With phone, internet and computer technology being where it is today, it’s no wonder working from home is becoming more common.
Sure, it sounds like it could be fun, not bothering to shower and change out of your favourite Superman onesie, having as many coffee breaks or mini naps as you like. Perhaps it won’t feel like work at all?
But whether you have your own business or your workplace has the technology to allow you to work from home, is it actually as good as it sounds?
Here are some reasons why working from home has its down sides.
The Problem: Zero motivation
When your alarm goes off at 7 am to begin your working day, are you jumping out of bed, scoffing down breakfast, showering and slipping into your freshly pressed suit just to walk into your home office to get the job done like a boss? Or is your day more like this… you hear your alarm, you press snooze for the seventh time and get up at about 10 am. You slop some coffee down your already stained superman onesie and burp loudly as you pick at last night’s leftovers on your way to the laptop, jammed somewhere between the couch cushions?
Unless you have clients to meet or Skype conferences to log into, motivation while working from home can be hard to come by. There’s no boss to stare you into submission or if you do have a boss, it’s unlikely he will be knocking on your front door. (Let’s hope not.)
You do, however, probably have to do some kind of work if you’re employed by someone other than yourself, or you want to bring in an income. So having nothing but boring old work to get you out of bed could mean you don’t get out of bed at all, which, should your laziness persist, may mean you’ll be out of a job all together.
Even when you have an office to go to each day, motivation is something that seems to come and go like the wind. We all struggle to stay motivated.
So if you do work from home, make sure you know what you’ve gotten yourself into. Are you passionate about your own business or job? Do you want to succeed? Do you want to make money? Think about how good it will feel to get the job done or how much money you will receive at the end of your day’s work. It will be worth it in the end.
Also, start your day right: Eat a healthy breakfast, shower and perhaps leave your onesie to soak while you’re hard at work. If you feel fresh, clean and healthy at the beginning of the day, it will be easier to find motivation for the rest of it.
The Problem: Distractions
If you thought you could escape the distractions of working in an office by working at home, think again. Picture this: Your sitting in your home office and you can hear the jingle to your favourite mid-day sitcom starting on the TV that you left on since breakfast and you just can’t stand to miss it.
Or maybe your girlfriend/boyfriend or flat mate isn’t at work today and you can hear them bouncing around in their room, doing a Zumba class from their computer. Not to mention your cat that keeps jumping up onto your laptop to lay luxuriously across your keyboard.
That’s just to name a few. Distractions are a curse when working from home and they are hard to put aside to get the job done.
If you choose to work from home, make sure you have a separate area/room to make your home office, preferably with four walls and a door. (Window optional.)
The more you can lock yourself away from cats, dogs, kids, flat mates or horny lovers, the better.
Turn off all TV’s, phones or devices that are not work related. If this can’t be done, invest in a work phone and turn off your personal one during work hours.
The Problem: No support
Unless your own business is quickly developing into an empire and you can afford to hire minions to fix your everyday business needs, you are it. If there are problems with clients or computers, then you’ll have to fix them all on your own, which can be a daunting prospect.
When you work alone, the smallest of problems can seem monumental, which can lead to stress and detrimental mistakes when you don’t have someone to bounce ideas and solutions off.
If your printer runs out of ink or worse, breaks down while you are trying to print off an important document, then it will be up to you to sort it out. You will be the one having to buying a new printer or pick up more ink, which is just another distraction you don’t need.
If you are lucky enough to be able to afford to employ staff, then do so to help take the load off.
If not, then make sure you have alternative ways to fix problems. I.e. Know where your local library is and become a member. You can use their computers and printers should yours stop working.
Have a good contact for IT problems and back up your work constantly. Having a reserve laptop is a good idea too if you can afford it.
Be prepared for the worst case scenarios. Write them down and work out solutions before they happen.
Phone a friend when work is getting too much and you are feeling alone and stressed. Take a break and a few deep breaths. Your health is important too.
The Problem: Odd working hours
Working from home may mean you can work less hours, but it can also mean you end up working more. Some home workers often get up and out of bed, walk straight to the home office at 7 am and don’t find themselves leaving till 7 that night.
When you don’t have set office hours, it is easy to over or under work. It can also mean you skip meals and don’t take breaks. This can be unhealthy and make winding down impossible at the end of the day.
This solution is a simple one. Set yourself office hours and stick to them. Make sure you have a set lunch break and take it every day.
Perhaps you are not a morning person, so working from lunch till later in the evening might be more beneficial for you. Or maybe you’re an early starter, so you can finish at lunch time. Either way, pick a time that suits you best.
Try not to work on weekends unless absolutely necessary.
Looking after yourself and making sure you are well rested and stress free is half of the answer to making your business or home office successful.