Time has changed, and thanks to technological advances have drastically changed the worker’s lives, now more and more people have the opportunity to work from home, either for a company or for their own company. This practice is also defined as “teleworking” or remote work. It is possible that you have already had the opportunity to work from home or that shortly your professional life will put this option on the table.
Would you like to work from home? Do you want to start your own business or perhaps you are looking for a job with telework from your home? I am going to tell you everything you have to know so that you can do it in the best conditions.
I will start with the inconveniences and risks, to give you advice that will prevent you from falling into the most common traps and take steps to be prepared.
In the second part of that guide, I will tell you about the many benefits of working from home. You probably didn’t know some of them.
First, let’s see the disadvantages of working from home, and what you can learn from it.
Disadvantages of working from home:
1. The Disappearance Of The Separation Between Work And Personal Life
What does this danger consist of?
Going to an office every day has its drawbacks, but at least one thing is clear: your workplace is differentiated from your home. This allows a much easier separation between work and personal life. But when you work from home, there is no longer a clear separation work and personal life. And that is not a good thing.
- People who find it hard to get to work can be tempted and do nothing.
- There is also the opposite risk, of getting so excited about your activity that you only dedicate yourself to work and you don’t know how to stop.
- In fact, a common behaviour of people who work from home is to go from one extreme to the other. You don’t do much for a few days, you feel guilty, and you go to work nonstop, you get tired, and you don’t do much again. And so on.
The solution: reset the limits:
Luckily you can apply some practical tips so that this does not happen to you.
- Make a work schedule and get stick to it. If you are an employee and have chosen work from home option, this schedule is likely set by your company. If you have your own business, you decide—kick-off by working about eight hours a day and having weekends off. Then you can adjust based on your workload.
- Organize a home office. It is recommended not to have your desk in the room. Choose a quiet place, where they will not disturb you. Ideally, have an office in a room separate from the rest of the house, if possible. If you physically separate the spaces, it is easier to re-establish a boundary between professional and personal life.
- Agree on rules with the other inhabitants of your house. Explain your work hours, so they don’t bother you during those hours. That means not interrupting yourself, but also not making annoying noises, as much as possible.
- Don’t work in pyjamas, however tempting it may be. Get dressed in the morning. It is a symbolic act, but it also allows us to establish a clearer difference between your rest time and your work time.
2. The Multiple Distractions
What risk am I talking about?
I couldn’t write an article about the advantages and disadvantages of working from home without mentioning that when your work only depends on yourself, it is much more difficult to stay focused and motivated.
You have neither coworkers nor a boss who can control you. In this condition, you may feel a lack of environment for working. Consequently, your productivity may be affected.
And there are a thousand temptations at home.
At the risk of frequently looking at the mobile phone or wasting time on social networks, you have to add the fact that you are at home:
- Suddenly, you think it might be a good time to put on a washing machine and hang clothes.
- You get hungry, and you visit the fridge.
- Another chapter from your favourite series before going back to work?
- You start talking to your partner or one of your children.
- The dog wants to go for a walk.
- I could go on, but I think you understand my point.
The Tip: tricks to be productive at home
It’s possible to keep temptations at bay if you stick to the schedule I discussed in the previous section, but to make sure you’re going to stay focused and productive, I advise you to do the following:
- Schedule each workday. Make a list of the tasks you have to do during your work hours, and assign a duration to each of them. It is much easier to stay focused if you have a guide to know what to do and how much time you have.
- Prioritize tasks. Naturally, we tend to avoid what we don’t want to do. Put the most important jobs of that day first on your list. And if there is something you don’t feel like doing but you know is important, start with that one. This will make the rest of the day more enjoyable.
- Alternate work periods with short breaks. For example, you can work 30 minutes very concentrated, then do something relaxing for 5 minutes. That allows you to return to work another 30 minutes with more force. You can take advantage of those 5 minutes for small household chores. But make sure the times don’t go away.
- Make a small daily balance of what you have managed to do and what you have not. It will allow you to see if you are productive. And so you will be more aware of the aspects that you have to improve.
- Take away the temptation of the mobile. Put it in aeroplane mode if necessary, or even store it in another room. This will avoid looking at it every five minutes.
- Project management tools. Remember that there is very good software on the market.
3. Stop Socializing
The least visible danger
Despite all the benefits of working from home that I will discuss later in the article, there is one pernicious aspect that many people are unaware of. It is relative to social isolation.
Think about it.
If your entire workday is spent at home, you have little contact with other people.
- If you live alone, you will notice it a lot, and it will probably push you to do things to get out of the house and socialize.
- But if you live as a family, you may feel very comfortable because your basic social needs will be met. Paradoxically, living with more people is more dangerous for your social life because it can prevent you from realizing your isolation and the need to see other people.
Get out of the house!
So, if you telecommute or have a home business, take steps to socialize:
- Sign up for an activity that interests you (sport, dance, painting…)
- Hang out with friends for a drink after work.
- Visit co-working spaces occasionally to meet other professionals who have a lot in common with you.
- Participate in professional events.
- Take advantage of collaborative platforms to meet people (Meetup, Blablacar, Couchsurfing )
Make it a goal to meet people outside your family circle at least 3 times a week.
4. Sedentary Lifestyle
Working from home can be a cheat to your health
If you do not even have to leave home to go to work, and also you always have the fridge within walking distance, you have the perfect ingredients to become sedentary.
In India, in 2016, there were approx. 30 million people who were overweight or obese that is, with a body mass index greater than 24 or 30 respectively. It is one of the main health problems, and the Ministry of Health takes it very seriously.
It turns out that the principal threat factors for obesity are in reality, lack of exercise and the gap among food. If you make money working from home, you are more exposed to both risks.
Proven anti-sedentary advice
Luckily, it has an easy solution:
- Do moderate-intensity exercise five times a week. When you work at home you have time to do it, so stop making excuses.
- Do not eat between hours. Have three most important meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and two snacks (one at mid-morning and one for mid-evening). Obviously, healthy and in adequate proportions.
- Sleep well. Lack of sleep artificially increases appetite.
5. Lack of Ergonomics
The danger of neglecting your posture
Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of working from home cannot be done without mentioning ergonomics.
When you are hired at a company for an office job, they usually provide you with an ergonomic job. You have a big screen, a comfortable chair, and a desk at the right height.
If you start working from home, at first, you may think that you can do with a laptop, the dining table, and any chair. But it’s not like that.
If you neglect the configuration of your workplace, you will have back problems, vision problems, or both.
And the problem is that the consequences of bad ergonomics are not noticed immediately but after some time.
The solution to work in good conditions
I share with you some recommendations to take care of your posture while you work sitting:
- Invest in the material. Buy yourself a comfortable, height-adjustable office chair. Also, buy a large screen and an ergonomic keyboard. You will spend many hours working. Worth.
- You have to have a good working posture. Keep your back straight and support it to the back of the chair. The table should be at your elbows. Rest your feet on the ground. Put the keyboard and computer screen directly in front, so you don’t have to turn your neck.
- Change your position from time to time to reduce muscle tension. It is also good to get up periodically and even do some stretching.
6. Communication Failures
Out of sight…
Even if you work remotely, you will have to be in contact with many people. But that contact is rarely going to be in person, and that can cause some difficulties.
In particular, it is much easier to have misunderstandings and communication failures when you write messages than when you speak out loud because you do not have the opportunity to correct at the moment if the person understands something other than what you wanted to express.
The Tip is common sense, The solution, in this case, is simple:
- Always check any message you are going to send by putting yourself in the place of the recipient, to see if it is understood as intended. That’s especially important if you’re going to send email marketing campaigns by mail.
- Organize video conferences or phone calls to deal with more complex matters that need dialogue.
7. Concern About Money
Bread for today, but…
In this case, I am only referring to those who are thinking of starting their own business. For all of them, the economic aspect is important to assess the pros and cons of working from home. Employees do not have this problem.
When you start, two factors combine that can be annoying and a source of concern:
- Uncertainty about your future income. The most common is that when you start a month, you do not know how much billing you will end up with. Even if you have repeat customers, you never have complete assurance about your future activity.
- You have no paid vacation. Of course, you can schedule a few days without work and travel wherever you want, but you know that while you do it you will not be generating activity and therefore your income will decrease.
Take control of your economy.
To have more financial peace of mind, I recommend that you follow these guidelines:
- Seek a stable income. Ideally, subscription systems allow you to build customer loyalty for longer periods.
- Try to increase the part of your sales that comes from passive income. In this way, your billing will be disconnected from your daily activity, and you can go on vacation without losing money.
- Save when you have stronger months. If you make good savings, you will have a holiday fund, and you will leave with a calmer mind.
You see, all the inconveniences of working at home can be perfectly solved. And now, what is promised is debt, I’m going to tell you about the advantages.
Advantages of working from home
How many face-to-face workers have not ever wanted to stay at home fulfilling their tasks, for example, on a cold winter day when you don’t feel like going out on the street? Certainly, “work from home” has several points in favour:
- Nothing like the comfort of home, you will feel much more comfortable working in a place that you consider your own.
- You have greater autonomy to carry out your work.
- You can organize your schedules as it suits you; you are not forced to sit in a chair eight hours straight.
- If you leave an office position to start working at home, you will realize what you earn in personal freedom.
- “Work from home” option can be a bridge to entrepreneurship.
- The reconciliation of professional life with private life earns many integers thanks to “work from home” option, especially if you have children and, even more, if they are still young. That feeling of spending the day in the office without seeing your family, which bothers so many people, can be mitigated or eliminated through this working formula.
- If you organize yourself well, you can go running or go to the gym in the middle of the morning instead of at night, as many people do because they have no other option due to the rigidity of their office hours.
- You don’t have your boss continually evaluating what you do.
- If you need help with a task, you can invite a friend over to your house to help you out.
- With the “work from home” option, you save both time and money by not travelling.
- As a derivative of the previous point, you avoid traffic, the traffic jams are over for you.
- “work from home” option is a great tool for people with mobility difficulties since it allows them greater job placement.