As I sit here working at my desk (or stand, as many of you already know about me!), in shorts and my most comfy t-shirt, savoring my coffee, listening to NPR as my laundry runs in the background and I wait for the AC repair person to arrive, I find myself thinking:
How could I have all of this if I worked in an office building?
Working remotely, and in my case, working from home, has huge perks. The lack of dress code, access to food, and ability to accomplish personal tasks are just a few benefits from being able to telecommute.
I’ve worked remotely for many years. During that time, I’ve considered getting an office space, but wondered what I would be giving up in going that route. So I thought I’d get a few other telecommuters to weigh in on the pros and cons of the non-traditional office. But first, let’s look at some statistics.
I guess I’m trendy
3.7 million people – almost three percent of the workforce – now work remotely at least half of the time. This is a trend that has steadily increased over the past twenty years. And interestingly, if those with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home did so just half the time, the national savings would total over $700 Billion a year!
The majority of Americans, when surveyed by Gallup, believe workers who work remotely are just as productive as those who work in a business office.
So we could be very productive AND save our country money if more of us worked from our home or the local coffee shop. Should we tell our politicians we have a solution to the national debt?
The experts weigh in
I’m not alone in my “remoteness”. Many in my business network operate out of their homes, Starbucks, Panera or any place where they can get good Wi-Fi. So I asked them each to share their thoughts on the pros or cons from telecommuting:
For me, I am more productive and focused in a home-based office. The distractions of co-workers, walk-in traffic and other day-to-day interruptions are kept to a minimum, and I am able to dial in on the project at hand. This takes a good deal of self-discipline, but is a pro for me in the end.
The things that would be ideal about having a brick and mortar storefront would be the professional meeting space and the ability to catch walk-in traffic that might not otherwise have considered my business. As a remote/home based business owner, I have to be much more proactive about reaching and engaging new clientele.
Matthew Mandarano of Down Fenix Media
Working remotely offers the individual entrepreneur many advantages. It offers cost savings and flexibility for those that want the freedom. The entrepreneur has the ability to work anywhere (independent of time zone) so long as client deadlines are met or exceeded. In addition, the remote entrepreneur often has the ability to bend their schedule to meet personal demands. Check out the book ReWork for how one successful company explored this concept.
Rob Ainbinder of Why People Click
For me, it’s quiet and I can work at my own pace. I start work while others are still driving to work. I save money on gas and not eating out lunch. I’m here to meet home service people and pick up kids from school.
The downside is that you have to be self-motivated and stick to a schedule. If you have kids, there are interruptions, especially during summer and holiday breaks. Also, there is no one to really push you. The limited social interaction can be isolating, and you miss out on face-to-face collaboration with co-workers.
Jim West of NextGear Nutrition
The biggest pro for me is time. I am able to get started almost two hours earlier than I would if I had my daily commute to Greensboro each day. Also, the quality of work that I do during that time is significantly better. I find there to be far less distractions working virtually. While I love my teammates, the amount of distractions in a traditional office environment is incredibly high.
On the flip side, the thing that I miss the most is the spontaneous brainstorming that does happen in an office environment. Nothing beats bouncing ideas off of someone in your field face to face.
I embrace working remotely as far as screening employees (for my cleaning business). If they give me the creeps, as some people who are “like-to-work-alone” types do, I am glad they have not come to my home office.
Maria Mewing-Holbein of Dust Master Cleaning Services
For me working remotely has been one of the “best things since sliced bread”. I can pretty much choose where I want my office to be at any given moment. Working remotely allows me to travel around the country and still get the same, if not more; amount of work done as I would if I was cooped up in an office. I’ve been able to take family trips and not miss a beat from work and make memories that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t work remotely.
Eddie Drew of Cruise Control Marketing
The final word on working remotely
For me, there are more pros than cons, and like many of my peers with family obligations, it’s the optimal setup for now. I plan to reevaluate once a year to see if it is still working well, and if not, I will consider a change. Now excuse me while I go throw in another load of laundry.