Melissa here, taking over the Three Ears Media blog to talk all things WFH. But trust me, I’m not the only one. Articles all over the place seem to be tackling the pros and cons of working from home. And after a recent Twitter poll from Katrina? We’re pretty sure working from home is a pretty big deal to most people:
That’s right – 52% of people believe that working from home is the absolute best perk there is. That’s why we wrote about the perk that matters, and it’s also why I’m here to talk about my own experiences working from home and in an office setting.
I’m a Capricorn, so of course I have two jobs. It’s in my nature. One of them is an office job at my school, and the other is a remote position here at Three Ears Media. My astrological sign alongside the fact that I’m a struggling millennial means that I love work, whether it’s in an office or from home. But, working an office job at the same time as a remote position has really made me think about the pros and cons of both.
Here’s the thing. I’m twenty-three years old and I can’t drive. That’s right – I don’t know how to operate a vehicle even though I’m a fully grown adult. So what, right? A decent amount of people don’t know how to drive (at least, that’s what I tell myself). But the problem is that I have to rely on friends, family, and even my friends’ family to all pitch in to drive me to my office job in the morning.
I don’t have that problem with my remote position at Three Ears. I never have to worry about finding a ride to or from the office because the office is my bedroom. For me, this has been life-changing and lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. Not only do I not need a ride in general, but I don’t have to worry about wasting any time commuting or sitting in traffic.
But that’s not all. Working from home has allowed me to really make my own hours. As a writer, there are times that my brain is just unable to produce quality content, which can be an issue if I need to create something within a certain time frame, such as before the office day ends. There have been moments at my office job that I have spent more time staring at the computer screen than actually typing words because the ideas in my mind were nonexistent.
However, working from home allows me to look at my day and figure out what time of the day that I will be able to most effectively complete different tasks. So long as I work all of my hours and get everything done, it doesn’t really matter if my brain is wide awake and fully functioning at 9 AM or 3 AM. (I’ll admit, I’ve woken up at 3 in the morning with a great idea and knocked out work better than on a full night of sleep and two cups of coffee.)
The Setting and Environment
Working from home can be an issue, though. Being in an office setting allows me to sit down at a desk surrounded by other professionals and really get into the work mindset. As I hear others tapping on their keyboards, my mind enters Work Mode. I’m able to knock out assignments one by one while I’m in that setting because what I’m supposed to do when I’m at work is, well, work!
Meanwhile, if I’m working from home, it can be very easy to get distracted by the television or my Nintendo DS, which always seems to be sitting next to me asking me to play it, and it can’t even talk.
My point is – when you’re at work, you can really only do one thing because you’re being held accountable, and that’s work. When you’re at home, though? No one is there to watch you or check up on you. You can spend the entire day staring at the wall and no one would really know until you have six assignments overdue on Basecamp.
While working from home, I also don’t have to see anyone if I don’t want to. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it and whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. For me, having to strike up a conversation with my colleagues or smile-and-nod when I pass them in the hall can be exhausting and anxiety inducing on my more introverted days, so working from home is a breath of fresh air.
However, while I am an introvert, I’m also prone to loneliness, so getting out of the house and seeing some other faces keeps me happy and mentally healthy. It’s all about that balance, but working from home definitely allows me more flexibility in who I see and when and where I see them. Still, working in an office setting forces me to get out of the house, not allowing me to turn into a full-fledged hermit. Human interaction is important, even for introverts.
Bonus: The Outfits
It can be fun to dress up nicely to go work at the office, but it can also be exhausting (and expensive) coming up with something that is presentable and professional every single day. It’s good for the selfies when a particular outfit really knocks it out of the park, but it can be a drag to have to pull on dress pants when leggings are calling my name.
While working from home, I can work in my pajamas. Need I say more?
…Realistically, though, working from home in my pajamas might result in me just falling back asleep in bed, so sometimes pulling on those dress pants helps set the mood.
When it comes down to it, what works best for you is, well, what works best for you.
I think the option to work from home is incredibly useful and important for those of us who do work best remotely, but it’s undeniable that some people might crash and burn with a remote position. You need a lot of organization and self-discipline, but once you’ve got it under control, working from home can be an absolute life changing benefit. As the perk that matters, it should at least be an option that’s considered more often.
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.