Working From Home Vs. At The Office As a Parent

Since the invention of offices, the daily grind has been commuting to the office, stay at your office until work is over, and then commute home from your office.  If you were lucky, you didn’t have too long of a commute to the office, but many people spend years of their life commuting.  As technology improved, opportunities to work outside of the office began popping up.  Fast forward to current times and the whole daily grind has been turned upside down.

It would be insensitive to thank Coronavirus for this historic change in work environment, so I’m not going to do it….I’m not….but I will say, the pandemic definitely caused the corporate world to re-evaluate the working situation.  Companies are evaluating whether they can get rid of office spaces all together after they’ve seen how well production of their employees was throughout the work from home situation. 

an old apartment building

Now there are many people who still want to be in an office every day.  I understand it.  It might be the only human interaction some people get all day, so they want to be in an office getting to interact with humans.  Obviously, people in the healthcare industry or food industry aren’t part of this conversation so I apologize for leaving you out, but you guys and girls don’t have a choice besides having human interaction every day.

For others, it’s brought up an interesting idea of work life balance that has never happened before in their working careers.  Especially for parents, who must juggle a million balls in the air every day.  So, for the purposes of this article, I want to focus on the parents and look at working from home vs. working in an office and see which one creates the better lifestyle.

Flexibility

The topic of flexibility should be a no brainer for deciding if it’s better to work from home or work in an office.  Remember when the pediatrician could only give you a 10am appointment for your daughter?  Remember how annoying it was going into work for like a half hour, then leaving, then going to the doctor, then going back to work…. then going back home at the end of the day.  Yeah, that wasn’t much fun. 

But when you’re working from home, you don’t have to feel like you’re on an episode of The Amazing Race when you must take your child to the doctor during the day.  And forget if you worked in NYC and lived in New Jersey.  Any appointment for anything during the day might as well have been on the moon. 

houses on embankment near river

When working from home, you can be more available for your children and if something comes up at school or daycare, you can be there a lot quicker.  You also can maybe even throw an extra load of laundry in and start a meal in the slow cooker and eat dinner before bedtime.

Winner: Working from Home

Productivity

This one may seem like it should go to working in an office, but once again I’ll make the case for working from home.  It goes without saying parents that if you’re working from home, you are more than likely putting in more hours than you would in an office.  Let’s say you worked 9-5 in an office and had a half hour commute to work.  You probably left your house at 8am or earlier to have time to bring your child to school or daycare and then went off on your way to work.  Again, if you took a train to NYC or another big city, your commute time was probably even longer.

Now, instead of working just 9 to 5, you may leave to bring your child to school and get home by 8 and add an extra hour in of work.  Or if you were an extra early riser who spent time getting ready for work, you can through on some shorts or sweatpants and a shirt and do some extra work instead.  The same goes for in the evening after your children are in bed.  You can pop open your computer and send a few more emails if necessary. 

low angle view of office building against sky

Now, when you’re in an office, you may have a lot less interruptions and work straight through 9 to 5 where at home you may have to deal with children running around after school etc.  So, I will say, you may have a little more peace and quiet in the office…possibly.  Let’s not forget about John in Accounting coming over every 10 minutes to talk to you about how bad Space Jam 2 was or asking you at 10:30am what you were having for lunch.

Winner: Working from Home

Social Interaction

With Working from Home leading 2-0 in this competition, Social Interaction may be the spot where the office gets a point.  Now, most parents get enough interaction with a human daily, although you may not be having to deep of conversations if it’s your son or daughter.  Sure, talking about multiplication and division is thrilling, but it may make you lose your mind if that’s your only in person interaction all day.

a businessman and his colleagues in the office

Although there are some great video chat applications, they also are a little frustrating when you’re on a meeting.  If people don’t have their cameras on, it’s hard to tell if they are paying attention or watching TV instead.  Talking to coworkers on an instant messenger may also seem like you’re back in middle school or high school talking to someone in a faraway place.  Although I wouldn’t suggest asking them A/S/L (if you don’t know what that means you’re either too old or too young and that’s okay just move on). 

Winner: The Office

So out of 3 important aspects of work life, it seems that working from home is beneficial for parents.  Again, there are the outliers of parents who just want to be out of their house and away from their spouse and kids for as long as possible and I won’t judge for that.  But overall, being able to work from home can really improve your life as a parent.

the boss working in the office

It can also help with parent child bonding as well as you’ll be able to see your children more and see I-95 or New Jersey Transit less.  If it’s an option for you, I’d recommend thinking about making the work from home a way of life even after the pandemic.

What do you prefer?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

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