Working from home is a privilege.
You can work in pajamas and wake up anytime you like if you’re on a flexible schedule. Depending on your work, all you might need are a laptop and an internet connection to have a steady source of income.
On the other hand, responsibility and accountability absolutely have to be upheld. Perhaps even more so, when you are your own boss!
It’s easy to see how working from home can be a great fit for introverts. As with most things in life, it’s important to go through some pros and cons so that you have a better idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
While working from home can appear to be the perfect solution for introverts, unforeseen problems may arise. So consider the pros and cons very carefully before taking the plunge!
1. You need to be very disciplined. If you find yourself wasting lots of time scrolling your favorite websites or social media platforms, you might need to install productivity software that allows you to block certain websites so that you stay focused. It might be tempting to skive on work duties if you don’t have a supervisor eyeing your every move. But if you care about karma and other people, your conscience will be lighter if you’re honest and industrious. Furthermore, it’s bound to affect the quality of your current work and future prospects.
2. You might need to be your own advocate and remind family and friends that you work from home. To an onlooker, working from home may look like extended leisure time where the worker can do whatever they want, whenever they want, since they are at home. The fact is that it still requires a solid stretch of uninterrupted focus so that you can complete your work tasks, just like at a conventional office job. Just because you’re home does not mean you’re free for a cuppa coffee (or tea) anytime, or that you can walk the dog, or help run some errands at any given moment during the day.
This reminds me of a friend whom I’ll call “Ms. Artist.” She had a beautiful home office complete with a picturesque view from her office window. The serenity was disrupted when friends would drop by unannounced when they noticed her car parked in the driveway. Recently, Ms. Artist cleared out her garage so that the car is back where it belongs — and not alerting others of her whereabouts!
3. Dealing with noisy neighbors takes on a whole new level of horror. Do you have neighbors who are loud at night or who disrupt your sleep? Now imagine they’re noisy throughout your entire workday too. This would drive most people insane, let alone introverts who need quiet time to recharge and feel centered. You could try the usual tactics such as investing in soundproofing, good headphones, or politely chatting with your neighbor if you’re on good terms with them. Otherwise, moving is probably your best bet (and make sure you do some research of your new abode). Please deal with this sooner rather than later to spare yourself a lot of grief and stress.
4. You could find yourself dealing with isolation. Introverts like and need some alone time, but we also crave deep and intimate connections with others. If you’re getting antsy about working from home because you don’t have much contact with others, try to find ways in which you can meet like-minded folk. You could start a blog, a Facebook group, or make new friends via meet ups, book clubs, or penpal clubs.
5. You can live in your head…a lot. It can be hard to unplug and switch your mind off at the end of the day. You might need to get out of your head for a break from all that time alone with your own perspective or repetitive thoughts. Challenge yourself to achieve new goals so that you don’t get stagnant or too comfortable with remote work.
Now that we’re had a rundown of the cons, here are some of the outstanding perks you get with working from home.
1. There’s more time for self-care. Are activities like healthy cooking and exercise a part of your daily routine? When you don’t need to spend a lot of time commuting to and from work, guess what? You gain additional time for self-care! You also cut down on the major stress that’s associated with commuting. As introverts, we all know that self-care is the key to a better relationship with both ourselves and others. There are also numerous reasons as to why working remotely is supportive to mental health.
2. It’s easier to avoid small talk. Small talk is defined as “polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters”…and as someone with strong views on many things, “polite conversation” rarely does it for me in terms of a deep and meaningful connection. When you work from home, you are better able to avoid social settings which do not satisfy or engage you on a deeper level.
3. You can enjoy a minimalist routine to getting ready for work. You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money on a professional wardrobe (although you may still want to dress for success depending on your industry). Women spend an average of 55 minutes daily on their beauty regimen. While you don’t need to be a slob when you work from home, you tend to worry less about blemishes or dark undereye circles if you’re not going to be facing many people throughout the day. Fewer eyes on you means less judgement on your appearance, whether real or perceived.
4. You have more flexibility. If your hours are flexible, living and travelling can actually become a reality as you’re location independent. If you like staying in one spot, you’re granted flexibility in other ways. Depending on your schedule, you’ll be able to spend time with your kids and/or pets as you work — so long as you continue to do quality work on time.
5. You have more autonomy and control over your work environment. Many introverts enjoy having freedom and autonomy while working. If you don’t feel comfortable in your work setting, your productivity and concentration skills will suffer. As a remote worker, you can choose to set up your home office however you like or do some work at a quiet place like a library if you need a change of pace. Another plus is that you’ll get to communicate well over email — a huge plus for introverts who find writing easier than speaking.
Working from home is not a walk in the park just because you don’t have to turn up at an office with your colleagues. But it can be a relief when you can simply focus on your work without the additional stress of a daily commute and constantly having to deal with people.
For me, the pros far outweigh the cons. Working remotely is something I am thankful for every day.
If working from home is something you’re keen on doing, be sure to read about where the best opportunities lie through sites like remote.co. The sky’s the limit when you’re able to optimize your schedule and environment with work you love doing.
Jess Chua is an INFJ who’s passionate about empowering other introverts to live their best life. She has been quoted in articles on Apartment Therapy, Forbes, and Student Loan Hero.
If you’re seeking an introvert community or 1:1 business coaching service, you’re at the right place!