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Working from home can have so many wonderful benefits, but like most things in life, there are work from home challenges as well. While it’s always best to focus on the positives, it’s sometimes good to look at the negatives to gain a balanced view. These experts share with us what they feel are some of the drawbacks to working from home, and what they do to overcome these drawbacks. You can use their stories to anticipate and offset some of the lesser fun aspects of working at home.
My least favorite thing about working from home is how work can easily bleed into family time and relaxing time. When work is also your home, there isn’t as clean of a line.
When you go to an office and come home from an office, it’s easier to separate work from non-work life.
I work against this tendency by having a specific location in my home for work and I leave that space when I’m done working for the day.
My least favorite thing about working at home is other people seem to believe this means my time is truly my own. While there is some freedom with my schedule, people don’t seem to understand that I will still have deadlines I need to meet and won’t always be available when they want me to be.
I often have to be firm with friends and family, making it clear that we can schedule time for other activities. If necessary, I will sometimes leave my phone in another room so I can get work done undisturbed. Closely related to this is the lack of respect family members can sometimes have for my office space. It is difficult to get my family to understand that just because I’m at home doesn’t mean they can just walk in whenever they want. I use similar tactics for this issue. I have posted a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door at times. Otherwise, if they walk in, I ask them if it’s an emergency. If not, I give them a time-frame for when I will be available and ask them to wait until then to talk to me.
My pets love to go in and out of my home office, and it’s a real pain to have to open the door every time they want in (or out). My cat has gotten so persistent she will actually start knocking things off the shelves until I open the door. There is two easy work around’s for this: keep the door open or put them in another area of the house where they can’t get to my room. I use number two when I need the door closed to keep focused and not distracted by other people or noises in the house. Additionally, getting a cat/dog door would be a great fix without having to ever keep the door open or put the pets in another area.
There is a lack of community while working at home. Even when sitting in a coffee shop, it feels like a community where everyone else is working and getting stuff done and you don’t want to be the one to slack off. At home, you don’t have this sort of community accountability. It is easier to get off track being by yourself and no one else working around you. A great fix for this has been by using the website, Focus Mate. They connect you with a partner to do your work in front of while they work. You don’t collaborate, you just do your work and they do theirs. It’s like being in a coffee shop, but at home, and you get that sense of accountability back.
My least favorite thing about working from home is that there’s no such thing as packing up your things and leaving the office. Your office is always around and there’s always plenty of work to go back and do.
Without having any basis for a hard ending time, I’ve often found that my start and end times are extremely blurred and that it can be hard to know when to quit.
My least favorite thing about working from home is having to deal with the noises that come with it: lawn mowing in the neighborhood, my dogs barking at every movement outside the door, and solicitors stopping by and interrupting my work (in spite of the two, yes two, No Soliciting signs
on my door).
Calming music is one of the best fixes I’ve found for it. It can drown out the other noise and help me focus on the work in front of me. And sometimes moving to a different room in the house based on where the noise is coming from helps. At times though, it’s just a matter of waiting until it passes.
1) Being isolated from the rest of the world. I recommend working remotely, going to co-working spaces, or find a coffee shop where other remote/digital entrepreneurs work.
2) Lack of work-life balance. I realized early on it’s important to separate work space from living space. Don’t work in your bedroom, kitchen or living room. Have clear boundaries so you have some sort of balance.
3) Coworkers or associated not respecting your time. If you’re a remote employee, other employees usually assume you’re being lazy. If you’re a digital entrepreneur, friends, family, and clients seem to think you’re always available.
1) No time clock to provide ending boundaries. I tackle things when they need to be done and don’t quit working until I’m finished, even if this means spending 8 hours working on a Saturday.
2. Frequent interruptions. Other people often don’t respect the fact I’m working.
3. Easy to put off unpleasant tasks. Being at home means seeing what needs my attention around the house. Those things often are more appealing to do than some of my least favorite business tasks.
Note from Leslie
I’ve always said a bad day working at home was still better than a good day commuting to an office, and I still believe it. With that said, there are some aspects to working at home that are hard or annoying, such as:
- A tendency to overwork
- Difficult to juggle home and work under one roof
- People who don’t believe you’re doing a “real” job (even in home business)
- People who don’t respect your time and interrupt you
- Isolation and loneliness
But you can reduce these challenges by:
- Having a set schedule and routine, and things in place to avoid burn out.
- Setting boundaries with your family
- Not answering the phone from friends, family or neighbors during work time (you can have an alternative system for emergencies) and being firm with them that you have to work
- Getting out of the office once a week or so to work somewhere else, meet with colleagues or others who work from home, and/or network online.
What are your biggest challenges to working at home and how to do you overcome them?
Work at home experts share their least favorite things about working at home and gives tips how to overcome these challenges. @lenztweet @PennysLayne1 @dustyndream @ericdeanjohnson
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Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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