🖊 This article was last updated on October 8, 2019
Do you sometimes feel lonely? Do you struggle with a hectic schedule, despite having the freedom to set your own work hours? Or maybe you’ve lost your motivation? These things are second nature for those who work from home. Even though most people would do anything to be in your shoes, the benefit of working from home sure comes with its challenges.
Working anytime, anywhere, may seem like a dream come true. After all, who could say No to a flexible schedule? Not to mention that you can work in your pajamas 😉 While it’s true that remote work has its perks, it’s not always sunshine and roses.
Why Working From Home Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be
About 3.9 percent of Americans are working from home at least half of the time. Some are employed, while others are running their own business. Experts predict that more than one-third of U.S. employees will work remotely by 2028.
In fact, over 85 percent of Millennials would rather work from home fulltime – and for good reason. Remote employees are up to 20 percent more productive and experience greater freedom compared to their peers. Furthermore, they can set their own work hours and don’t lose time (and patience) in their commute.
Modern technology makes it easy to communicate with your team, outsource work, and brainstorm ideas with people from all around the world. You can provide and receive feedback in real-time without having to wait for weeks like it often happens in a corporate environment.
Multinationals, for instance, are notorious for their slow decision making. It can take months to get your ideas approved or agree on new projects. When you’re working from home, things move at a faster pace. You drop a message on Slack or send an email, hold a Skype conference, or chat live with your team.
Despite these perks, working remotely is not all rainbows and unicorns all the time. Isolation, loneliness, long work hours, and lack of motivation are common complaints among remote employees and entrepreneurs. Maintaining boundaries between work life and home life is, perhaps, the biggest challenge.
In a traditional workplace, you do your job and then go home. If you’re on vacation, you can take a break from technology and set an autoresponder for work-related emails. There’s often no need to keep in touch with your clients, take business calls, or handle customer issues on the go.
With remote work, it can be hard to draw a line between your work life and your personal life. Sometimes, there’s hardly any separation between the two. Being at home all day makes it difficult – if not impossible – to take a break from your job and say No to everything work-related.
Customers are calling or emailing you like crazy; since you rely on them, keeping in touch is a must. Some even place last minute orders or request revisions when you least expect it. At the end of the day, you’ll have more chores than you ever thought possible. After all, you’ve got bills to pay.
Things No One Tells You about Working from Home
Most bloggers, work-from-home moms, and online entrepreneurs are always bragging about how great their life is. Yet, they rarely say a word about the loneliness and lack of social interaction that comes as part as part of the job.
According to a recent survey, remote workers feel shunned and left out. Sure, this isn’t the case if you’re running a self-employed or running an online business, but the lack of socialization is still an issue.
Sometimes, it may feel as if you’re an island. Plus, distractions are everywhere. Things are even more difficult if you live alone. You must work, reply to clients, go grocery shopping, pay the bills, and maybe take phone calls at late hours because of differences in time zone. Plus, coffee breaks are not the same when you’re alone.
Under these conditions, your health and “me-time” come last. You’re not getting paid for sick days and you barely have time for exercise. On top of that, running an online business can be expensive.
Another problem is the lack of motivation. Since you’re at home all day, you can never escape work. This can ruin your best intentions to get things done. You keep postponing the things on your to-do list and end up dealing with a tight deadline.
If you’re an extreme introvert, you may feel less isolated or maybe miss social interaction less than others. But for most, human interaction is one of the things that make their work more tolerable (I’m a massive introvert myself, and struggle with this sometimes).
Additionally, working with others in a traditional office stimulates creativity and encourages the exchange of information. You can brainstorm ideas with our peers, sneak in a joke from time to time, and go out for happy hour drinks at the end of a stressful week.
Most times, we complain about peer pressure. Yet, this is one of the things that keep us going. When working from home, it’s easy to get distracted and procrastinate. You start by watching a TV series and end up sleeping on the couch.
As a parent working from home, it can be difficult to focus solely on work. Urgent chores and constant interactions can affect your productivity and mental focus.
Is It Worth it?
Of course it is! but at the end of the day, working from home is like any other job. Self-discipline, motivation, and accountability are all important. How you manage your time is up to you. As long as you are able to limit distractions and focus on the tasks at hand, finding time for yourself won’t be an issue.
Have a large project with a tight deadline? Wake up earlier and start working on it right away. Struggling with work-life balance? Pretend you’re going to an office. Set up a designated place for work and let your family know about your schedule.
Remember, working from home can be a rewarding experience or a complete failure. The outcome depends entirely on you. Give it a try and enjoy the technology that’s made all of this possible!