7 Reasons Why Working at Home Isn’t For Everybody

work from home pitfallsSo many people think that working from home is the perfect job situation. For some that may be true, but for others working from home can be a complete disaster. There are at least seven reasons why working at home isn’t for everybody.

1. Domestic Distractions

It’s easy to imagine having fewer distractions at home than at work. After all, there are no coworkers around, no boss or other superiors to look over your shoulder, and none of the ancillary tasks that often attend jobs. Rest assured however that you will still have distractions – of the domestic variety.

At home, the distractions will involve phone calls from family and friends, that simmering crisis (or two) that needs to be dealt with, driving your child to an after school activity, a lunch invitation from a neighbor, or the arrival of a disturbing letter in the mail.

You will have at least as many distractions at home as you do in the office – they’ll just be a different kind. Not everyone is capable of effectively managing domestic distractions, because they seem so important will  will  a  willyou will . But if you don’t, you could end up destroying your work at home arrangement.

2. An Environment That Isn’t Conducive to Work

Your employer’s location may not be the most comfortable of environments, but it is probably set up to maximize work efficiency. Your home is not – after all, it’s been set up as a place to live, and not as a place of will  being employment.

If you have limited space in your home, don’t imagine that you will be successful with a work-at-home arrangement by working on your kitchen table, or by clearing a corner of your bedroom. In order to work quickly and efficiently, you should have a dedicated office, complete with all of the equipment you’ll need – a high functioning computer, with broadband Internet connection, a dedicated phone line, adequate lighting, a lack of clutter, and plenty of peace and quiet.

Not having any of these amenities in your home could be a serious production killer.

3. A Lack of Camaraderie

You know those irritating coworkers that you spend so much time gossiping about at the office? When they’re not around you’ll feel it! As annoying as they can be, they are also the people you typically commiserate with when you’re having difficulty with your boss, or with work in general. When you’re at home, there will be no one to commiserate with.

As well, you’ll be taking your lunch alone most days, you may not be present at some of the happier office related events, like anniversaries, birthday parties, and wedding or baby showers. You could very well find yourself missing all of that more than you ever imagined.

4. The Motivation Thing

Another task that coworkers do is help motivate us, particularly on those days when we can’t seem to get moving. It’s human nature to mimic the actions of those around us, and even if you’re not motivated on a given day, you will generally fall in line with your coworkers and get busy if for no other reason than to fit in.

When you are working at home, there will be no coworkers to motivate you. You will need to develop the ability to self motivate every day, especially on those days when motivation is in short supply.

This is where the term self-starter takes on a more dynamic meaning. Your ability to motivate yourself may be the difference between succeeding at work at home, and having the arrangement unceremoniously terminated by an employer who is no longer satisfied with your performance.

5. No Supervisor or Co-workers to Back You Up in a Pinch

Every one of us face times when we are completely overwhelmed by the workload. Sometimes it can be because you were trying to work on special projects, and other times because the normal workflow has simply become too heavy. When you are working in the office, you can go to your supervisor or your coworkers to help you get it all straightened out. And sometimes all you need is a little bit of help for a little while to get back on track.

When you’re working from home, getting out of those busy ditches won’t be so easy. You won’t be able to just call over the cubicle wall, or go into your boss to get the needed help. In most situations, you’ll have to make up the time shortfall by working extra hours.

And that’s a point all by itself. Many people who are in work-at-home situations find themselves working more hours than they did when they worked in an office. And that has a lot to do with overflow situations.

6. A Lack of Location Diversification

Yes, commuting to and from work every day can be a real downer. But on the positive side, it gets you out and driving in the morning, and also moved you out of your house and into a remote office. We can think of that as being <em>location diversification,</em> and that’s something we all need.

Since you already live in a house, if you add working at home to your life, that might just become too much at-home. Eventually, you can become something of an at-home shut-in – eating, sleeping, and working at home.

We often underestimate the positive benefits of simply getting out of the house, that we are required to do as a result of having a remote job. That will not exist when you’re working in home.

7. You May Be Out Of the Loop

When you work at home, you can’t help but be out of the loop. So much of the information that we get about what’s going on in the office comes as a result of gossip. As you won’t be in the office to participate in the gossip, you will usually be behind the curve when it comes to new developments.

In fact, you may find that many times information that has been distributed to other employees – typically by an impromptu meeting. Management may forget about informing its remote work staff, and that can leave you in the dark in so many ways. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind – and that’s exactly what you’ll be.

And even though that outcome may not be intentional, it has a way of sinking into your psyche, and making you consider the possibility that you may be in a job in jeopardy situation, even if that isn’t actually true.

Working from home most definitely has its advantages. But make sure that you’re aware of the negatives – and be fully prepared to deal with them – before you jump into a work-at-home arrangement.

If you have ever worked at home, have you ever run into any of these issues?

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Yes, yes, yes! I work from home and all of these things definitely ring true. It’s also hard to stop working for the evening. There’s always something that needs to be done – so often times I will check my email until 10pm, which is a habit I desperately am trying to break!!

  2. Hi Sarah – I have the same problem! I sometimes go to midnight or later if I’m on a roll. That’s not all bad by the way. Some days you’re just more productive than others, and it’s a way to be more get more done. Other days it’s…just a bad habit 🙁

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