Remote work opportunities are still omnipresent following the peak of the COVID pandemic, where many of us were forced to find a way to do our jobs from home — if we were fortunate enough to keep working.
For some, working from home was pure torture. For others, it was the happiest they’d ever been professionally. But what’s best for those in the middle of the remote work spectrum?
Even those who love or hate working from home have to admit there are pros and cons to both types of work.
As a company deemed “essential” during the height of the pandemic, Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) had both remote and in-office employees working full-time for nearly two years. So it’s fair to say we understand the pros and cons of each. In fact, ATS employees working in positions that allow for remote work can do so one day per week — even after most ATS employees are “back in the office.”
Keep reading to learn more about the ups and downs of doing your work outside of the office. In the end, you’ll have a better gauge as to what type of work you’d prefer as you keep your eye on potential careers.
Pros of Working From Home
Whether you’re new to the workforce or seeking a change, you’re bound to see remote opportunities in your job search. Maybe you’ve had a friend tell you it’s the best thing ever and they’ll never work in an office again.
Those that love working remotely enjoy the following things:
- Improved work/life balance
- Increased productivity
- Reduced wear and tear on vehicle
- Healthier lifestyle
You’ll Have a Better Work/Life Balance
This might be the most common theme that came out of the remote work window. Much of that could be associated with the fact that people weren’t really able to travel anywhere, sure, but that also means they weren’t traveling to and from work.
The lack of a commute instantly adds time back into the “life” part of the work/life balance equation — especially if you live further than a few miles from your workplace.
Let’s just say you have a 30-minute commute. That’s an hour more with your loved ones each day. Those weekend dinner recipes can even find their way into weeknights now that you have an additional half-hour each night.
Maybe you use those 30 minutes to play games with your family or maybe you take up a new hobby. Whatever you do with that added time, it’s time you didn’t previously have when going to the office every day.
That time can do a lot for your health — especially considering sitting in traffic generally doesn’t reduce people’s stress levels.
You’ll be More Productive
This is probably the most heavily contested point on the list. In fact, this may be a con, depending on the type of person you are (spoiler: you’ll find productivity on the con list too).
For some, being at your house by yourself (depending on your work-from-home setup) can help you get much more work done than you’d ever get done in the office. There’s no one there to distract you. It’s just you and your work (and maybe some music too so it’s not too quiet).
Your Vehicle Will Have Less Wear and Tear
Improved work/life balance isn’t the only benefit of not having to commute to work each day. I’m sure your car maintenance bills slowed during the pandemic simply because you weren’t using your vehicle as often.
The oil changes (if you drive a vehicle with an internal combustion engine), tire rotations and other routine maintenance appointments aren’t necessary as often if you’re not driving. The lack of miles will cut down on your fuel costs (again, if you’re vehicle isn’t electric) and, hopefully, increase the lifespan of your vehicle.
Another bonus: You’ve got a lower carbon footprint if you’re not driving as often.
You’ll Have a Healthier Lifestyle
While this one absolutely hinges on the type of person you are, generally, increased time in your day allows you to better plan for meals and take time to exercise.
Instead of picking up fast food on your way home from work or ordering takeout, maybe you go grocery shopping each weekend for ingredients that’ll cover meals for the week — now that you have more time to cook on weeknights, of course.
Or maybe you’re already cooking meals each night. Now you have time for that walk or workout routine you’ve been putting off since you set your New Year’s Resolution in 2006 (heck, maybe you still have that gym membership you were going to use too!). And since you aren’t driving home from work, you’ll still have time to start cooking dinner at a decent time.
You’ll Be More Flexible With Your Kids’ Schedules
We put this one last since it doesn’t apply to everyone. But for those who have kids, you’ll appreciate it.
Is getting your kids ready for school like the scene in “Home Alone” where the alarm didn’t go off and they’re going to be late for their flight? Hope we didn’t trigger any bad memories for any of you…
Or maybe you’re always racing across town to get Junior ready for their Little League game after work. Now you’ll have time to do so in a more orderly manner.
Cons of Working From Home
Just like that friend of yours that says they’re only going to work remotely for the rest of their career, we’ve heard people say they’d never work outside of the office again.
Those that dislike working remotely struggle with the following things:
- Harder to “turn it off”
- Decreased productivity/collaboration
- Technology struggles
- Communication gaps
You’ll Have Difficulty “Turning it Off” Outside of Regular Hours
After your kids are sent off to school and your significant other has left the house en route to their job, what are you going to do until your day starts in 30 minutes? You might as well get some work done, right?
Are you done eating lunch fairly quickly? I guess it’s time to get back to work.
Or maybe you’re in the middle of something and 5 p.m. comes and goes. You don’t have to head home since you’re already there. Why not get something else done quickly too? After all, the rest of the family won’t be home for a bit yet anyway.
It’s really easy to sneak in more work when work is at your house instead of in an office miles and miles away. That extra work might come right after dinner too and before you go to bed. After all, you’ll sleep easier knowing you got that done today instead of waiting to start it tomorrow.
There are certainly cases where work/life balance has taken a hit when people work from home…
You’ll Get Less Work Done
We told you you’d see this one again on the cons list. Are you the type of person that uses the TV show you’ve seen 17 times from beginning to end as your background noise instead of music? Is it “The Office” for you too? The “Dinner Party” episode can steal anyone’s attention away for five minutes at a time, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
If you catch yourself staring at the TV screen instead of what you were working on, that’s not a great way to get things done. That pile of dirty laundry and dishes aren’t going to wash themselves either.
Fido wants to play fetch? What’s five minutes, right?
Those five-minute distractions add up. All of a sudden 5 p.m. rolls around and your work to-do list is only half done.
It’s also more difficult to collaborate with other members of your team. If you’re stumped on something and want to talk through it, you can’t just turn around and ask for advice.
You can try to explain your situation using email or instant messenger, but it’s not quite the same. A video meeting might work too, but how quickly can you wrangle the team together? You might lose your train of thought by the time everyone is ready.
Your Technology Isn’t Suitable for Working From Home
Not everyone has their very own gaming PC and the fastest internet speeds your local internet service provider offers. And, most of the time, that’s just fine for sending emails and working in an Excel spreadsheet. But, without fail, you’re the person whose video freezes when you’re mid-sneeze.
Depending on how many meetings you have each day, you can’t rely on shoddy internet. You need somewhere with fast, reliable internet — which is, generally, something your workplace would have. Or, at the very least, you’d have face-to-face meetings anyway. No internet is needed for that.
You’ll Get Lonely
To some, this might be a crazy concept, but some of us actually like our coworkers (insert shameless ATS plug here → We’ve got great opportunities available across the country).
When you’re at home, you miss out on the small talk with coworkers or the latest inside joke (“I love inside jokes. Love to be a part of one someday.” And you thought you could get away from “The Office” references).
It gets kind of lonely when that small talk carries into the latest video meeting you’re bound to freeze up in; they’ll probably make another joke you’ll miss out on while you’re frozen too…
You’ll Encounter More Communication Gaps
When you’re in the office sitting right next to your coworkers, getting a quick question answered is generally pretty quick. Just turn around, ask your question, get the answer and move on.
When you’re at home, you’ve got to type up your question, send it via email, instant message or text and wait for the response. If they don’t see that message come through right away, how long will you have to wait? It was supposed to be a quick question, after all.
Or what if you’re just trying to make a joke? We’ve all been in situations where you type up something you thought was funny and nobody else gets it because it didn’t come across properly via text. Now you’ve got an upset coworker that you were just trying to make laugh.
It’s about to get even more lonely for you now…
Video certainly helps solve some of those communication gaps, but it’s still not the same as a face-to-face conversation.
Should I Look for Work From Home Opportunities?
Every one of us is different from the other. That’s what makes humans so great, isn’t it? How boring would life be if we all liked the same things?
The same is true when it comes to working in the office or from the comfort of your home. Each has its own pros and cons and each is tailored to a certain type of person. Neither is perfect.
If you’re the type of person who could benefit from having no commute (both from a time standpoint and reduced wear and tear on your vehicle), work better alone and would take advantage of the flexibility with your kids’ schedules and better health habits, working from home is probably a better fit for you.
If you need that separate workspace outside of your home to know when it’s time to work and when it’s not, want that interaction with your coworkers (for multiple reasons, including collaboration, social interaction and better communication) and don’t have the technology it takes to succeed at home, then you should consider going into an office each day.
In reality, you’re probably a mix of both. In that case, you have to weigh the pros and cons and decide what’s more important to you. Maybe a hybrid approach — where you work a couple of days a week in the office and a couple from home — suits your needs better. Not every employer will offer that, but that might help you narrow down your options.
Work One Day From Home Each Week With ATS
If you determine you’d like to do a little of both, many career opportunities here at ATS have the option to work from home one day each week. Working in the transportation industry can be a great way to grow in your career while making a difference in everyone’s lives across the world.
ATS offers careers in accounting, fleet maintenance, human resources, IT, operations, sales, customer service and more. Swing through our career openings page to see if we have a career that suits your needs. If you find something you like, we’d love to chat — otherwise, we invite you to apply.