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5 Serious Downsides of Working From Home

Topics: Work Culture
working from home

Working from home comes with a lot of perks. But, it’s not all blissful multitasking in your jammies.

More and more people are working from home these days. The latest telecommuting statistics show that regular work at home among the non-self-employed has grown by 115 percent since 2005. Furthermore, 80 to 90 percent of workers say they would like to work from home at least some of the time.

However, the benefits of working from home are a little more immediately obvious than the downsides. But, it’s important to understand both if you’re thinking about the option. Here are a few things you might not have considered:

1. Other people don’t get it.

You will still work just as hard, and just as much as you did before, once you switch to working from home. However, other people might not really understand that. If you’re not careful, it can become almost expected that you be the one to pick up the dry cleaning and get the evening meal prepared.

Just because you work from home that doesn’t mean that you’re not working. You shouldn’t always be the one who’s asked to pick your friend up from the airport on a Tuesday afternoon just because you have flexible hours. But, when you work from home, other people don’t always seem to understand that.

2. You become your own pain-in-the-neck boss.

Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, working from home requires that you are reliably and consistently self-motivated. There’s simply no one else around to apply pressure. So, you have to do that yourself. Before you know it, you turn into your own boss — and not a very nice one at that.

3. It’s more isolating than you think.

There are a lot of benefits to having friends at work. Sure, getting away from negative coworkers sounds great. But, don’t forget you’re leaving the positive connections behind, too.

4. Communication is extra difficult.

You know how hard it is to get everyone on a team on the same page when you have a meeting at the office? Well, it’s exponentially more difficult when trying to communicate as a remote worker.

There are additional communication and collaboration challenges that come with the territory of working from home. And, they can be frustrating and time-consuming to navigate. Sometimes, when people telecommute, they forget to share important information. This challenge is only exacerbated if you work with people in different time zones.

“Information can get trapped in silos,” Todd Horton, who runs a software company, tells Inc. “If the European team gains an insight and doesn’t share it quickly, the others will never know something happened.”

Remember that just because you are going to be working from home doesn’t mean that you get to make all the decisions. Also, prepare yourself for the fact that communicating with people you need to work with will be a little more difficult.

5. You’re always at work.

Here’s the thing about working from home – it’s constant. There’s just something about having your work and your life in the same space. It takes your commitment to a whole other level.

Even if you used to bring work home a lot, expect this to feel different. It’s just so easy to keep working, or to start working, or to put in “just a few more minutes.”

You might even find yourself working when you planned to relax, like in the evenings or on weekends. Before you know it, you can’t remember the last time you had a day off. The daily reality is that when your home is your office, you’re always at work. So, make sure that’s really what you want before signing up.

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Do any of these downsides change the way you feel about wanting to work from home? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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