As a PhD student, I work from home at least one day a week – more during the summer months. I am very grateful that I am able to work at home, and not just because I don’t have to spend an hour and a half driving to work. Although I do love to be around my colleagues, there are some definite benefits to working at home. Here is my top 5!
1. Fewer distractions
When I’m working at home, there are very few things that can distract me. Of course, I can browse my social media accounts, unload the dishwasher or vacuum (HAHA this never happens) but those things are much more under my control. When I’m at work, people can walk by, or ask to have lunch, go for a walk, get coffee, ask me a question, tell me to do something… I love having people around, but sometimes it’s very distracting, especially when you have a paper to write. At home it’s just me, my desk and my computer, so when I’m focused I can write without any interruptions.
2. Comfortable clothing
The best thing about working at home is that you can roll out of bed and straight into your office (whatever that may be) wearing the exact same clothing. I do make a distinction between pyjama’s and ‘walking around the house clothes’ but that’s a just a technicality. I love to work in sweatpants and a hoodie which I would never wear to work. Also, I can easily move between my desk, the couch and the dining room table which can also help me to focus. Change is good!
3. More time
My work days at home are much more productive than my days at the ‘office’. I get up around 7 am, work out, shower, have breakfast and am sitting behind my desk before 9 am. When I have to physically drive to work I always get a much later start, because there’s traffic and I have to get into my routine when I get to work. I have to unpack, get coffee, start my laptop and get into the work mind-set. It takes much more time to actually get work done.
4. Background music
I love to play (loud) music when I’m working, which is not something I think my roommates at work would appreciate. At home, I can play my favorite music as loud as I want. I have headphones at work which is also fine, but it’s just not the same as playing loud music over your speakers which you can also sing along with without bothering anyone. Music can really motivate me, but it only works when I’m writing or grading papers. If I have to prepare a lecture or read articles, I need complete silence (which is not a problem at home either).
5. Home cooked lunches
I love to have a warm, home-cooked lunch with is also why I love working at home. Whenever I’m physically at work I make sure I bring my own food to heat up, but it’s not the same as cooking something and eating it right away. I especially love to make a quick pasta with tomato sauce when I’m home, which tastes best when it’s freshly cooked. At home the food is just better; another definite advantage of working from home!
I have to add that all of these advantages don’t take anything away from going to work and being around my colleagues. There are many advantages to that too, like being able to ask questions, socialize, help each other when you’re stuck and being able to make fast decisions by just walking over to someone as opposed to waiting for an e-mail to arrive. For me, the combination between working at home and physically being at work is ideal, I wouldn’t want it any other way.