complete their daily tasks without being too tempted to stay glued in front of the TV or climbing back to bed. People who procrastinate and are easily distracted are often better off working in an office because the presence of their manager can prod them to work more. Their bosses can also give them more direction and can give more attention to them and their progress.

People who also need some ambient noise are sometimes more effective when working in an office as opposed to working from home. There are people who allow little distractions to keep them awake as they work, which is perfect when in an office setting as the low office buzz keeps them at their toes. People like these are deemed ineffective when working from home, as they can become very restless and would eventually look for the presence of activity around them.

Management Solutions

As for problems that managers and employers have, there are a number of ways to keep everything under control despite the fact that not all employees are in front of them. Because technology is the main tool that allows employees to work from a remote location, it can also be the best tool to help managers monitor exactly what goes on in their employees’ home offices.

There are a number of computer programs that compute a person’s productivity and takes note of each milestone that they reach. They can even monitor what goes on in an employee’s computer while they are logged in.

They can also schedule alternate work routines asking their employees to report to the office a few times each week to touch base on how each person’s work is progressing. The same thing can be done in case their employee experiences technical issues, such as the loss of internet connection or power outages. Shared stations can be set up in the office for people who need to temporarily work there when they encounter problems at home.

End-of-day reports are highly encouraged, as this would help managers monitor the pace at which each person is completing their tasks. They can check if each person is following the timeline or if they are having problems sticking to a specific schedule.

Clear communication lines should also be set. More often than not, effective communication solves a lot of work-related issues, especially between employees and their superiors. Proper channels should be specified and timely responses are a must. This is where trust plays an important role. Employees should see that their superiors can be trusted enough to respond to their questions in a timely manner. Better yet, a support system should be established for people who work from home so that they have a specific group of people who are trained to give them everything they need to complete their tasks. Managers should also be able to assign tasks in the clearest way possible to avoid any lapses in the completion of tasks. Sometimes, instructions can be a bit vague and can cause confusion. Instead of settling for unclear instructions and waiting for employees to ask questions, make sure that you leave employees with very little confusion so that no time is wasted in working on tasks right away. The smallest lapse in communication can cause a lot of delays and can sacrifice the quality of outputs. Instead of blaming every failure on the remote setup, both employers and employees should work on addressing the real issues first to be able to make the process as seamless as possible.

At the end of the day, it will all be about knowing and staying true to yourself. Know what makes your brain tick and find out what makes you more productive. Only then can you truly decide whether you can be your best in the office or at home.

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  • kgmonline profile imageAUTHOR

    Geri MIleff 

    3 years ago from Czech Republic

    @Kristen Howe - Thanks a lot for voting up :)

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 

    3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    This is a great hub. My brother started his new job last fall, when he works on the computer at home, 75%, when he takes calls, and travels to a location, at least twice a month. He loves it. I've looked for WAH jobs in the past, which didn't have Mac computers, when I searched for a job. I prefer being a freelance writer like at HP to do it at home and earn some money. Voted up for useful!

  • kgmonline profile imageAUTHOR

    Geri MIleff 

    4 years ago from Czech Republic

    Hi, melissae1963. Good to hear that. Some people really have more productive juices when they are working from home than in an office--and you are lucky to be one of them. :)

  • melissae1963 profile image

    Melissa Reese Etheridge 

    4 years ago from Tennessee, United States

    I'm way more productive at home than I am in the office. I actually work more at home. I get an earlier start, but work right up to supper time.

  • kgmonline profile imageAUTHOR

    Geri MIleff 

    4 years ago from Czech Republic

    Very true, @Chriswillman90! It's really important that goals are defined properly so that both the employer and employee can monitor the progress of the work and keep things at an optimum level all the time. The only difference really between working at an office and working from home ideally is the setting, but as you pointed out, if there is a quiet place where there won't be any disturbances, things will surely work out for the home-based employee. Thanks for sharing your insights! :)

  • Chriswillman90 profile image

    Krzysztof Willman 

    4 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

    As technology evolves, more and more people will be working from home but I agree that it's not for everyone. It helps if you have a nice quiet office at home where there are no distractions.

    If employers can monitor you effectively, then productivity shouldn't be an issue and they can still be in control knowing they know if you're working or not.

  • kgmonline profile imageAUTHOR

    Geri MIleff 

    4 years ago from Czech Republic

    Hi, @teamshepherd! You can try searching for a job you are passionate about in online job sites and probably start from there. :)

  • teamshepherd profile image

    Natasa Shepherd 

    4 years ago

    I would love working from home and having it actually bring in a meaningful income.


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