Disadvantages of working from home?

There’s a lot of obvious advantages of working from home, but have we truly considered the disadvantages of working from home?

Recently, when I was in Bangkok to give the closing keynote for the Dell Technologies South East Asia Partner Summit, I also sat through some of the earlier sessions and learned a lot on this topic!

Disadvantages of working from home

Here are my top takeaways from the keynote and panel led by the excellent Steve Brazier – he spoke about various trends, but here are his thoughts on the disadvantages of working from home:

– Everyone is familiar with the many advantages of working from home – saving office costs, travel time, your own environment, etc

– But it is vital to bear in mind that most of the articles we see about working from home are written by journalists, not corporate leaders – and journalist have their own biases towards working from home

– There are many disadvantages to the business of working from home which are often overlooked: e.g.:

  • You cannot have interns;
  • People are more likely to miss out on knowing general things that are going on in the business – those things you just pick up from being around colleagues;
  • Similarly, leaders will not have such a good sense of “what is going on” and so are more likely to make wrong decisions;
  • When regional/global leaders visit offices, they are not able to meet everyone so easily and to get a sense of what is going on;
  • By working from home, there are also disadvantages to the employee, such as: pay for heating/aircon; less sense of belonging; isolation & mental health risks.

– He stressed that leaders should think very carefully before closing an office, as it is very hard and costly to reverse this decision once made!

So it seems the benefits of working from home are slanted to the employee, over the business. It made me wonder about how much businesses are thinking of how they can make “days in the office” especially great experiences, a highlight of the working week? 

Enjoyed these reflections? For more takeaways on current trends and the future of HR, read my other post here.