Working From Home vs. Working in an Office: What We’ve Learned

November 28, 2022 7 min read

Jeremy Boudinet

Jeremy Boudinet

Working from Home vs. Working from the Office - Comparison

What are the differences between working from home versus working in person in the office? Let’s compare ‌the working arrangements side-by-side to help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Research from Owl Labs suggests that approximately half of employees typically work from home at least once a week, and one-third work remote jobs full-time.

A recent survey by McKinsey uncovered that 35% of professionals have the option to work from home full-time since the pandemic. Moreover, 58% of Americans can enjoy the perks of hybrid work at least part time.

The question on the minds of execs is to understand if WFH translates into better work, more effective brainstorming, and what the future of in-office work has in store. `

Commuting Perks

The average American worker spends at least 27 minutes on their daily commute to work. More than 14 million people spend an hour or more traveling to work, according to NPR.

A work-from-home job can save employees a lot on the usual automotive expenses: insurance, maintenance, fuel, and, of course, unproductive time management. If employers can help their team save money and add productivity to the workday, what’s the tradeoff?

Work-life balance continues to surge on the importance meter for modern-day employees. Throughout numerous studies, those who WFH will often be the first to state they feel overworked.

Companies that don’t recognize this are missing a huge opportunity to adopt flexible working arrangements that benefit their workforce. Make sure to encourage time to relax and “do nothing” on occasion to help strengthen your team’s mental health.

A poll posted by the CEO of Product Hunt, Ryan Hoover, suggests that most people would take a pay cut if it gave them the ability to work remotely. Perks like infinite vacation time, free food, and 401k weren’t as important when compared to the benefits of working remotely.

Ryan Hoover: Let's say you're looking for a new job. What's most important to you? (Working from home poll)

Communication Habits

In our State of Business Communication Report, face-to-face communication is the most preferred communication method in the work environment.

Not counting virtual meetings, face-to-face communication is something you really only get in a dedicated office space. Current studies show that Zoom exhaustion felt by remote workers isn’t one to overlook with respect to one’s mental and physical health.

Choosing the right form of business communication is not only beneficial in an office setting, but it strengthens relationships and rapport with others. There’s something about socializing that happens when you sit next to someone or bump into each other at the coffee machine.

Communication still happens when you’re working remotely — it’s just different. Face-to-face communication turns into video calls. Short conversations turn into Slack messages. Emails … well, those stay emails. Nobody escapes those!

One compelling advantage of working from home is the ability to work anywhere. You don’t even need a laptop. With a full-featured business phone app, employees can make and receive calls, attend conference calls, message colleagues, and stay online using their iPhone or Android.

In recent years, managers have become much more comfortable with a flexible work schedule — employees no longer need to explain why they need to take on that conference call from the car.

To improve communication for remote employees, we’ve seen many organizations require making video optional. (We call that a phone call around these parts.)

Some teams even rely on social media for team building. For example, says they use Snapchat internally for team building. It’s a cool and clever way to use social media to stay connected while working remotely.

Some teams even rely on social media for communication. For example, says they use Snapchat internally for team building. It’s a cool and clever way to use social media to stay connected while working remotely.

Workspace Flexibility

When working from an office, it’s likely you have a set schedule. Your alarm goes off at the same time every day; you grab your morning coffee at 7:05 a.m., and you’re at your desk by 9 a.m., ready to work.
When it comes to working from home, it’s a little different. You now have the flexibility to wake up when you choose and tailor your day to your needs. If your company is new to remote work, chances are they still want all employees working the in-office work hours of 9-to-5. With remote work, you can now wake up (a little) later, pick a time for lunch, and close your laptop when you want — for some, that’s 4 p.m. For others, it could be 7 p.m.
As more companies adopt a remote-first work environment, working hours will shift to fit the employee’s schedule. This shift means more flexibility on when you start and end your day and where you work from. You should be able to work from anywhere that has a solid internet connection!

Top challenges of working from home vs. working in the office - Buffer
(Source: Buffer)

Despite the popularity of remote work, many employees struggle to disconnect when working from home. Up to a third of employees say they struggle to achieve work-life balance when working remotely. It’s easy to shut down your computer when you see fellow office workers start to pack up for the night. But when you’re at home, those workspace cues don’t exist.

The option to freelance and take on side projects is another massive perk that comes with working from home. The time you waste on commuting could be put toward starting a small business on the side. It’s far more lucrative than sitting through traffic jams!

Try the top phone system engineered for remote work.

Office Environment vs. Home Environment

Do you work from a cubicle? An open office plan? A hybrid work setup?

When working at the office, you don’t have a choice in your work environment or office setting. You might have a noisy coworker or sit under the air conditioner, which could impact your productivity.
Working from home enables everyone to set up their optimal home office or workstation.

You can choose a standing desk over a sitting one and select your choice of office furniture. A home office setting offers the utmost control and flexibility of a workspace.

For employers, attracting and retaining top talent is of strategic importance. Respondents to the same McKinsey study rated flexible working arrangements as one of the top reasons to seek a new job.

Flexible work environment was among the top reasons why employees seek a new job.

Financial Costs

The differences between working from home versus working at an office can be seen when it comes to finances — and we’re not talking about how much money you earn.

When working at an office, you pay for the costs of commuting, such as public transit, gas, or maintenance expenses. If you’re driving, you might also have to pay for parking. You likely also pick up a coffee or buy lunch during the day. All of these expenses add up.

When you work from home, there are tons of financial perks. You don’t have to worry about sitting in traffic, and you won’t be tempted to go out after work and spend money on happy hours and eating out.

Working from home has its own costs. In addition to broadband internet costs, employees need to think about their energy costs, like electricity. They may also carry “startup” costs for telecommuting technology typically burdened by employers. Typical work-at-home expenses include desks, chairs, network routers, and monitors.

While you save in some ways, there are other types of costs to think through.


A study conducted by UC Irvine found that a typical office worker is interrupted every 11 minutes. If that wasn’t bad enough, it takes 25 minutes to get back on task. Yikes.

That’s a big hit to employee productivity. The nature of working remotely doesn’t make it inviting to chat with coworkers. Needless to say, productivity can get a huge uptick with remote workers. For example, call center employees who work from home were able to boost their productivity by 13%, according to a Stanford study. Consistent research has shown that remote workers log longer hours than their office-bound counterparts.

Studies show that it’s clear there is increased productivity in working at home versus working in an office. However, there can be a learning curve on how to increase your productivity and reduce distractions at home.


Many organizations have had to switch to remote work for the very first time. Managers are likely concerned because they’ve never had to manage a remote workforce.

When working from an office, managers have a clear view of what team members are working on. They can go up and ask questions, have daily check-ins, and have whiteboarding meetings to make sure everything is on track.

That’s not the case when it comes to working remotely.

This is why having the right tools is critical to remote work success. We leverage a combination of great leadership and powerful communication tools to knock out big projects.

As a manager, you might have the desire to micromanage employees as they go remote. Instead, we suggest trusting people to perform until they prove otherwise. Employees want to do well; it’s your job to help them get there.

There Will Always Be Differences in Working From Home vs. Working Remote

Some call these differences advantages versus disadvantages — we call them opportunities. The team at Nextiva works remotely, and we’ve realized even more notable productivity gains from our cloud phone system to accelerate the shift from the office to working from home.

Nextiva helps companies work smarter with its remote and hybrid communications platform.
Nextiva helps companies boost productivity with a single communications solution.

As many companies make the leap, they will soon discover that a remote workforce can be a smart, strategic move. To realize all the benefits, employers (and employees alike) need to be intentional with their business communication.

Whether you’re working remotely for a short period or want to make the switch to being remote-first, here are some working from home tips for team members.

Stay connected wherever you work.
Try the best business phone system today.
Jeremy Boudinet


Jeremy Boudinet

Jeremy Boudinet was a senior brand manager at Nextiva, co-president at AA-ISP Phoenix, and a published writer for Time, Entrepreneur, Inc, The Daily Muse, and PopSugar. Today, he heads up growth for Ubiquitous, an influencer marketing agency. He has been giving the people what they want since '86. Connect with him to…

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