Post-lockdown, life looks different now for many people. Whether working as an employee or an independent worker, millions of people worked from home during the pandemic. With offices closed, video calling became the new boardroom meeting and people adapted. But now, the world is opening up again and many independent workers are faced with a difficult decision – continue working from home, or work from a physical location? Of course, there are pros and cons for both.
Working from home – is it the flexible, freeing experience people expect?
Working from home was something only a few people experienced pre-COVID 19 but is a term that many people are familiar with now, and has become a new way of working for many. The flexibility, not needing to commute each day, and being in your own house are definitely benefits of working at home. Not to mention the positive impact on the environment with fewer cars on the road!
Working from home can sound like the ideal situation, you save so much time and you can be more flexible with your day – have an appointment in the middle of the day or expecting a package to be delivered? No problem!
More and more independent workers and small businesses are transitioning to working from home as a more permanent solution, one of the reasons being cost – having a physical location that you either rent or pay to run can take a huge chunk of profits away from an independent worker.
On the other hand, working from home isn’t all sunshine and rainbows – although you aren’t spending money commuting somewhere each day, the cost of household bills is likely to rise – especially if your house is usually empty during the day, you now need to consider extra electricity and heating costs.
Finding a work-life balance can also be more difficult if you work out of your home – being able to leave work in another building makes it more likely that you will switch off when you return home. If others are working around you, the sight of others packing away is more likely to trigger you to start wrapping up for the day too, whereas if you are working at home you’re more likely to work into the evening without being fully aware of it.
Some people report feeling more lonely working from home too – even those who work from coffee shops have the hustle and bustle of people around them, and if you were to work in an environment with others, the daily interaction could be vital to a lot of people’s overall wellbeing.
Physical locations – building your brand vs. slashing your profits
Having a physical location in which you can go to meet clients can help with building your brand – many people trust businesses more when they have a physical location to go to. Having somewhere to host client meetings or even just a calm, professional background for video calls can have a huge impact on the overall impression you give clients.
Although having to commute to a place of work often seems like a waste of time, it can be beneficial to get out of the house – people are more likely to do activities after work if they’re already out, leading to a better work-life balance. If you have a busy household at home, people coming in and out, pets, or children, it can also prove to be more productive to leave the house to work.
The financial implications of both options need to be weighed up carefully. Working from home means less money spent on commuting, no fees associated with having a physical location to work in, and probably a lot less takeaway coffee and lunches too, but on the other hand, it also comes with its own increases in general running costs of the household. When considering which option works best for you, it could be a good idea to look at the costs of each.
So, when facing the decision of whether to continue to work from home or work in a physical location, there are many options to consider for an independent worker. Each individual is different – what works for one person may not work at all for another, so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons and do what works best for you and your business.