Which is better, going into the office or working from home? Those of us who enjoy wearing pajama pants all day have a clear preference for the latter. Meanwhile, those of us who value frequent socialization may choose differently. Yet which one is truly best for your health, happiness, and job performance?
The Pros and Cons of Working From Home
There are definite advantages to working from a home or remote environment. In addition to easing our commutes and allowing us to enjoy the comforts of our living space, remote work has been shown to save company funds, increase employee happiness, and lead to higher productivity. Employees who work from home are also estimated to earn an extra hour of sleep each week, resulting in greater health and achievement.
Even while hearing this positive statistics, alarms might be starting to go off for those of us who are concerned with work-life balance. How can we possibly escape the stresses of work after a long day if we’re cooking dinner in the same space where we just took a call from the boss? How can we focus on work during the day if our dog is sitting at our heels, begging to be walked?
Concern about blurring the boundaries between work and life is well founded. Decreases in work-life balance have been linked to lower physical and psychological wellbeing, higher rates of turnover, and lessened productivity. It’s understandable, then, that some of us are skeptical about embracing a “work at home” or even “work near home” lifestyle.
Which Work Environment Is Better?
So should you take the risk and start working remotely, or play it safe and stick to commuting? In truth, it depends on your unique needs and ability to establish boundaries. If you’re someone who’s able to sit with unfinished tasks and end your workday at 5 PM on the dot, then the benefits of a home environment may outweigh the risks. If you want your home to remain a relaxing haven, or at least a place that you don’t associate with professional projects, maintaining a separation can be valuable.
Looking for a happy medium? Many companies are working to harness the pros of both potential work environments while eliminating the cons. For a prime example, look no further than WeWork. WeWork is a company that is aiming to transform the way we “work, live[,] and play” by facilitating a casual, even home-y co-working environment. With large open spaces, hip decorations, and beer and cold brew on tap, it feels…different. It manages to capture some of the comforts and independence of working from a casual, home-like environment, while providing both opportunities to socialize and distance from your actual home. Pretty cool, right?
Ultimately, figuring out what’s right for you can be a matter of trial and error. Would your boss allow you to work remotely one day each week, to see how it goes? Is there a local WeWork that you can tour? If you’re concerned about establishing boundaries, a therapist can also help you determine how to stay connected to work without sacrificing your wellbeing.
For questions or concerns regarding work-life balance, feel free to contact one of our experienced therapists at email@example.com. Your work environment should be working for you!
Reaganne Hansford is a Texas native studying Psychology at George Mason University. She has been published via National Geographic and Advanced Energy Economy. Her passions lie in asking the right questions, sharing those answers, and finding the best hiking trail in Northern Virginia.