As someone who recently gave up working from home, I can say these are the least of the downsides. The biggest obstacle is the lack of physical presence with your co-workers. While tech is great, it does not replace the energy or momentum gained when solving problems with a group of people all in the same location. There are pros and cons to working remotely, but that lack of physical presence is the biggest con from my years of experience doing it.
For me, monotony sets in and I find myself going in more just for a change in the routine, if nothing else. But I wouldn’t completely trade it in. I enjoy the extra sleep I get on the days that I work from home, not having to rush to get dressed, lunch packed and out the door. 100% of my work is on the computer, so the only thing I’m lacking is a printer, but other than that, I have everything I need to do my job.
When my husband’s job took us to Cincinnati in 2008, the Christian organization I work for in Chicago gave me the opportunity to work from home. I’ve been doing it for 5 years – and my role has only expanded. I don’t have ANY of the issues described above. My kids are in school and in the summer, I hire a sitter to keep them busy. I have a designated office in my home. And I’m a very disciplined person. I love the flexibility and I know I am doubly productive. But here are the downsides as I see them. 1) It can be hard to turn off “work mode” as work is home; 2) I don’t see a path for advancement or promotion being outside the office; 3) Office politics can be tricky as you are relying on email communication; 4) As an extrovert, it can be lonely.
Ironically, the my husband lost the job that brought us here – and his new role is from home too. (We joke that the only people who leave our home in the morning are our kids!) He is also disciplined but he is an introvert – and all his co-workers are virtual too. I doubt he has any of the issues in the infographic. And actually, in his situation, he doesn’t have many of my issues either.
If workers have the kinds of issues described above – then maybe they are not cut out for “at home” work. But for the right kind of person, who can close the door and shift into “work mode”, I think it is a great option.