Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Work at Home Generation: Pros and Cons

With atoms turning to bits, traditional models of business being overruled by freshly paved business models and soaring gas prices, companies are looking for more ways to upgrade their productivity. Working from home isn't a new concept and now with the ability to perpetually connect to anyone, anywhere at anytime, there has been a push for employers to allow their employees to stay at home...seems nice, right?

Having only worked in the small business area and as an entrepreneur, I am all for this idea. Though, in the midst of starting two companies (all from home) I have realized that one must set concrete boundaries for themselves as well as the loved ones around them.

For you today, I gathered and re-purposed many of the pros and cons I have come across as well as added some personal examples myself.


1. Flexibility:
Working from home provides the flexibility that some people want and need. Flexibility in terms of when to put the hours in, where to put them in, and how to put them in. One day I can be sitting in my home office working on my business plan but next minute be working in the backyard. I believe I get more accomplished from having the flexibility to change my scenario than being confined to one place. I use dropbox to keep all my files in one central location in which I can access from my laptop or desktop.

2. Creates an organic creative environment:
For us right-brained folks, having the leisure to build our space is highly prized. We see this in the cubicle world of many businesses, especially at places like Zappos where creating your own personal space is part of the culture. However, it is still at an office.

3. Dress code:
There is no dress code and that saves money. End. Though, some people like the process of dressing up. Being employed by small business since I have had the opportunity to work, I have realized that people who do not dress the part work just as hard or even harder than people who do not.

4. More control:
In terms of control, I mean having the ability to set your schedule and deadlines. This requires the type of person who is very disciplined and is goal oriented. If you require a lot of direction, working from home probably isn't good.


1. Never leave work:
A con for some people but could be a pro for other people. I put this in the con section because, like flexibility and control, they can backfire. To combat this issue, I would suggest setting a place of the house to be solely for business. In my house, my room is my office. But, I am different. And, as flexibility and technology allow me, I am change locations very easily if I am getting distracted.

2. Lack of office camaraderie:
We all need to socialize. We all love competition. If you are working from home, the only competition you have is the phone call you are on and the blow dryer.

3. Brainstorming is difficult:
It is hard to brainstorm with one person. However, with the advent of WebEx and VoIP, this bit of technology has helped improve the at home brainstorming sessions by having the ability to invite friends to the sessions.

4. Communication issues: family, office:
Not being in contact with the office can seem nice but when it comes to keep decision make issues, it can be very difficult. Also, if you do not set strict boundaries for when you work at home, it will be difficult to manage your at home relationships.

Technology is moving to support more work at home businesses. Though there will still be a need to get your competitive fix and be the social butterfly that you are. I am interested in seeing where and how businesses will utilize the many benefits and overcome the negative issues that surround work at home to accomplish something more efficient and effective.

Do you work from home? How do you handle it? What else do you like and dislike?