Many people dream about being able to work from home but think they can’t do it. Increasingly, companies are recognizing that a number of jobs don’t require their employees to work from an office and are more flexible about letting employees work from home. If you’re thinking about working from home, it can be a great experience and really contribute a lot to your work life balance, but it comes with some drawbacks. Whether you work for yourself or work for somebody else or work for yourself, you should read this list of the top problems people who work from home have to deal with. Once you know what the common pitfalls of working from home can be, you can make sure that when you start working from home you can make the most of your situation.
1. Distractions Are Everywhere!
One of the top reasons that people want to work from home is they think they’ll be able to take care of their responsibilities to their work while also taking care of their home, kids, and pets. The problem with working from home that that it can be very easy to get distracted by all the things you can be doing at home that aren’t related to work. When you begin to work from home you need to plan how you will work, and set guidelines that you can follow. Get up at the same time every day and run through a routine. Build in time during the day to take care of issues at home, but structure your day to focus on your job first. Set aside a space in your home that is your new home office that you use only for work. Get rid of distractions in this space so that you can focus on work and make the most of your time while you’re there.
2. Flexible Schedules
Scheduling is going to be one of your biggest issues when you start working from home. How do you balance your time between work and other responsibilities? Before you begin working from home take a pen and paper and jot down what you’re doing throughout your day while at work. By looking at your typical day you can find gaps where you weren’t being very productive and find times that you were on your A game. After you know what the best times of the day are for you to get work done, build your work from home schedule to make the most of these times and allow for your less productive times to be open for your home responsibilities. One of the biggest pitfalls working from home is not taking ownership of your schedule and slowly slipping into a less productive mode. Without having face time with your managers and coworkers as often, it’s easier for them to be critical of your performance so be careful to stay as productive as possible with a solid daily schedule.
3. You May Still Need Childcare
When a parent begins working from home thinking they’ll be able to balance childcare and their job, many of them are shocked at how much extra time they need to take care of their children. Just being in the same building as your child doesn’t mean that you can step away from your work to tend to their needs as frequently as your child may require. This is especially true for children who are not yet school aged. As I mentioned before, planning to work on a schedule is very important to staying productive and if your children are taking up more of your working hours than allow you to be productive, you may still need childcare. Whether you lean on friends, family, or daycare, plan ahead for the possibility that you may not be able to take care of your child during your workday. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent or a bad worker; it’s hard to balance that much responsibility and it’s okay to get help!
4. Working Can Be Stressful, Even From Home
You may think that when you start working from home you’ll be relaxed, working in your pajamas, without the distractions and stressful situations you face dealing with coworkers and your boss. Well, sorry to burst your bubble but just because you work from home does not mean that your stress level will drop and in fact you may be more stressed. Deadlines, projects, and coworker issues will still happen but without you in the office you’ll have to be proactive about meeting all your work responsibilities. If you add on top taking care of your children full time while working it can be a daunting work load. One way to ensure that you have a good work life balance is to set hours that you work and stick to it. Deciding that by 6pm you are done working for the day means you walk away from your home office and unplug so you can focus on your home and your family.
5. If You’re Self Employed, Your Job Is Not A Hobby
When you make the jump from using your hobby for fun to making your hobby your business it takes some pretty big steps to make sure your days are spent productively. It’s great that you love what you do and that you can make a living from it, but you need to be sure that you are charging appropriately for your work and that you are serious about how you do your work. Many small entrepreneurs who work for themselves are often asked to provide their services for free, or to give a discount on the items they create for friends and family, but accepting less for your work can lead to other not viewing your business as serious and you’ll suddenly be viewed as working on your hobby again. Setting boundaries about what you do, how you do it, when and where you do it, and how much you charge can give your hobby a boost into being a legitimate business.