The Pros and Cons of Returning To The Office

The Pros and Cons of Returning To The Office

Now that more employers are offering their employees a choice to return to the office or work from home, people are facing a dilemma. Should they work from home, or go back to the office? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a simple one and it’s extremely dependent on your situation. With that said, there are a few general pros and cons to going back to the office.

Benefits of Working from an Office

Here are a few reasons you might want to go back into the traditional working environment:

More Separation Between Work and Life

As much as working from home sounds like a vacation, that’s far from the truth. Working from home can be more stressful than working from an office. Because you always have your computer and phone on you at home, you’re likely to work early mornings and late evenings. But when you leave your work at an office, you don’t have any temptation to work outside of your hours.

People who have poor time management skills also tend to get distracted at home. They may not finish what they need to accomplish during the day, and as a result, end up working late or during the weekend. Furthermore, it’s difficult to set boundaries when you work at home. Even if you have a home office, it can be difficult to find firm boundaries. In a traditional office, it’s much easier to have strict boundaries.

Less Isolation

Unless you are an extreme introvert, you probably like having some form of social interaction every day. Many people struggle while working at home because they miss being able to see their colleagues every day. In an office setting, employees are able to interact each day. They have their social needs met. For social butterflies, working from an office is preferable.

At home, you might have video calls and Slack chats. But these alone aren’t enough to meet the human demand for socialization. If you aren’t actually surrounded by your coworkers, you are likely to feel isolated. You miss out on coffee breaks, lunches, and water cooler discussions.

There’s another issue with the isolation of working from home - the lack of networking. If you want to grow your career, you may benefit from working in an office. Your daily interactions build relationships that could help you get a promotion or find a better job.

Sense of Purpose

It’s difficult to feel a sense of purpose or belonging when you work from home. Due to the lack of social interaction, working from home often leaves people feeling unimportant. They stop seeing the big picture and instead lose sight of their true purpose within their organization.

If you don’t want to have that disconnect or void, you should consider working from an office. Being around other people and working with them to accomplish the same goals gives you a sense of purpose. You can clearly see your role and your future, and it’s easy to know your worth. Additionally, you live in the company culture every day.

Drawbacks of Working from an Office

Despite the many benefits of working from an office, there are also a few drawbacks to it. Here’s a closer look at why you might prefer working from home:

Long Commute Times

One of the biggest disadvantages of working in an office is the commute. According to the Census Bureau, the average one-way commute in the US is almost 30 minutes. So in one day, you could lose about one hour of time on your commute. If you live in a city, you could have an even longer total commute time of two hours per day. In those two hours, there’s a lot you could be doing.

When you work from home, you don’t have any commute. If you wanted to, you could literally roll out of bed and get to work. This may not be advisable, but it is possible and can make your days much easier. For parents with kids, not having to commute means they may be able to drop off their children or pick them up from school. No commute gives people more flexibility, and this can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

More Expenses

There’s also the fact that working in an office can be costly. First, you need to consider the cost of your commute. If you drive your own vehicle, you need to consider the cost of gas or electricity, vehicle maintenance, and insurance. Public transportation can also hurt your budget. When you work from home, there’s no commute and significant savings on transport.

Another expense is your clothing. No matter where you work, you need clothes for your job. In a business setting, this can be quite expensive. You need a variety of outfits and want to look professional, so you may feel obligated to buy high-end clothes. Shoes, suits, and briefcases all take a toll on your wallet. If you work from home, you only need to worry about the occasional Zoom meeting.

People also tend to spend much more money on childcare when they work in an office. You need childcare for much longer, and often have to pay a premium for early morning or late evening pick-ups. Furthermore, working in an office comes with food costs. Even if you try to make your own lunches, you could be spending hundreds of dollars each month on coffee, snacks, and meals at the office.

Worse Health

When you work in an office, you have more exposure to illnesses. The cold tends to make its way around the office, and flu season can be particularly brutal on your health. If you are someone who gets sick easily, you could spend most of your time fighting off workplace illnesses. Sitting in front of a computer all day also affects your health. When you have a sedentary lifestyle, you’re more likely to have poor health.

When you’re home, you have less exposure to illness. You also have more of an opportunity to move around. You can walk around while you answer the phone or go for a short jog on your lunch break.

Do What’s Right for You

Ultimately, you need to do what works for you. There are plenty of jobs available, and it’s up to you to decide whether you want to work from home or work from an office.

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