What are the pros and cons of working from home?

Working from a home office—or a living room, or a dining room or a bedroom—may be a lot more common than it used to be. But as work norms continue to shift, it’s worth examining what makes this arrangement so appealing. Or why some people prefer a traditional office setting.

Ultimately, the benefits and drawbacks of remote work depend on you, your employer and your job. But if you have the ability to work from home—or you’re considering a role that allows it—take a look at this list of pros and cons to get an idea of what you might expect.

Key takeaways: 

  • Many companies are adopting one of two work-from-home models: hybrid or fully remote. 
  • Working from home might provide additional flexibility and improved work-life balance.
  • Remote work could also have drawbacks, like feelings of isolation and burnout, to keep in mind. 

See if you’re pre-approved

Check for pre-approval offers with no risk to your credit score.

Get started

What does working remotely mean?

Few could have predicted how much work life would change over the past few years. What started as a few days at home quickly turned into a few months. And many didn’t return to their offices for a couple of years—if at all. 

For those who have always wanted to work from home, the pandemic also opened up opportunities for remote jobs. And if not fully remote, many jobs now offer a new hybrid-style work environment.

Hybrid schedule

Hybrid work models give employees a little bit of leeway when it comes to deciding what their work setup looks like. The flexible approach combines a few days in a traditional office environment with a few days in a work-from-home environment. 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for hybrid schedules—different companies have different work-from-home policies. Some might opt for three days in the office and two at home. Others might go with four days in the office and one at home. 

Fully remote 

With a fully remote job, employees spend every day working from the comfort of their homes (or work environment of their choosing if their job allows). This type of work model gives new meaning to the term work-life balance. Office life has its benefits, but try switching laundry after a midday call or starting dinner before an afternoon meeting.

What are the benefits of working from home?

Working from home looks different for everyone depending on industry, job and arrangement, but here are five potential advantages worth considering: 

1. Less time spent commuting

Eliminating a daily commute not only frees up time in your daily routine but also saves money on gas and tolls. Plus, there’s way less stress involved when your longest commute of the day involves relocating from one room to another. Say goodbye to traffic jams and hello to 9-to-5 jammies. 

2. Added comfort 

Maybe all-day pajamas aren’t your thing. But working from home can also be more comfortable than an office in a number of ways. Think: more elastic waistbands and the ability to fully customize your workspace.

3. Additional flexibility

The flexibility that comes with working from home may be one of its most appealing benefits. Some jobs offer employees the freedom to tweak their schedules as needed, offering them more control over how they spend their time. This is particularly beneficial for employees who have young children or other family members to care for. 

4. Increased productivity

A 9-month study conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Business found that working from home increased productivity by 13%. Of the 16,000 workers involved in the study, 9% of respondents credited that increase in productivity to fewer breaks and sick days and 4% attributed it to a quieter work environment.

5. Improved work-life balance

Whether you’re home or in the office, hopefully your employer allows you to be present in your work obligations without missing out on anything in your personal life. But remote work might offer more ability to be flexible with your schedule and decide where and when to focus your energy. 

What are the potential drawbacks of working from home?

The perks of working from home are clear, but there are some potential disadvantages that might not be as obvious.

1. Burnout

Working from home can make it difficult to establish boundaries between work time and personal time, ultimately leading to burnout. 

According to a 2022 survey from Aflac, 59% of American workers were burned out. That percentage is slightly higher than survey results from during the pandemic. The survey also revealed that remote and hybrid workers reported greater impacts to mental health than on-site employees. 

Remedy: Setting clear boundaries with your time can help alleviate the risk of burnout. Take a lunch break, sign off at an appropriate time, and try to remove yourself from your workspace as much as possible at the end of the day. 

2. Isolation

Quiet time away from co-workers might be good for productivity, but it can also be isolating. Remember that working from home often comes at the expense of in-person connection with co-workers. Remote work might require more effort to build and maintain relationships. 

Remedy: Scheduling regular meetings with your teammates can help rebuild a sense of normalcy in a work-from-home environment. Some companies even offer monthly in-person meetings to foster teamwork and spark collaboration among otherwise virtual team members. 

3. Higher electric bill 

More time at home inevitably leads to other changes, like keeping the lights on when you normally wouldn’t or keeping the heat a couple degrees higher on a chilly day. That might mean higher electric bills come with the work-from-home territory. 

Remedy: You could change some of your habits to counteract. Some companies offer work-from-home stipends to offset the cost of certain expenses that come with operating a home office. When figuring out your finances, keep in mind that working remotely likely saves you a few dollars in other areas, like gas or buying lunch out. 

Working from home in a nutshell

Weighing the pros and cons of working from home is crucial before you decide to make the leap. While remote work has clear benefits, no situation is perfect and it might not be the best work model for everyone. 

If you do decide to transition from in-office work, here are a few work-from-home tips to help you get started on your journey. And if you’re looking for a job and you’re not quite sure where to get started, here are a few tips to help you on your job search.

Related Content