Working from home sounds like a dream. Wear whatever you want, no commuting to an office every day, do your laundry on breaks, and still get full pay and benefits. What’s not to like?
For one thing, working from home is still work. You still have a boss, and there will still be office politics plus a set of challenges specific to remote work.
In this post, we’re looking at the top disadvantages of working from home, along with solutions for dealing with each one.
7 disadvantages of working from home
- Staying on top of communication
- Holding yourself to a schedule
- Being more resourceful
- Complying with your company’s IT policies
- Setting boundaries
- Goals motivate you.
- Goals encourage you to persist.
- Goals direct your attention to the behaviors you need to exhibit to be successful.
Staying on top of communication
Holding yourself to a schedule
Being more resourceful
Complying with your company’s IT policies
Working from home successfully requires an even stronger work ethic than showing up at the office every day. You won’t have coworkers walking by your desk all day to discuss projects over coffee. Your manager isn’t going to pop by to make sure you’re doing your work.
You have to hold yourself accountable. For some people, this work style comes naturally, but others find it difficult to stay on track without someone to hold them accountable.
To help with this, set up a room without distractions to do your work. Whether you have a home office or a corner in the kitchen, you can limit distractions. If you find yourself browsing social media, then block yourself from time-sucking apps during work hours.
Give yourself a list of goals to achieve throughout the day, and check off items as you finish them. Positive Psychology suggests that goal-setting works for three primary reasons:
It’s natural to feel out of the loop when you can’t connect in person. Remote workers often feel this way when they’re limited to collaborating with their teammates digitally.
You’ll rely heavily on tools and apps to communicate with your team. This means more pings and notifications than you would normally see working in an office and speaking face-to-face with your coworkers. Unfortunately, this can result in you missing important notifications when you step away from your phone or computer.
To stay in the loop, make it a habit to go through all notifications after you step away, not just the most recent ones. If you aren’t getting notifications for any reason, check your settings or do a quick Google search to troubleshoot the problem.
Set clear guidelines with your team at the start of every project so everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. Everyone communicates better when they know what the end goal is.
Making your own schedule sounds great in the abstract, but in reality it can prove to be a challenge. Like everything else, it comes down to willpower and holding yourself accountable. It’s tempting to stay in bed longer or put off a difficult task when you work from home.
The best long-term strategy is to set a routine and stick to it. In fact, one study showed that workers following a routine were more likely to submit ideas at work.
If you struggle with this, begin by setting boundaries for yourself. When you wake up, take the time to exercise, shower, and eat breakfast like you would before leaving for the office. Do what works for you, but make it a habit by integrating it into your daily routine.
Despite all the apps and devices we have to keep us connected digitally, a common complaint about working from home is a lack of communication and connection. What you gain from working in your sweatpants you lose by not having those small talk moments with your coworkers. The feeling of disconnection is all too real when you can’t meet with your team face to face.
It is possible to foster these interactions with Slack channels and video chats, though. Make a watercooler chat channel on Slack, or use another communication tool for nothing but miscellaneous chats with your team. You can also set aside a designated time for a call with your teammates just to chat without a focus on work. If your organization allows it, have a digital happy hour with your coworkers!
It’s likely that you’re missing out on some advantages of working from the office when it comes to your setup. Your capacity to be productive is different when working on a laptop at home instead of on the desktop with dual monitors and a studio printer that everyone gets at the office.
Open up a dialogue if the equipment you’re working with isn’t sufficient. Tell your manager if you need a better webcam or a second monitor to improve productivity.
If you’re working from your own laptop, phone, and Wi-Fi connection, you may not have access to the same security controls as someone using company equipment. Different organizations have their own security measures and virus protection in place. Using personal equipment can expose you and the rest of the company to hackers and malware.
One way to mitigate this risk is to use your VPN, avoid public Wi-Fi, and comply with your IT team’s guidelines.
Perhaps the biggest challenge with working from home is the blurry line between your work and personal life. It’s difficult to clock out when your work laptop is sitting right there on your kitchen table. When you work from an office, you call it a day because you have to go home. There’s no distinct quitting time when you’re already home. You might feel obligated to jump on a work call after hours, just because you can.
Your personal time is just as crucial for avoiding burnout when you work from home as when you commute to an office. Protect your personal time by turning off notifications when you’re off the clock. Let everyone know your office hours in an away message or email signature, and stick to them. The more you work outside of office hours, the more it will become expected of you.
Working from home has some serious downsides, especially if you’re extroverted, struggle with setting boundaries, or thrive in environments where there are always a lot of people around.