Remote work is often compared to working from the office, and for many different reasons. In fact, while a remote job can be exactly the same as executing the tasks at the office, there are some major differences to be aware of.
In this article, we will list the most common and significant advantages and inconvenients of working remotely vs at the office. From saving money and being more productive to loneliness and commuting, you’ll know everything by reading until the end.
Whether you’re here to compare life at the office vs remote, a director thinking about introducing remote work in your company, or a 9-5 worker willing to start a new lifestyle, this article is for you.
Remote Work Vs Office – Pros
Let’s start talking about the pros when working remotely and at the office. While both offer valuable advantages, they are sometimes not that obvious and knowing them will help choose between both.
Commuting (Work from Home)
Commuting when working from home is a great advantage compared to going to the office. In fact, the only commuting you’ll have is walking from the living room or garden to your workspace.
According to Owllabs’ State of Remote Work 2019, one of the biggest reasons for employees to want to work from home is to avoid commuting, with a whopping 78%.
To sum up, commuting when working from home is practically non existent and that will massively increase your work/life balance, help you save time and money, and definitely avoid you stressing out for being late at work.
Flexibility (Work from Home)
Flexibility is another one of the advantages that people work from home for. In fact, working at the office can be nice and organizing your schedule can be interesting depending on your position.
However, being able to have more time available for yourself, for your family, for working out, or even to learn a new skill is a great thing when working from home that we should consider.
The State of Remote Report 2019 by Buffer found that the biggest benefit to working remotely is by far having a flexible schedule with 40% of the employees.
That is definitely an advantage that employers need to consider when giving the option to work from home to employees.
Needless to say, it is certainly a job option that employees will seek when looking for a new job.
To sum up, flexibility can highly influence our schedule and can make employees enjoy more their time, be happier, and therefore more productive at work.
While there are endless ways to communicate between colleagues when working from home, it will never be as smooth and as nice as communicating while working at the office. In fact, communication is an essential part of the corporate world and the smoother it is the better.
While communication can be rather challenging when working from home, there are many ways to keep in touch such as internal chat, virtual meetings, social media, and much more.
However, on the other hand, communication when working at the office is much easier and organizing short breaks with colleagues is easy and is a powerful tool to increase productivity, share the company’s latest updates, and talk about projects.
American Industrialist Henry Ford shared his experience back in the days and said “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”. He is the perfect example of a leader who put communication at an important level and managed to make his company successful.
Productivity (Work from Home)
Being more productive when working from home is not a secret and many reports have proved it while more about it you can read here.
First of all, a study by Airtasker found that remote workers are way more productive than their colleagues at the office. In fact, remote workers have on average 22 minutes break, against 18 minutes only for their colleagues at the office. Despite taking more break time, remote workers average a total of 27 of unproductive time against 37 at the office.
In addition, employees working remotely find focus at work easier than their colleagues working at the office, and that is certainly something to consider.
To conclude, members of staff working from home are more productive working from home compared to when working at the office.
Saving Money (Work from Home)
Making and saving money is what we all work for and working remotely will help incredibly in this task. Working at the office can make things expensive with eating at the canteen or restaurant, paying for fuel, or drinks after work with colleagues.
However, the only thing you’ll need to worry about when working from home is the internet bill, and that makes a massive difference.
A research by Research Network found that a typical telecommuter could save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year only by working from home. You could save that money on fuel, public transportation, lunches outside, and more.
More Efficient Team Meetings (Office)
Team meetings are important in our daily working life for sharing the last updates, future projects, personal achievements and much more. However, are team meetings as efficient when working from home than at the office? Not really.
Working at the office will allow you and your team members to share a coffee, discuss points of view without muting your microphone, and staying in a professional environment.
Michael Jordan, a worldwide-famous basketball player, once said “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
More Family Time (Work from Home)
Family time is essential to many employees and is definitely something not to be skipped to keep a healthy and stable work/life balance.
A report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that family needs is one of the biggest primary reasons to work from home.
Reba McEntire, popular American writer once talked about family and shared “I don’t think quantity time is as special as quality time with your family”.
Remote Work Vs Office – Cons
Now that we know the best advantages of both working from home and at the office, let’s see what the inconveniences are. While the daily tasks are often the same, working remotely vs at the office can change the way we execute them as well as changing our lifestyle.
Loneliness (Home is worse)
Loneliness is definitely a big disadvantage of working from home that is not expressed enough and that is not as important at the office. In fact, while you can talk to colleagues, have a coffee break with your manager, or simply pop by someone’s desk when at the office, it is purely impossible when working from home.
The complete and popular report by Buffer surveyed over 3500 remote workers and found that their biggest struggle, after communication, is loneliness. Working remotely or from home is essential to many employees and indeed very practical to save money or having a flexible schedule, but loneliness just isn’t as strong when working at the office.
Cyber Security (Home)
Cyber security is a topic that isn’t always, and certainly not enough, talked about when working from home. In fact, with the amount of data and privacy breaches that occur every so often, you may not be as protected online as you would back at the office.
Our home’s network is way weaker than the one at the office with different protocols and that definitely plays a big role, especially if you work for a valuable company. One of the best methods to secure your data while online is to use a VPN that will then encrypt it and secure your computer.
Of course, working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean working from home. You might even risk it more if you work at a coffee shop, a co-working space, or at the hotel.
A survey by OpenVPN reported worrying statistics that we should all be aware of when working from home. First of all, a third of businesses were hit by an online data breach. Also, 90% of remote employees believe that they are not secure when surfing the internet.
Lastly, 24%, or nearly a quarter of businesses, didn’t update their remote work security policy in more than a year.
In conclusion, these statistics are quite worrying given the fact that we carry a lot of valuable information on your laptop. For this reason, choose the right to work, protect yourself with a VPN, and always have an updated version of your antivirus.
Injuries are a part of the corporate office world that we don’t mention enough but that are important enough to stop us from working. In fact, while it can take seconds to hurt ourselves, these incidents don’t really happen when working from home.
Of course, working in an office significantly reduces the chances of incidents, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t happen.
The Labour Force Survey by HSE & RIDOOR revealed that 0,5 million workers suffered from work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. Also, an estimated of 1,3 million who, in 2015 and 2016, suffered from an illness, believed that it was caused by work, or made worse.
Distractions are the business killers for so many reasons from lack of productivity to making employees more tired quicker. While distractions at the office can be pretty strong, they can even be worse when working from home.
A repost from The Hartford shared that distractions when working are even worse than many of us might think. First of all, 55% of distractions at work are due to the use of cell phones. Also, 75% of employers believe that over 2 hours of work are lost every day because of distractions.
In addition, there’s an increase of 28% in employee’s mistakes after getting a phone call. In fact, whether workers are focused or not during the call, they still think about the distraction hence why it has a massive impact on our daily tasks.
Last but certainly not least, employees aged between 18 and 24 years old exchange on average 100 messages per day while working.
Robin Sharma, a popular Canadian writer, once shared his experience about distractions and said “An addiction to distraction is the end of your creative production”.
To conclude, distractions at the office and when working from home can be a massive loss of business, money, time, and motivation.
No time to go outside (Office)
Taking in fresh air while working remotely or at the office can save your day as it has great health benefits, make you more productive, and clear your mind. In fact, it can help your digestive system, make you happier, clean your lungs, and even gives you more energy.
A study by Ambius revealed that 35% of employees spend a maximum of 15 minutes outside. 13% spend a maximum of 30 minutes outside, and 26% spend over an hour outside every day.
While this is a challenging part at the office, it is remarkably easier to go outside when working at home. In fact, every break, lunch, or short personal time can be used to go outside for a few minutes and come back with a clearer mind.
Miriam Herst, Beauty Editor at All Things Hair US once said “It’s easy to get caught up in work and forget to get outside and take a break from staring at the computer all day. I’ve been using my lunch break to walk to the park to get some fresh air. I come back to my at-home work station refreshed and reenergized. It’s easily my best tip for staying productive while working from home!”
Log Out on Time (Home)
Logging out on time can be a huge challenge when working from home that every remote worker has probably experienced at least once.
The State of Remote Report by Buffer that we already mentioned revealed that the number one struggle when working remotely is unplugging after work. In fact, there’s always a small forgotten detail that needs to be added, a difficult case to finish, or a report to be sent to your manager. All of these incredibly make unplugging after work more difficult, and can end up affecting our schedule but also our health.
To sum up, unplugging after work is some of the biggest challenges of working from home that you don’t always have when working at the office, and that you should work on to avoid.
You Have to Follow Office Politics (Office)
Office politics can be flexible, reasonable, and acceptable, but they can also be tough, challenging, and sometimes difficult to follow. However, they are part of the daily working life that can promote yourself within the company, help you grow, and much more.
A study by Accountemps found that, according to workers polled, gossiping or spreading rumors is the number one form of office politics by 47%. In addition to this, gaining favors by flattering the boss is second with 27%.
Office politics are a part of the company’s life that you don’t really see when working from home, although they still exist.
Remote Work VS Office – The Bottom Line
These were the 14 pros and cons and differences of remote work vs office that you had to know. Whether you’re given the choice to work at home or at the office, or you simply want to ask a life change, you’re now prepared to make a decision.
All in all, working remotely gives you much more flexibility, more time to exercise and go outside, and will certainly help save money. However, it is more difficult to log out on time and definitely more challenging to resist distractions.
On the other hand, working at an office offers less flexibility and commuting to work can be annoying, but it is easier to communicate with colleagues and allows you to remain in a professional environment.