The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Remote working has the made the decision of where to work or run a business very easy (or not, if you don’t like making decisions). Which is why, I’m sure, the number of employed and self-employed, who work from home, has increased so dramatically in recent years.

In March 2016, I took to social media to get a greater understanding of where my connections (across the UK) run their business from. The results were:

laptop-943558_960_720Home: 81%

Serviced Office: 10%

Coworking Space: 6%

Other (coffee shop, library, etc.): 3%

Not too much of a surprise there, as working from home is certainly the most flexible of all options. It’s also free and commuting is a dream. I know, as I’ve worked from home for years, and completely agree that it’s great for convenience. However, it takes discipline to work from home day in, day out, and can extremely isolating. Also, if you have a bad day at work, how does that impact on your home environment? Especially if you work from a room that you socially spend a lot of time in.

Whereas, working in an office or shared space is great for inspiration, bouncing ideas off everyone and breaking away from at the end of the day.

A Freelancer’s Route To Home-Working Discipline 

CaptureI remember a freelancer telling me how they used to leave the house at 8:30 every morning, dressed for work, and would walk round the block (via a coffee shop) back to their home. Now there were at work and all home comforts and chores were out of bound.

At the end of the day, he would leave ‘work’ and walk the reverse route, so when they entered the door, they were now at home. It sounds like a lot of effort, but that was their way of mentally getting in the right frame of mind.

The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Given that most of those who responded (majority of which are freelancers) worked from home, here are how they described their Pro’s and Con’s:

Advantage: No longer have to get up at 6.30 for the hour long journey into work on the A14.

Disadvantage, no longer get up from desk to go see colleagues, so spend far too much time sitting at the computer, getting fatter. – Susan Fleming, Not Just Travel Anglia


 

Advantage: Incredibly short commute

Disadvantage: No banter with colleagues – Andy Boothman, Creative Graphic Designer Director


 

Advantage: I can work in my pj’s.

Disadvantage: The washing is here… (and the rest of the chores) – Nicky Shephard, Director of The Marketing Boutique.


 

Advantages: Cost and flexibility.

Disadvantages include being treated as the neighbourhood parcel drop. – Karen Packham, Editorial and Website Consultant.


I am not a freelancer but I can work from home as part of my job:

Advantages: Fewer distractions, no commute.

Disadvantages: Not seen as part of the team, lack of interaction with colleagues. – Emma Saldanha, Marketing Executive at Cogent Accountants Ltd


Main advantage is the convenience & flexibility to work the hours I choose. But for a procrastinator like me that’s also a disadvantage as I can always find other things that need doing around the house instead of working. – Geraldine Jones


Advantage: my cats keep me company and act as my office assistants.

Disadvantage: my cats keep me company and act as my office assistants – Stewart Harris, Bassist, Singer, Graphic Designer


Big advantage is the journey to work and back. No traffic or public transport hassles. – Graham Harris


Advantage: Convenient but miss the camaraderie. – Karen Cann, Freelance Video Editor & Producer


Advantages: I can use travel time to work, I can take breaks and get stuff done at home, I can stop and go and pick my little boy up from school. It’s my space and I feel comfortable in it, no interruptions.

Disadvantages: I miss working with other people sometimes; it upsets my little boy that I am home but not playing with him. – Rachel Willer, Founder and MD at The Work Bees


 

In Summary

There clearly isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but it also doesn’t have to be one or the other. It can be more than one option. You prefer to work from home? Great. But what happens on the days (however infrequent) that you need a change of scenery?

Test the other options, even for just one day, and see how that impacts your productivity as well as the size of your network.

 

 

 

An Alternative Business Route in Times of Travel Disruption

There are many events that we can be sure of in life such as, most famously, death and taxes. For commuters, it is the realisation that, at some point, there will be severe disruption to their daily commute. Often this is down to a strike, adverse weather conditions or something completely unexpected.

However, despite knowing that this happens several times each year, employers and employees seemingly remain oblivious to the alternatives that can benefit them both.

Every time there’s a delay into work, frustration kicks in, morale suffers and productivity slows. Some reports even state each Tube strike costs the London economy anywhere between £50m-£200m each time, which may or may not be true. One thing is for sure, is that if you rely on commuters to travel in to your office to work, your business will be impacted and will suffer.

What is the alternative?

Imagine telling your employee that, due to an impending strike, they didn’t have to come in and could work from home instead. What impact do you think it would have on them and you? Well, they now won’t have to suffer the painful, seemingly unending commute and can work, fresh and happy. You’ll benefit from a more support and productive member of staff.

What can you do if they don’t have the space to work from home?

If your employee doesn’t have a space, or their home is busy with family or other home workers, there is still a successful answer. Thanks to the growing phenomenon of co-working spaces in the UK, your employee can take their laptop to a shared office space space, which is likely to be near to where they live (so, they still don’t have to commute), allowing them to work with hi-speed WiFi and in a productivity-inducing environment.

The end result is that despite the combined efforts of trade unions and nature, your productivity levels aren’t affected, morale remains high and deadlines are still met.

And there’s more…!

Not only that, but you never know who else may be the using the coworking space. It could be a potential client, supplier or a connection that takes you on the the first step of a new collaborative relationship.

taxi-1209542_1280If you are reading this as an employee: Go and find you nearest co-working space in preparation and present the idea to your manager, which will benefit them and you.

If you’re reading this as an employer/manager: Tell your staff that the next time their journey into work is likely to be affected, they can work from a coworking space instead.

It could be one of the best business decisions you’ve ever made!

Coworking at Cambridge Business Lounge

One of our regular visitors to Cambridge Business Lounge, BluntBrit.com, has shown off their animated media skills by creating a new video detailing what coworking is all about, and how it works at Cambridge Business Lounge:

If you’d like Blunt Brit to create a video for you, then contact them through their website, tell them Ed sent you and receive a 30% discount. You’re welcome!!