For many people, working from home every day is a career goal. It’s one step closer to living the dream… except in this case, you still have a job.
When I tell people I work from home, I hear the typical responses: “must be nice,” or “I wish I could do that.” They basically assume I roll out of bed at 8:55 AM, pour myself a bowl of cereal, throw the TV on and open my laptop.
In reality, it ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Working from home is one of those things that sounds great on paper, but it isn’t for everyone. Before you make any life changing decisions, look at the whole picture – not just the side that gives you a better chance of napping at lunch.
5 Downsides of Working from Home Full-Time
1. It can be isolating
Ever had one of those weekends where you really did nothing? Maybe some friends were out of town or you were dog-sitting for a relative. Remember that feeling you got on Sunday afternoon? That anxious, semi-depressed, what-am-I-missing-out-on feeling?
That’s what working from home can feel like.
If you have a job where you’re not required to travel, do meetings, or take people out to lunches, spending almost all your time with your laptop and cell phone can get old after a while.
At first, it takes some getting used to. I could work from home for a day or two but felt the need to go back to the office after that. As time went on, I got more comfortable with it. Ultimately, humans are social beings. We’re energized by interacting and working from home makes that more challenging than usual.
2. You’ll have more chores
When you think about it, a full-time job is the perfect excuse for not getting stuff done. Dishes in the sink? Wish I could help! Gotta go to work. Laundry’s not folded? Ah, yeah – gotta run! I mean someone’s gotta pay the bills, right?!
When you’re the “work from home person,” you can’t avoid any responsibilities. It’s like not having a commute means you have all the time in the world to run to UPS, remodel the bathroom, and do meal prep for the rest of the week.
I won’t lie to you – it’s probably a fair trade. Sitting in traffic every day for over an hour to sit under bright fluorescent lights with people you don’t care about is no small feat. You the real MVPs.
3. Distractions are everywhere
The biggest benefit of working from home is the freedom. When I started, I saved myself 3 hours per day by simply not commuting into Boston. That opened up time for me to be more productive, get more rest, etc.
The issue isn’t what happens before or after work, however. The challenge can be staying focused on what you need to be focused on. With no one watching your every move, your integrity, work ethic, and time management skills are put to the test.
If you’re someone who can’t sit still for 5 minutes or resist sudden impulses, working from home could result in more negatives than positives for your career.
4. Communication becomes a burden
It’s easy to communicate with people in an office setting. With the whole “shared work space” fad going on (work pods, anyone?), it’s probably too easy. However, that communication (or lack thereof) is important, and it becomes much more difficult without physical proximity.
In general, managers like to know what their employees are up to. If you work from home and seem to drop off the face of the Earth for hours on end, that’s not good.
To be successful, you have to be ultra-responsive and have a plan for keeping your manager in the loop. For some people, that uncertainty of not being able to drop-in on the manager’s office is unsettling.
5. You can never escape work
There’s something to be said about a great work-life balance. Typically, it’s easy to separate life from work. That’s because most people don’t sleep at their workplace.
It’s easy to forget that when you work from home, you’re almost always at work. That dynamic makes it harder to start and stop working at normal times. It may sound like a small problem to have, but it’s possible to lose that feeling of ‘escaping from work’.
Overall, lack of discipline can ruin you when you’re working remotely. But hey – lack of discipline is bad no matter where you work. Personally, I’m so used to working from home that I don’t know if I can go back.
Do you work from home? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Home at 30 and are in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution. The purpose of this blog is to give general education and information about investing, wealth, careers, and college; It is not intended to be professional advice.
Author: Josh Ramos
Josh has paid off $130k in student loan debt in 4 years. By founding Home at 30, he wants to help end the student debt crisis by helping students and young professionals make decisions that will reward them for a lifetime.