Many people have considered working alone at some point, whether it’s to avoid large groups of people or because it’s easier to focus when you’re on your own. The idea of being able to decide when and how much you work is certainly charming, but working alone has its downsides as well.
It’s important to assess both the pros and cons of doing so, and if the cons outweigh the pros for you, maybe you’re simply not cut out to work alone. That’s normal, of course. Just make sure to think things through before making the decision to work on your own.
Starting with the pros…
Pro: Less Interference from Others
Working in an office, surrounded by coworkers, can be exhausting. Some may try to take over all the work while others slack off and do nothing at all. It’s also common for people to hate working with certain groups of people simply because they don’t get along whatsoever.
When you work alone, though, you don’t have to bother with those others. Their opinions don’t matter, nor does their work speed. You’re free to make your own decisions with no one overseeing your every move. Not having to rely on others lets you get the job done much faster, since you also have less people to ask for approval for various tasks.
Pro: You’re in Charge
Working alone grants you much more freedom than working in an office. How you deal with the added responsibilities depends on you, but if you handle them right you can get a lot more work done than you would in your previous working conditions.
First off, get to choose when to work as well as setting your own break times and deadlines, and you have no one to stop you from it. This way, you can work during hours when you know you’re most productive, and not having to commute to the office saves energy, too. You get to do things at your own pace, in your own way, with no outside pressure. All of this combines to make you more efficient and focused to get work done faster and better.
Pro: It’s More Relaxing
Working on your own can be a lot more relaxing than working in an office environment. Being in your own comfortable environment means much less clutter, noise, and other outside distractions that tend to exist in offices. While to some, the lack of outside movement can be very dull, others thrive in peaceful or quiet environments.
Whether or not you work better alone or surrounded by people depends on your own style of working and what you’re comfortable with, but for many, having fewer external distractions makes a lot of difference to the level of work they’re able to produce.
Pro: It Can Be More Efficient
Depending on your style of work, you may find that you get a lot more work done in a lot less time when you’re alone. As stated above, you get to take work at your own pace, but at the same time you can set up your work environment any way you like it.
If you work better with music playing in the background or with snacks at an arm’s reach, you can do that with no one to stop you. You know yourself best, so you can schedule your days accordingly and get any task done in time.
Now onto the cons…
Con: It Gets Lonely
Being alone for so long can get lonely, especially if you’re completely isolating yourself and not meeting up with friends or coworkers from time to time. Extroverts may even feel more tired working alone than they do working around other people. Humans are social creatures, so for the most part, anyone will start to feel the loneliness setting in at some point.
Unless you’re sure you can afford to meet other people face-to-face enough to combat this, you may start getting less productive as your days get more repetitive and dull.
Con: Less Teamwork
Multiple people working on a task inevitably gets it done faster and more effectively than a single person doing the same thing. Working alone means you don’t have access to help from coworkers, or at least not easily. You may find it difficult to complete some tasks without getting to verbalize your thoughts and feelings about them and getting creative input from others.
In the same way, not being able to ask others for help means you may encounter tasks you don’t know how to do, or in some cases you may not be able to finish a job on time. In cases like these, when working alone, you can’t rely on other people to take over for you.
Con: More Stress
Working independently gives you more freedom and responsibilities, having to deal with them on your own can be quite stressful. If you don’t set proper deadlines for yourself, you risk slacking off, and if your efforts fail, the blame will fall entirely on you as an individual. Dealing with a lot more work without a team can also cause stress in similar ways.
Con: It Can Be Less Efficient
Unless you’re disciplined and have the right mindset to work alone, you can easily get distracted by the things around you even outside the office. A prime example of a distraction that is prevalent for people working alone is social media. Getting too comfortable and relaxed can also mess up your focus, causing you to work slower.
The isolation can affect your productivity in the same way. If you’re a more social person, having to work alone all day with no social interaction can get dull and monotonous very quickly, which then leads you to become less productive as your work seems less and less appealing.
Working alone certainly has its advantages for many, but it presents unique challenges of its own that not everyone may be prepared to deal with. In fact, what are advantages for some may be disadvantages for others, depending on their own personality and style of working. Whether you plan to freelance or pursue a different career that lets you work from home, it’s important that you consider these and whether you’ll be able to work properly in a solitary environment.