As work becomes more and more digitized, members of the workforce face a unique challenge—where is the best place to get down to business?

A number that has continuously increased since the Covid-19 pandemic, experts have predicted that by 2025, 36 million Americans will be working remotely—a 417% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Types of work schedules have become increasingly variable—gone are the days of being anchored to one location for eight hours a day. From digital nomads to collaborative office spaces, the number of places for employees to work is boundless! The new workforce trend is hybrid and flexible. At bfd interiors, we love a good flex schedule and hybrid workday! Here we’ll discuss three different locations, and the distinctive qualities of each.

1. Your Home

Working from home has become increasingly popular, particularly with the rise of remote workers. The title now even has its own acronym of endearment, WFH. And you know we love a good acronym! 😉 Read along to learn about the pros and cons of WFH.

the pros:

  • Flexibility: Working from the comfort of your home is just that— comfortable! You can lounge on your own furniture, prepare lunch in your own kitchen, and even take breaks walking around your neighborhood. Take night shifts at your convenience or work incrementally throughout the day! You can even switch to a compressed work schedule, completing your hours within less than the average 5-day work week. If you love nesting and all the sweetness being cozied up at home brings, WFH is definitely for you.

  • No commute: Whether it’s a 15-minute drive or any number of hours on public transit, the time once spent commuting is now your own. Not to mention, you’ll also be saving money on gas and reducing your carbon footprint!
  • Increased Productivity: In a study done by the University of Chicago and the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology, researchers found that 40% of participants increased their productivity by working from home.

the cons:

  • Isolation: Though working from home decreases the number of distractions and workplace politics, on the flip side it can be quite isolating. Socialization is no longer built into your workday, and if you’re someone who requires human interaction for fuel, you may need to be more intentional about incorporating social activities into your schedule.
  • Distractions: While social distractions may not be as much of a component, we all have those tasks piled up which only become more foreboding when you’re working from home. There are dishes in the sink, laundry is spilling out of the basket, and an endless stream of chores begs for your attention. Perhaps a family member or pet keeps interrupting. When working from home, it can be difficult to set the work/home boundaries you need to thrive.

2. The Office

A tale as old as time—the office is the original workplace for a reason. Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of returning to the office.

the pros:

  • Productive Environment: Office spaces are typically set up to enhance your productivity. Lighting, furniture, and set-up are carefully curated to empower your work experience in a way that can’t always be recreated at home. Similarly, there may be many physical resources available at work (such as storage, technology, etc.) that are expensive to replicate at home.
  • Social Connections: There truly is nothing like being with people in person! Face-to-face communication creates a sense of community and breeds grounds for spontaneous collaboration. Instead of having to schedule that Zoom call or exchange lengthy emails, being together in an office space enables regular interaction. The tone of voice and body language can elevate many conversations flattened over the internet. In-person, communication is easier and more accessible, and there’s always somebody to eat lunch with!

the cons:

  • Limited Flexibility: When working so closely with others, usually there are more rules and regulations in place in order to keep everything flowing, especially if you are a full-time employee. Break time might come less organically, you may feel more pressure to complete things on a tighter schedule, and stress can be contagious in an office environment. Not to mention, working in an office does lock you into a daily commute, which can ungraciously add extra time onto an already long day.
  • Office Politics: If your place of work has complicated social dynamics, the thought of more face-to-face interaction with other office workers may not be particularly appealing. Certain hegemonic conditions can deplete worker morale and lead to lower job satisfaction.

3. A Destination or “The Third Place”

Here’s one where you can get really creative! From your local library to that cute new cat-themed café in town, the world is your oyster. With earbuds and Wi-Fi at your disposal, pretty much anywhere could be your personal office for the day. Let’s jump into the pros and cons of working at an alternative location.

the pros:

  • Variety: When working from a third location, you allow yourself the opportunity to make every day suit your own desires. Maybe you’re a creature of habit, and you practically have a table with your name on it at your local coffee shop. Or maybe novelty inspires you, and you’re constantly scoping out shops where you can try out as many zany kombucha flavors as possible. The choice is yours!
  • Separation of Work & Home: While lacking the stuffiness of an office, working from an alternate destination still grants you the space to create a distinction between your work and home life. Though maintaining similar levels of flexibility as WFH, looming household chores won’t nag you so much while you’re out of the house.
  • Parallel Play: Been meaning to schedule that coffee date with your bestie but your work schedules are too all-consuming? Try parallel play! Traditionally a term used for children who play separately but alongside each other, the adult version can be just as fulfilling. Working across the table from your bestie creates a more motivating environment, allows for easy and fruitful social interaction during breaks, and can strengthen your relationships.

the cons:

  • Distractions: Though being in a novel environment can stimulate creativity and enhance productivity, it can also introduce a myriad of other distractions. Whether someone’s having a very interesting conversation at the table behind you, or a toddler is having a meltdown in the corner, there can be a lot of unpredictable variables when venturing out into the public!
  • Logistics: If you’re heading out to a restaurant, café, library, or any other similar spot, you’ll always have to plan ahead and consult the location’s hours and availability. This can be cumbersome to align with your schedule, particularly if you work at odd hours. Moreover, working in a café can often drain you of some extra spending cash, especially when their cinnamon chai latte is just so yummy!

Ultimately, choosing where to work boils down to your personal aspirations and goals. While WFH provides comfort and flexibility (and maybe even a compressed schedule!), it lacks the benefits of face-to-face community and collaborative opportunities that working in the office might bring. On the other hand, a third destination could be just the novelty you need to get those creative juices flowing and inspire greater depths of productivity than ever before! Or maybe your perfect type of schedule lies within a balanced cocktail of all three. Trust your intuition—only you know how you work best!

Be sure to tag us as you explore the various work options and let us know which works for you!