Working from home is in high demand these days. Everyone wants to do it and have more flexibility in their lives. I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer for over a year now.
Overall, I enjoy it most days but some days I feel like I’m just over it. This is weird for me to say because I’m such a homebody. I love being able to set my own schedule, work in my pajamas, earn more money and avoid daily commuter traffic. However, working from home is not all reward with no risk.
I feel that most people highlight the benefits of working from home without acknowledging the potential drawbacks and I don’t think that’s fair which is why I wanted to share 4 things people usually don’t tell you about working from home.
1. You Can Get Distracted Easily
Depending on your level of focus, it can be easy to get distracted when you work from home. I try to have a designated workspace in my house, but it’s so easy to get sidetracked when someone starts talking, watching T.V. or a guest comes over the house.
I also tend to get distracted by something online at least once or twice a day. My weaknesses are social media and YouTube. I’ve been getting better with spending less and less time on social media, but I often get caught up watching random YouTube videos throughout the day. This wastes time on my end that I could be spending doing work so I can finish my tasks for the day.
No one is productive 100% of the work day but it’s important to have discipline and avoid distractions if you choose to work from home. You won’t have a boss hovering over you so you need to make sure you stay focused and on track.
2. It Can Be Lonely
Second, working from home can be very lonely. People are social beings and whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert, it’s likely that you will get pretty lonely working from home all by yourself. While I don’t really miss having a 9-5 job, I do miss having coworkers and that daily interaction with someone else.
I have plenty of online friends who work in the same field as me, but it’s not like we can talk throughout the day in the office or meet up for coffee or lunch. At times, I’ve felt like I’ve become more of an awkward communicator in person due to working from home for the last year.
To combat this, I’ve tried to join some local meetup groups for entrepreneurs. I also started my own local meetup group for bloggers and I go to a brunch with a bunch of female small business owners each month. Even when I don’t have anyone to meet up with, I try to go to my local library or a coffee shop to work once a week.
3. Lack of Fitness
Not everyone who works from home gains weight, but I did. I struggled with my weight back in college so I can’t completely blame it on my newer work setup, but sitting at the computer all day has not been good for my health. Over the past year, I’ve lost weight and gained some of it back.
Working from home can create a sedentary lifestyle which can lead to health problems now and in the future. Even though I love the work I do, I know it’s not right to lose time and end up sitting at the computer each day. This is why I try to stand when I can, take walks during the day, stay hydrated and head to the gym a few times a week.
I have a ledge in my kitchen that I use as a stand-up desk for my laptop until I’m able to purchase one. Simply standing up for an extra hour or two each day does wonders.
4. Not As Much Time to Spend With Family If You Don’t Balance
When I quit my job to work at home, I thought I was going to be much less stressed and have so much more time. Surprisingly, just the opposite happened. I was still working all the time and didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted with my family. While I was in the house with my son, I still couldn’t do a lot of things with him or take the afternoon off to watch a movie because I had to work.
He’s been sick this week so it’s been a hassle working around our new hectic schedule of him waking up early, not sleeping much at night, and being bored and restless throughout the day. I’ve been able to switch around some deadlines but ultimately, I’m going to be pretty behind on work since there’s no one else on my team to do it for me.
If you work from home for an employer and have set hours, you may find it easier to create a better work-life balance. When you’re self-employed however, you could easily get caught up working all day long if you allow it. This is because when you work for yourself, you don’t get any paid time off.
If you don’t work, you don’t get paid and that can cause some stress. Add in the fact that you’re isolated and have to juggle a fluctuating income and all this can start to take a toll on your mental health as well. For me, my anxiety has increased at times while I was working from home. It got to its worst point during the summer when I had no childcare during the month of July and way too many commitments.
To improve my situation, I realized I needed to have a much better work-life balance so I didn’t feel obligated to work all the time but guilty when I was neglecting my family. I started raising my rates (since I have the freedom to control how much I earn) and saying no more to projects and tasks that didn’t align with my goals or make me feel fulfilled.
I also started diversifying my income be offering different freelance services and focusing on earning more money from my blog. Monetizing your blog is a long-term game, but it’s a great way to establish a somewhat passive stream of income while you work from home. Plus it’s fun to have your own little space on the internet. Learn how to start your own blog here.
At the end of the day, there are two sides to every story. Working from home has been life-changing for me, but it doesn’t come with its drawbacks. If you decide to start working from home, the best thing you can do is carefully consider the pros and cons so you can make the best decision for you. I realized that I could overcome many of the cons and feel content, but if you ignore that fact that they even exist, you’ll allow your situation to get worse and you won’t be happy about it.
What do you think about working from home? Would you ever try it? Why or why not?