Like a lot of other people, I enjoy working from home when I can — I get to sleep in (kind of), goof off (I guess?), make my own schedule (between during normal working hours like in an office setup …) and overall, sit at my bedroom desk all day in my PJs, with my chubby cat vying for my attention and ultimately keeping me from really getting anything done. But she’s cute, so I can’t be blamed.
The part of me that loves working from home is completely separate from the part that’s responsible in a lot of ways, though, and deep down, I know I actually produce more quality work when I’m fully dressed and sitting at a desk a few miles away and in a different building than my bed.
Sure, it’s not always ideal, but all in all when it comes to my own personal productivity, I know what works for me and what doesn’t, even if what works isn’t always the ideal. But if you’ve been considering which side to take in the ever-evolving workforce, perhaps checking out both sides would do you some good.
While we already have a list of all the pros and cons for staying home, here are some of the same for heading into the office every morning:
Better Focus in Designated Spaces Like in an Office
When you work somewhere other than home, it’s easier to separate the two. While for some people this may already be easy, for others like me, I like to keep business and play as separate as possible in order to avoid muddying each other too much. Of course I 100 percent believe in having fun while working and the importance of loving what you do, but when it comes to my personal hobbies, for the most part I’d like to keep them separate — unless they’re actively contributing to the work I’m producing.
For example, on the side I like to do photography and art. I even got my bachelor’s degree in art — and while I’m a freelance writer, sometimes I’ll include drawings or photos in some of my articles, but otherwise I prefer to keep the two separate so they don’t intermingle and give my art hobby too much weight to carry. It’s the same for anything, I imagine — if your craft desk is the same as your work desk, how easily are you able to separate the different stresses that comes with the two?
When you work somewhere other than home, it’s easier to separate the two.
How often are you trying to relax by doing something you love, only to suddenly begin thinking about work and all the other things you have to get done, rather than spending some time doing what you love? Personally, I’d prefer to just avoid the trouble, keeping work at work, and vice versa.
When I clock out of work, I want to remain clocked out for the rest of the evening, rather than being tempted to log back in and do something a little extra. Not only does it help me deal with day-to-day stress, but it gives me the excuse to relax at the end of the day — because there’s nothing I can do about the next big thing on my list, that stuff’s all the way at the office, I guess I have no choice but to sit on the couch in my underwear and watch anime instead.
Human Interaction and Reason to Get Dressed
As someone who suffers from depression, I can tell you one of the things that helps keep symptoms at bay is the everyday interaction with other people, even if that doesn’t mean conversation or anything else really personal. Even just being around other people going about their work, feeling like I belong at my desk surrounded by my coworkers, it gives me a strange sense of purpose.
Not only that, but it keeps me in the know. Not only am I getting my boost of human interaction on the daily, but it helps me to keep up with current events, it makes me more available for moving up in job positions and allows me to participate in company events and meetings that otherwise I might miss out on — all things that contribute to being a successful social entrepreneur in the business world.
Not to mention, a reason to get up on time every morning, pick out a cute outfit, do my makeup, pull on a pair of heels for no reason except that I like the way they look; it keeps my negative thoughts and self-esteem issues at bay, too. Of course, as an introvert, some days I want nothing more than to hole myself up in my room and do all my writing on my laptop under my comforter, but for the most part having a reason to look presentable and simply get out of bed in the first place is a life saver. I love lazing around in comfy clothes just as much as anyone, but I feel better and more confident in a skirt and heels anyday.
Keeping a Schedule
On top of forcing me out of bed around the same time every morning, I love being forced into a regular daily routine. Clock in, work, clock out, go to the gym, head home, make dinner, feed the cat, go to bed, rinse and repeat. I prefer my life to, for the most part, be pretty predictable, especially when it comes to money and finances, like getting a regular paycheck.
When I’m held accountable for my own daily schedule with no one there to see but me, chances are I’ll be rolling out of bed at noon, eating a popsicle or two for breakfast/lunch, and then making up for the hours lost late into the night. Even if I set an alarm, I’m less likely to actually get up and get going right away if I’m not physically expected anywhere!
It also gets me out of the house, which contributes more to what I mentioned before about mandatory human interaction — but if you live at home with your parents, with a significant other, or a roommate, sometimes just getting away to work somewhere else is soothing enough. It’s the same reason why I used to stay late in the library during school to avoid heading home to my noisy roommates, long before I knew doing background checks on strangers before moving in together was even a thing. Oh, if I could turn back time, I might have slept a little more soundly.
While the idea of saving money this way seems a little counterintuitive — I’m driving back and forth from the office every day, after all — I think it’s a bit of a balancing act. By working in an office, that means a few things to me:
- In winter, I’m not paying my own heating bill half the time, I just soak up all the office heat during the day instead — in the summer, it’s A/C.
- The same applies to electricity, water, and so on. Let’s do all that on the office’s dollar.
- If necessary or in an emergency, I could cancel the internet at my apartment, because I’d still have it at work.
- I save on essentials like coffee, cereal, and other small snacks provided in the breakroom. This includes the occasional catered lunch, breakfast, etc., which are especially great if you’re a big fan of restaurants but are trying to stick to a budget and eat out less.
- Working in an office under a corporation/business, rather than freelancing, means I’m more eligible for paid sick leave, paid vacation, health insurance, and all of those others things that would otherwise come out of pocket if I was my own boss.
All of these things may seem small, and perhaps more like “perks” than actual “magic tricks to saving money,” but especially if you’re just getting out on your own, trying to make your way in the world and save money wherever you can, the little things add up. A meal a day, a cut in the heating bill — they may seem negligible, but especially when you’re on a tight budget, even the negligible things can make a difference.
In your own experience, do you prefer working at home or in an office? While it’s obvious both have their ups and downs, their pros and cons, there isn’t a universal answer that applies to everyone when it comes to which is actually “better.” If you could choose one over the other, would you? Maybe you prefer a balance of the two? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
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