From the onset, this might appear to be a rebuttal to a previous guest blogger’s post citing the merits of a home-based career, but this is not the intended purpose of this little piece. In fact, both the negative ramifications and the positive benefits may coexist in your home-work environment. These possible issues I am about to enumerate are meant as cautionary warnings, traffic signs that aim to give you time to make the necessary preemptive corrections and preparations before setting out on your home-based endeavors.
Let us begin.
You May Lose Track of Time
The advantages of working from home are immediately apparent with the surplus of time saved from commuting, meticulous preparation of your business attire, and meetings. Your time is all yours now you will be able to relish every single minute!
On the flipside, this wealth of time can cause you to take things for granted. True, you will be able to dictate your own schedules, sleep longer, mix things up, and take much-needed breaks or holidays when you feel like it, but this will also allow you to slack off like a boss.
To prevent this, you must be ultimately responsible for your time. Yes, you can do what you will with your schedule, but do have a schedule. Allocate hours to the tasks that need to be done, plan your week, do not be excessively loosey-goosey or it will affect the quality of your work.
You Could End Up a Slob
It’s liberating to do work in your underwear or pajamas, and not worrying about what to wear or deciding which pieces of clothing match, especially for those not too keen on office fashion. Your laundry bill will probably go down a bit, and ironing may be totally option from this point on.
Things start getting funky (figuratively and literally) when you begin to slacken with your personal hygiene and grooming. I mean, why shave, brush your teeth, or even take baths when you’re just working from home? A little combing and a wet towel could always make you presentable enough for the webcam when you need to talk to the client (or just pretend your chat client is going wonky and you can only communicate via voice or text).
I don’t think I have to go into detail on how to remedy this: keep grooming, keep bathing, and don’t let the laundry pile up.
Your Social Skills Could Atrophy
Working in the office is not just about doing your assigned job; it involves a lot of contact with other human beings. There are a many intricate social conventions, rituals, and ceremonies involved such as golf games with the boss, coffee break chit-chat, company picnics, meetings, inter-departmental bowling tournaments, and so many more…
Now that you’re just at home, the most contact you’ll be making with other people is through a chat window.
The “use it or lose it” adage applies to your ability to interface with the rest of humanity. To avoid being a hermit, don’t stop going out and being with people. You own your time anyway, so you can definitely make time for social gatherings and the like.
Your Health May Suffer
Walking to the subway station and you actually exercise. Going to the storeroom to get a ream of papers is also a form of physical exertion. Tackling your cubicle-mate down after something in his head snaps and he starts threatening to shoot your coworkers with a staple gun also counts. It may not be much or enough, but being in an office setting does give you a lot of opportunity to use your body and get it to move. This goes double or triples for labor-based jobs.
Being at home with everything within arm’s reach can make you lethargic or even downright lazy. Working from your desk might inevitably transition to working on your bed. Less exercise will make you sluggish, lethargic, and in most cases, fatter.
As with your social skills, you need to keep your body healthy and moving. Don’t keep ordering pizza, either. You actually have the time to go to an organic market and buy yourself some nice and healthy produce, so get off your butt and start walking!
You Could Lose All Will to Live
It may sound a little morbid and extreme, but with most or all the possible conditions mentioned above are present and not rectified, working from home can make you feel more like a prisoner in a cell, only this time, that cell is your own room.
If the necessary steps are taken to avoid these potential pitfalls, you’ll be able to wake up every day feeling that life is still worth living. So live!
Most self-motivated and independent individuals have very little to worry about, given that they mostly generate their own drive, but there are some us that need the constant presence of other people around them to work better (and hear the whip crack now and then). Consider yourself and how you behave; this will give you the necessary clues to find out which work lifestyle suits you best. When in doubt, give both of them a try and see which fits.
All in all, it’s really up to you if working from home is a blessing or a curse. These may well be some of the reasons why some people opt not to work from home in the first place. You know yourself more than anyone (ideally), so sit down and take time to think things over before making this course-changing decision.
Are you the work-from-home type or more of an office/on-site animal? Discuss freely!
About the Author: Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and works with many up-and-coming and successful companies like Best Damn Penny Stocks.