Work from Home vs. the Office (With Pros and Cons)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Jobs constantly evolve to accommodate flexibility amongst employees and boost their performance. A job's location is a critical reason why an employee can shift their employment position from an office to a remote environment. Selecting an appropriate location to execute your job tasks impacts your overall productivity and facilitates personal fulfilment. In this article, we define what working from home vs. the office entails, differentiate between the two job environments and analyse their pros and cons.

Related: 15 Ways to Motivate Yourself at Work and Improve Productivity

Work from home vs. an office

If you're considering remote opportunities, you may be interested in comparing what it's like to work from home vs. in an office. Working from home entails conducting tasks and projects remotely from your home, rather than performing and executing your responsibilities in a specific location for an organisation or business. Remote jobs can be freelance or contractual agreements, but office jobs are mostly permanent. Each job environment has its pros and cons and varies on individual preferences and job requirements. Here's more information about each type of job:

Office jobs

They are employment positions that require you to perform your duties at the company's location. Office layouts include closed and open plans, with most offices having open layouts, but senior employees, such as chief executive officers and managers, may get private cubicles. Office jobs include:

  • Receptionist: A receptionist performs administrative tasks such as welcoming and assisting guests upon arrival at the company. They also escort guests to the appropriate destinations within the company and handle courier deliveries.

  • Computer system analyst: This role refers to an individual who analyses and designs techniques to solve business problems using information technology. You're responsible for ensuring a company's system functions appropriately.

  • Operations manager: An operations manager is a human resource professional responsible for hiring new colleagues. In this role, you perform tasks like setting staff training standards, which happen within the office setting.

  • Procurement manager: Procurement managers are responsible for sourcing company products and services. Responsibilities entail directing the procurement process, which requires your physical presence at the office.

Related: How to Create KPIs to Boost Performance

Remote jobs

Most remote jobs have minimal requirements, such as computer access and internet connectivity, to conduct project tasks. You can execute them on contract, freelance or permanent employment. They include:

  • Customer service associate: Customer service professionals are responsible for helping customers with concerns regarding their products or services. As a customer service associate, you also represent the company's image on social platforms.

  • V**irtual assistant**: This is an independent contractor who provides administrative, technical or creative services to clients remotely. Access to planning documents is crucial to enable you to perform tasks like answering calls and organising travel arrangements for clients.

  • Social media manager: As a manager, your duties entail monitoring the social media presence of a company, product, brand or influential person. Additional roles include creating social media content and responding to questions and comments from brand loyalists or followers.

  • Web designer: This is an individual who builds and redesigns aesthetically appealing websites. A designer's tasks require creativity to create pleasant layouts, designs and features.

  • Marketing specialist: These professionals specialise in marketing areas like search engine optimisation (SEO), influencer marketing, market research and event marketing. Duties entail trend analysis and market research to develop a company's marketing strategy.

Related: What Is a Work-From-Home Policy? (Plus What to Look For)

Differences between home and office environments

Home and office environments impact employees' productivity differently. Some prefer in-office environments because of regular service hours, while others opt for home jobs due to the freedom to conduct and execute tasks flexibly. Differences between home and office environments include:

Finance

As an employee operating from home, you incur minimal travelling expenses, unlike an in-office job where you incur daily transport costs. You can save more money with a home job, but your daily travel expenses depend on the distance from your home to work for an official one. You may also incur extra costs from purchasing equipment like home printers and desktops to execute your tasks effectively in a home environment.

Time

Remote jobs don't have a specific number of service hours in a day but rather a deadline date. You tackle tasks at any time of the day, provided that you submit them before the deadline. An in-office job has regular service hours to perform tasks and you can hold physical meetings to collaborate on daily projects or tasks.

Communication method

Remote jobs depend on technology for communication with employees, which influences the pace of collaborative projects. For example, if an employee is unresponsive or absent during a project update, it may delay the project completion timeline. Office jobs typically entail direct verbal communication since most employees are in proximity to each other. It positively influences collaborative projects because employees can quickly update and edit project information after consultation with their colleagues.

Related: How to Decide If Permanently Working from Home Is Right for You

Advantages of office jobs

Office jobs offer a support structure like specialised equipment. These structures create conducive environments and boost productivity levels. Here are some of the benefits of an office environment:

Regulates service hours

When operating from the office, you have specific hours to handle your tasks before going home. This creates a boundary between service and relaxation hours or quality family time. You can balance your life at home with your job.

Minimises disruptions

An office is designed to maximise productivity among employees. For example, if an office has an open layout with cubicles, colleagues have quick access to each other. This functional approach helps employees concentrate better on their tasks and operate more efficiently.

Improves interpersonal skills

Office operations boost an employee's interpersonal skills by encouraging professionalism. It helps you foster good professional relationships by applying goodwill, time management and effective communication principles. It also builds your reputation at your place of employment.

Increased support

Support in companies entails the services that departments and individuals share to make job functions easy. They include human resources, information technology and administrative services. While in an office environment, you can seek assistance from different department colleagues and request collaboration on group projects.

Related: Why Work in Treasury? (With Duties and Skills)

Disadvantages of office jobs

If you have an in-office job offer, consider its setbacks and make an informed decision before accepting it. Some factors to consider include:

Transport costs

Further proximity between your home and office can be costly for you due to transport costs. Consider moving closer to your job location to decrease transport costs. If relocation isn't possible, consider asking your employer for a more flexible work schedule.

Sedentary lifestyle

Since professionals sit for several hours while handling their job responsibilities in an office, it's important to ensure you sit in a comfortable posture to avoid back and neck strain. Take frequent breaks, like every 30 minutes to stretch, then resume your tasks. Keep hydrated to achieve mental clarity too.

Advantages of remote jobs

Discipline is vital while handling tasks in a remote job. Benefits of remote jobs include:

Cost-saving

You incur minimal commuting costs when you operate remotely. It also allows you to spend more time with your family. You can save commuting costs and invest in activities like gym memberships or your other personal interests.

Flexible schedule

When working from home, you manage your own workload and schedule. For example, if you're more productive in the morning, consider completing all tasks during morning hours. You can handle other responsibilities afterwards, such as leisure activities or meeting with friends.

Dress code choice

A remote job allows you to choose what to wear except on special occasions, which require official dressing like virtual meetings. Choosing your dress code offers comfort and allows you to express your style freely, without limitations. You save money since you rarely dress in official attire like suits, which can be costly.

Healthier lifestyle

It's easier to take regular breaks while operating from home. You can take breaks to reduce eyestrain and move your body when you sit for longer than 30 minutes. Because of the time you save from not having to commute, you can take time to exercise to stay healthy.

Freedom to change locations

Some remote jobs allow you to operate from any part of the world. Freedom enables you to participate in other leisure activities, like travelling to different countries. You can also manage other commitments easily.

Related: How to Search for Remote Work on Indeed

Disadvantages of remote jobs

Disadvantages of remote jobs include:

Concentration difficulties

Operating in a remote environment involves distractions such as children and pets, which can reduce your concentration on tasks. These distractions might affect your job performance. Minimise these distractions by using one of your rooms as an office and closing the door while working.

Related: How to Stay Focused When You Work from Home

Communication delays

Operating from home can delay communication amongst colleagues because of unavailability or failure to respond to messages on time. It can result in reduced job productivity in group assignments. Manage time appropriately and clarify communication expectations with your colleagues, especially if you work in different time zones.

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