Now more than ever, Americans are working from home. Whether it’s full-time, part-time, contract or freelance, it is very easy to understand why this trend continues to catch on. There is less time spent in traffic. People spend less money to spend on fuel. For some, it is easy to sleep in a little later. And there is no pressure to spend unnecessary money by joining colleagues for lunch on a regular basis. Perhaps the most rewarding perk of all–working from home allows workers to enjoy more time with their families.
It is true that those who work from home are often envied by those who do not. But do telecommuters really have the upper hand? Well, not all the time. Believe it or not, there are some downsides to working, living and sleeping under the same roof. Seriously.
Self-discipline falls to the wayside
Even with a work from home job, employees like to start off on the right foot by waking up early, getting dressed and initiating a morning routine that resembles that of someone who is leaving to work in a traditional setting. But when your office is just a few steps away, that routine may not last for long. After a while, it is very possible that you will sleep later and maybe even stop getting dressed. While this may sound like a dream to some, the lack of a morning ritual and wreak havoc on your productivity.
Distractions are one of the primary reasons why some people are not a great fit when it comes to work from home opportunities. From television and Internet surfing to rambunctious children and chores that need attention–it’s so easy to allow your attention to drift away from work to other things. This is especially true when there is no supervisor nearby to make sure everyone is getting their job done. If focusing solely on work for long periods of time is something you have not mastered yet, then a work from home position could be your downfall. Keep in mind that some employers can track your productivity or location through your computer or cell phone.
Burning the midnight oil
Working from home blurs the line between your personal life and professional life. When you work outside the home, you can generally leave for the day and probably not have to worry about anything work-related until your next shift. But when you work from home, all it takes is a second to log onto your computer and type that email to your boss or continue working on that project. When there is no separation between work and home, that makes it much harder to actually leave work alone. This habit can also take a toll on family life, which is actually supposed to benefit from a work from home setup.
Feeling like a non-essential employee
If you still have colleagues that work on-site in an office, it can cause a rift. In some cases, your coworkers may be jealous that you get to work from home and they do not. Even worse, you are not present for all the events that take place in person–last minute meetings, birthday parties, team lunches, etc. After a while, it may start to feel like you are not needed or even noticed simply because you are not there to build meaningful relationships with everyone else.
The pressure is on
Despite all the perks that may lead you to work out of a home office, it could prompt your superiors to judge your work more meticulously. That’s because they probably cannot physically see you each day–even if you are putting in extra hours to get your work done. Because the assumption may be that you are at home relaxing, your work will likely be judged on a stricter scale than others whose efforts can be seen in the office.
Do you work from home? What has your experience been like?