Although there are many pros to working at home, there are some parts that aren’t all sunshine and roses. Working from home may be many people’s dream, but it is definitely not for everyone.
As I approach three years of working from home, the pros still outweigh the cons. But don’t get me wrong, there are cons.
Here are some of my least favorite things about working from home.
Working from home can be very isolating. Assuming you are the only person working from your home, you will be alone all day. Email will often be your only form of communication. If you live alone, you could go an entire day without saying a word out loud. Being isolated can be depressing and discouraging.
You may have coworkers, but they will also be remote and not likely to live near you. It’s harder to form friendships with people that you’ve only emailed or had phone calls with. In addition, online relationships don’t give people the same satisfaction as in-person ones. You may feel lonelier after talking with someone online than you did before.
“Oh, I just remembered that I haven’t watched the latest episode of How to Get Away With Murder, let me stop working and turn that on.”
Working from home can be very distracting. All of your fun gadgets, TV shows, video games, or other forms of entertainment are at your fingertips. Even if an office job is boring, you probably don’t have the ability to watch TV from your desk without consequence.
Even if fun things don’t tempt you, you may want to do your dishes, run the vacuum, or take a nap instead of working. It can be stressful to have a messy house when it’s also your office space. You may get distracted and start doing errands during prime work time.
You have to have strong willpower to avoid becoming distracted while working from home. For some people, this isn’t possible.
3) Poor work / life balance
When your home and your office are essentially the same place, it’s easy to blur the lines between work and life. You may sneak in 20 minutes of work before making dinner and then check email in bed before going to sleep. Sometimes I find I’ve worked on and off the entire day without doing much else.
If you don’t separate your personal life from your work life, you will eventually burn out. Sometimes, the burn out is spectacular. Tim Ferriss’ assistant had a mental breakdown and abruptly quit his job due to burn out. Other people experience a low-grade resistance to doing work, become careless or sloppy, and feel a general disinterest in life.
4) Weight gain / sedentary lifestyle
You may think that when you work from home, you’ll quickly do a workout or go to the gym in the middle of the day to break up the monotony. There are people who do this regularly!
I almost never put on a workout DVD while I was home and Norah was asleep. However, in my experience (working from home while taking care of a newborn – toddler), I often did not have the energy or the time to do anything except work. I didn’t have the time to head to the gym or go for a walk most days.
I’ve since lessened my workload so that I’m able to include things I want to do in my day, but I still can’t say that involves regular exercise.
In addition, I have full access to my pantry and fridge at all times. This has led me to drinking too many cups of coffee with sugar and creamer. I eat way too much snack food while I work.
When I worked in an office, I brought my lunch and snack and when I ran out of food, I was hungry until I went home for dinner. My office had some vending machines and a cafeteria that served breakfast and lunch, but often I wouldn’t bring money with me and those expenses weren’t in my budget. My lifestyle allowed me to maintain my weight, give or take 10 pounds, for six years. After I started working from home, and had my daughter, I quickly put on 35 pounds.
Even if you don’t gain weight, you will probably have a much more sedentary lifestyle working from home than you did in an office. In my previous life, I showered, got dressed, did my hair and makeup, packed a lunch, grabbed my books, walked to my car, drove to the office, walked into the building and moved around a decent amount throughout the day. We had a morning standing meeting that was typically 20 minutes long. We had meetings in other rooms throughout the building. I went on walks with my coworker on our breaks. I filled up a water bottle 2-3 times per day from a fountain around the corner. I did a decent amount of moving even though I had an office job.
At home, I move a lot less. I get my daughterr things when she asks for them, but the kitchen is a 10 foot walk from the living room. I am usually on a kitchen chair, at the dining room table, or downstairs in my office when I work. Almost all of work is done sitting down in a chair because I am constantly typing. I try to incorporate more movement into my day, but it is difficult.
Becoming very sedentary is a definite con of working from home. Remember sitting is a deadly disease!
5) People don’t think you’re working
Working from home is taken a lot less seriously than working in an office. I’ve had to set boundaries with people and explain that just because I work from home doesn’t mean I am able to run errands throughout the day, do frequent favors for others, or have visitors drop in unannounced. Although I enjoy some of these perks, they aren’t something that I can do regularly and maintain my workload.
Doing things in the day often guarantees that I’ll be working until 11 pm. Sometimes I have to make the choice to enjoy my day knowing that my night will involve working until midnight.
Working from home takes a lot of discipline and self-motivation. It can be lonely, boring, and difficult. It does have many perks, but the disadvantages are weighty too. The internet is full of articles about how great it is to work from home and although that is mostly true, you should be aware of the negative side of working from home before making the leap.