Working In an Office vs. Working From Home: The Philippines Edition

Part V of the Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant

In Part IV of this series, we talked about the various online tools and applications a VA needs to become an effective remote employee. It’s a helpful article for people just starting out in the industry. Today, we want to give perspective to people who have just started working from home or have plans about making the switch by putting up office jobs against jobs where you work from home.

The pros and cons of each from the Filipino perspective should give interesting insight for anyone curious about the differences and for those who want to know more about working from home. 

Interested? Keep reading for our full list of pros and cons!

Working In an Office

Working an office job is the traditional career option many people choose and it has some advantages and disadvantages you may never have considered before:

Pros

It can improve your timekeeping skills

The office environment can be pretty strict about timekeeping. Yes, even in the Philippines where “Filipino time” is part of our shared vocabulary. Coming into the office late and leaving early are frowned upon, and lunchtimes are usually set and followed to the last second. That means you learn how to manage your time pretty quickly. If you’re someone who is unreliable when it comes to the times you set, working in an office could change that and make you more punctual as a person.

You get immediate feedback from supervisors

There are many tools that facilitate the feedback exchange between employers and employees when working a remote job, but there’s nothing that can quite replicate the same experience you get when you work in an office. Answers are answered immediately and you can instantly get feedback on the work you produce. It also better facilitates impromptu discussions between team members and supervisors.

You can learn a lot from your fellow employees

People who work in an office are likely to come from a variety of backgrounds. That means you’re going to encounter things that you might not have known about before. Whether that’s a way to do something, knowledge about the job, or even things like food and music. That can be pretty useful for someone entering their first job as you can absorb other people’s experience and knowledge.

It will boost your understanding of both your industry and your company

An upside to working in an office is that you become fully integrated within the organization and the business. You’ll pick things up without even realizing it, like what your company’s goals are and industry news. Soon, you’ll be speaking the same lingo your bosses use, too.

There will always be an opportunity to talk to people and socialize

If you’re someone who loves getting to talk to people, you’ll love an office job where there are endless opportunities for conversation. And if you’re of a shyer type, you might enjoy the opportunity to build up your social skills and make friends.

Cons

There are distractions

Unless you have a private office where you are able to work in solitude, you’re bound to get interrupted multiple times throughout the day. Sometimes that distraction will be someone speaking directly to you about one thing or another and sometimes it will simply be the noise that goes on in an office.

You are prone to adopting a sedentary lifestyle

Having an office job will usually involve sitting at a desk for almost the entirety of the day, with short breaks allowed. That usually means you spend hours of your day inactive, which can lead to you adopting a sedentary lifestyle where you gain weight and become less fit. This can be mitigated by doing more activities during your free time, but many find it hard to strike a balance.

There will be a commute to get to work

Ah, the dreaded commute. Every Filipino is familiar with the trials and tribulations that come with commuting to work, especially when many cities in the country have traffic jam problems. This can be a bigger problem if you live outside the CBD (as many of us do) and have to take more hours out of your day just to get to work on time.

Work relationships can be stressful

While being able to work with other people certainly has its upsides, navigating those relationships can sometimes be hard. There can often be a political and competitive nature to office relations and getting caught up in it can lead to more stress at work outside your actual workload.

The workspace isn’t always comfortable

As you can probably imagine, sitting in an office chair all day isn’t always comfortable. Coupled with temperatures in the office that you can’t control, you have a workspace that isn’t always up to you. That can be hard for someone who is particular about the environment they work in.

Working From Home

So what’s the alternative to the popular office job? In recent years, working from home has become more popular among young Filipinos in the workforce. If that is something that intrigues you, these are the pros and cons of working from home:

Pros

You don’t have to worry about dressing for business

One upside to working from home is that you don’t have to worry about what you wear to work because guess what? Your home is your workplace. That means you can save the money that might otherwise go toward buying business attire for an office.

You can control your work environment

Work better at certain temperatures? Do you like silence when you work or do you like soft music playing? Whatever it is that helps you get the job done, you can incorporate it into your workspace at home with no one to complain about it.

You have more independence

Everyone can agree that independence is something we don’t really get in the traditional workplace. We have to do things at certain times and in a certain way. When you work from home, you have more options when it comes to what task you do first and how you do it. That can be a great relief to someone who doesn’t like having their work interfered with.

The time you would have spent commuting goes towards you instead

Time is precious. And we undoubtedly spend a lot of the time we have in jeeps, LRTs, taxis, or our cars making our way to work. When you work from home, you don’t have to wake up 3 hours before work just to be able to make it in on time. That means you get more time to sleep. And because you don’t have to travel home from work either, you can fit more of what matters to you into your day.

You (usually) get to make your hours

This might not be true for everyone, but remote employees generally get to dictate the hours they work. That means that if you’re not much of an early bird, you can adjust your work hours to do most of your work later in the day. That flexibility can be a great boon to productivity, which your bosses are sure to be happy with.

Cons

You’re responsible for the technical issues you encounter

In a country where power outages and internet issues are frustratingly common, working remotely from the Philippines means that you will, at one point or another, have something interrupt your workday. When you work from home, you’re responsible for how you take care of the problem – which can often mean relocating in the middle of the day to get work done.

It can be difficult to separate your work and personal lives

Experts often recommend that you don’t do anything that isn’t sleep in your bed, like watch television, eat, read or work, as it can create confusion in your mind about what you should be doing when you’re in bed. That same thinking can apply to work from home. When we start to see our home as both our place of relaxation and our workplace, it can become difficult to disentangle those two parts, which can often lead to overworking and burnout.

It requires a lot of discipline

When you work in an office, you have your supervisor and colleagues to make sure you’re doing what you should be doing and are not slacking off. With no one to supervise and watch over you from home, it requires a lot of self-discipline to get work done.

You might feel out of the loop from things happening in the office

Being able to work from home is a great privilege. But you also lose certain privileges like inside jokes at work, work lunches, and work discussions that you could learn from. And talking to people from the office can just remind you that your status has changed. But a good support system and supervisor, as well as company-led initiatives, can help get rid of that feeling.

It can get lonely

With only yourself to talk to (with occasional online meetings with your coworkers), it can get pretty lonely to work alone from home. But if you like being alone, this might not bother you as much.

So which is better?

The answer to that question will ultimately be up to you. Both are legitimate ways to be employed and both have pros and cons. It will all depend on your own priorities and your personality.

And as work as a virtual assistant continues to get more popular, we have a feeling we will see this debate revisited many times in the future. 

If you’re interested in becoming a virtual assistant and cashing in on the privileges that come with working from home, you can contact us here, on LinkedIn, or on our Facebook page. We can help you learn more about how to become a VA as well as give you some tips about how to overcome the cons of working from home.

Did we miss anything about the pros and cons of working from home versus working in an office? Leave a comment or contact us directly to join the discussion.