I have worked from home for over ten years now, and I've found that there are many benefits to working from home, however there are also some drawbacks. In this article, I will discuss a few of those benefits and drawbacks.
Benefit: If you get sick, you don't have to worry about spreading illnesses to co-workers - Not too long ago, I developed a sore throat, which turned into a bad chest cold. I was able to work through it, but I realized that one benefit of working from home is that you don't have to worry about spreading illnesses to your co-workers.
Drawback: If you get sick, you may end up losing money - Some work at home companies offer sick days, but many don't. And if you work as an independent contract, you're definitely not going to get sick time. Therefore, you'll end up losing money unless you can make up the time somehow.
Benefit: You won't spend as much on gas or have to fight traffic to go to an office every day - This is a huge benefit, and one of the main reasons people decide to work from home.
Drawback: Since you're not driving to the office every day, it's harder to find ways to interact with co-workers or other people who do the same type of work you do. There are ways you can do this though. Many companies require the use of some kind of IM program to keep in touch with supervisors in case there's problems, and many also have message boards or social networking groups set up where you can connect with others.
Benefit: You have more control over your schedule, especially if you're working as an independent contractor. Many that hire people to work from home, especially those that hire independent contractors, provide more flexibility when it comes to scheduling. Some companies are only open certain hours, so you'll have to schedule your hours during their business hours, but others, like many freelance writing and transcription companies, may have work available all the time, so you can log into the website and work whenever it's convenient for you. Of course, not all work at home companies provide this much flexibility. If you work for a company that hires employees to work form home, you may not have as much choice over what shifts you work.
Drawback: It's easy to get into what you're doing, and ignore everything else. If you like your job (which I hope you do!) it can be very easy to get wrapped up in it. That's where time management techniques like the Pomodoro technique and the unschedule technique can come in handy. With the Pomodoro technique, you work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break - that 30 minute block is one Pomodoro. You do three more Pomodoros, then you take a longer break. When you're working, you want to make sure you're 100% focused on what you're doing. This allows you to be more productive and hopefully make time for other people and activities you enjoy. With the unschedule technique, you schedule your fun time and fixed appointments first, then schedule your work time. You can find out more about these two techniques in the references.
These are just a few of the benefits and drawbacks of working from home. If you work from home, I would love to hear what else you consider benefits and drawbacks.