The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of Americans to work from home. For some, this was a dream come true. No more commuting! More flexible hours! The ability to work in your PJs!
But for others, working from home (WFH) has been a nightmare. They miss the social interaction of the office. They’re constantly distracted by family members or roommates. And they find it difficult to stay motivated without the structure of a traditional workday.
So what are the real impacts of working from home during COVID-19? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons, based on data from a recent study by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and with comments from Lucy Lyle, Perch co-founder, who specializes in WFH productivity.
The Pros of Working from Home During COVID-19
There are definitely some advantages to working from home, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the ACOEM study, the majority of respondents said they felt safer working from home than going into an office.
In addition, working from home can save you time and money. Lucy Lyle explains: “The average commuter spends 52 minutes traveling to and from work each day. That’s more than 4.5 hours each week! And when you factor in the cost of gas, parking, and other commuting-related expenses, working from home can save you hundreds of dollars each month.”
Finally, working from home can give you a greater sense of control over your schedule. This can be a huge advantage for parents who need to be available for their children or for anyone who needs to care for an ill family member.
The Cons of Working from Home During COVID-19
Of course, there are also some disadvantages to working from home during COVID-19. One of the biggest is that it can be isolating. “This is understandable; after all, it’s hard to socialize when you’re sitting in front of a computer all day!” Lucy Lyle, Perch co-founder, adds.
In addition, working from home can be distracting. Nearly one-third of respondents in the ACOEM study said they felt more distracted when working from home than in an office setting. This is especially true if you have young children at home; it can be nearly impossible to get work done with little ones running around!
Lastly, many people miss the structure and routine of going into an office every day. When you’re used to getting up and going into an office every day, it can be tough to adjust to a new normal where you’re stuck at home all day long.
Overall, there are both advantages and disadvantages to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic—it really depends on your individual situation. “Employers should take note of this,” Lucy Lyle concludes, “and not assume that WFH affects all their staff in the same way.”