Working from home has become a reality for more and more people as the Internet continues to grow, become faster, and make it easier for us to communicate without the need for physical interaction. However, it is not always a good thing to work from home. When given the choice, I definitely prefer working from home then commuting to a job and sitting in a cubicle all day long. But as someone who has been working from home for several years now, there are some things that can end up working to my disadvantage at times. In this article, I will be discussing some of the negative aspects of working from home. I do not want to discourage anyone from reaching their goal of working from home, but, you should also be prepared for some of the things you’ll need to deal with.
Working From Home Takes Insane Discipline
Make no mistake about it, working from home takes an insane amount of discipline. When you work from home, you will be surrounded by every distraction imaginable. Whether it is your television, your cell phone, your kids, the mailman knocking on the door, or even the simple fact that you do not have a boss standing around watching your every move, you must be self disciplined if you plan to survive the transition into working from home.
I found that it is very important to have a work area that is designated only for working and for no other purpose. I realize that everybody has this luxury but if you have an extra room in the house or even a quiet place in the basement, try to set up a work environment that is free from distractions. You should also set aside blocks of time where you will do nothing but focus on a specific task. No email, no phone calls, and the family also needs to understand that there are to be no distractions during that timeframe. You can also download software onto your computer to track how efficient you are being while working from home. One simple piece of software you can install is called Rescue Time. this computer software will track everything you are doing on the computer and log the amount of time you are spending doing those things. So, if you spend 45 minutes on Facebook, that will be logged and it will be logged as non work time. On the other hand, if you are on websites or using programs that are related to your work, that will be logged as work time. At the end of the day and at the end of the week you can see not only how efficient you have been but you can also compare yourself to other people who are using the same software and find out if you are as efficient as they are. Pretty handy stuff!
Sometimes Your Friends And Family Don’t Get It
Many people who work from home are also able to set their own hours. I am fortunate enough to be one of those people and I’ve got a say the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Being able to go shopping in the middle of the day on a Tuesday or Wednesday sure beats going to the store on a Saturday when all of the 9 to 5ers have to do it. However, your friends and family may not always understand that just because you are able to set your own hours, you still have work to do.
Once you begin setting your own hours, you will be the “go to person” for any favors that need to be done during the daytime hours when most people are working. People will also expect you to come to almost any events or activity because, hey, you set your own hours, so why not? If you decline, people will expect a reasonable answer from you since, you know, your schedule is so open. This can be a difficult thing to deal with because while you don’t want to offend anyone, you really do have work to do and people don’t know what is required of you. So hold your ground.
The Solitude Can Be Tough For Extroverts
For an introvert like me, sitting in solitude all day long without any coworkers around is a dream. I thrive in this type of environment just like I thrived when I was a truck driver because I do very well independently. With that said, not everyone will thrive in an environment with so much solitude and alone time. While many people think that this will be a good experience for them, after the first couple of months, loneliness begins to set in. Sure, it’s nice to be away from all of that office drama and board meetings but sometimes it’s really nice to have a helping hand around or someone to grab lunch with. The solitude of working from home is usually a bigger deal than most people think it will be. So be prepared for a lot of time by yourself with no help from anyone if you run into a problem.
Work Hours & Free Time Becomes Blurred
One of the biggest issues that I have found with working from home and setting my own hours is my work-life balance has become a little blurred. Back when I worked my regular 9 to 5 job I pretty much just left work at work and enjoyed my home time by relaxing and not really worrying about work. However, these days, my work and life balance is not as clear cut. Some days I work during the day and other times I work at night. If it is a really nice day and I decide to go hiking with the dog instead of working I might need to put in a couple 12 hour days just to make up for the day that I missed. I think that it is very important to keep track of how much time you’re spending on work that way you don’t overdo it and become a workaholic. Becoming a workaholic is a very easy thing to do when you are working from home so be careful not to fall into that trap.
Again, I don’t want to worry people about working from home because quite honestly, the advantages of working from home far outweigh the disadvantages. So if you are preparing to work from home or are starting an online business to get to that point, keep going. The reward is well worth it.