Why Working From Home Is Not For Everyone

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Does Sunday evening fill you with dread at the thought of another Monday looming large? Do you constantly wish you didn’t have to wake up in an ungodly hour for another long commute to the office? Do you harbor fantasies of staying in bed all day on a weekday, or at least, staying in pajamas all day on a weekday but still getting things done?

For many of us stuck in the 8-to-5 grind and slaves to Metro Manila traffic, the idea of working from home has probably become a recurring fantasy. And why not? It seems to be the best setup for having your cake and eating it, too. You’ll be able to spend more time with your family, you won’t need to waste precious hours on the road, you’ll be in control of your work hours, and as long as you get things done, you’re generally free to do as you please.

We hate to burst your bubble, though: working from home, while convenient for some, is not for everyone. There are downsides to this setup that you need to consider before you even think about turning your fantasy into reality.

  1. You’ll Get Distracted
    More time at home means more time to care of your kids, to notice stuff that need fixing, to welcome visitors, etc. On the one hand, that’s great! But if you have work to do, the temptation to take care of your household, spend time with your family, or to entertain guests, can sometimes keep you away from what needs to be done on the work front. 

  2. You’ll Be On Your Own
    Working from home leads to less interaction with your employer, fellow professionals, clients, and the world. While this means you may feel free to work without anyone looking over your shoulder, it can also mean there’ll be no one to bounce ideas with face to face or to exert external pressure for you to finish the job. There’ll also be times when there’ll be no one to see how hard you work, no one to give you a pat on the back, no one to quickly turn to for feedback, and no one to help you with the small tasks like answering the phone, receiving mail, printing, etc. 

  3. You’ll Need A Lot Of Self-Discipline
    Working in your comfort zone can be great. You determine your work hours, you can rest if you need to, and you don’t need to dress up. But if you fail to establish good work habits early on and to stick with them, you might fall toward procrastination and laziness. You’ll need more self-motivation and self-discipline to keep afloat.

  4. Your House Is Not The Best Place For Business
    No matter how well-appointed your house is, it simply was not primarily designed as a space to meet clients, house work equipment, store work files, and operate a business. Plus, there are privacy and security risks that come with merging your home and business addresses.

  5. Your Home And Work Life Will Inevitably Overlap
    Home can be an escape from work, and vice versa. But when there’s a thin line between work and home, things can get messy. Not only will it be more challenging to stop working even off-work hours, it’ll be hard to be completely present in your home and family life when work is just a few steps away. 

Given these probable pitfalls, what’s someone to do if the call to work from home is really strong? What if you’d like to break away from the confines of your office and work remotely instead? How about trying a middle ground?

  1. Book Meeting Rooms
    If you still want to primarily work from home, but need to meet clients from time to time, rent a space for meetings instead of inviting the people from work to your living room. This will help set clear boundaries between your work and home spaces and will also give off a more professional impression to your clients. 

  2. Collaborate At Coworking Spaces From Time To Time
    Consider scheduling regular workdays at coworking spaces. You’ll still work remotely, but you’ll also be forced to leave the house, and interact with your fellow professionals. 

  3. Sign Up For Virtual Office Services
    Professionalism and privacy should be a big deal for any working person. If you’re happy working from home but need the convenience of a permanent business address, and the ease of centralized mail, phone, and message services, as well as other added front office and back office support, this is the way to go.

Working from home is not for everyone. But if you feel that it’s for you, make sure you’ve weighed all the pros and cons before you take the plunge. There’s no harm in setting safeguards like our suggestions above to ensure your career success doesn’t suffer even if you stay in bed—working or otherwise—all day!