When I tell people I work from home, they often get a starry-eyed look on their face. They dream of working from the comfort of their own space, having the freedom to choose. On the other hand, some people tell me they could never see themselves working from home.
As you consider working from home, you need to evaluate the perks and pitfalls. There’s no sense going into it with an idealized dream and finding out about all the challenges the hard way.
Every remote business person has challenges to overcome while they manage their goals. Talk to other entrepreneurs about their challenges and get a better sense of your own potential hardships.
I want to give you some pros and cons that I discovered through my pursuit of owning a remote business. They can give you a realistic vision of how working from home fits into your lifestyle – or if it’s the best fit for you after all.
4 Pros of Working from Home
Remote workers enjoy these four perks:
When you work from home, your time becomes your own to manage. Tasks can be done as soon as you want, and you have the freedom to adjust your schedule as necessary.
In fact, working from home (usually) means you get to set your own schedule. You get to work during the times that you function best and make room for appointments or engagements.
This is the one that comes to mind for everyone: You get to wear whatever you want. And it’s true! You get to set your own dress code, and you can wear whatever help you work best.
I have a secret, though: What you wear matters more than you think. I hear actors talk about how their costumes help to get them into character. My outfit also helps me establish certain mindsets.
If I sit around trying to work in my pajamas all day, I feel relaxed… a little too relaxed. I struggle to meet goals because I’m so comfortable. Dressing comfortably but professionally, however, helps my mind to know it’s time to work.
I also don’t have to scramble to look put-together if I need to have a Zoom meeting on short notice.
3. Fewer Interruptions and Meetings
Did you ever attend a meeting and later think, “That definitely could have been explained in an email”? One perk of working remotely: fewer meetings! You also get to focus more on the work you have to do instead of having a coworker pop into your office for a quick chat.
This means that your work time is optimized, and you have the opportunity to greatly increase your productivity.
4. No Commute or Regular Travel Expenses
If you work from home, your only commute is down your hallway. You get to enjoy the same morning coffee from your kitchen in your favorite mug while you “travel” to your workspace. That frees up an expense to use in other areas of your life and budget.
4 Cons of Remote Work
These five cons can sometimes cause discouragement, but everyone has to overcome them if they want to see their end goal turn into a reality.
1. Self-Accountability and Distractions
No one else will do your work. You might have someone ask about your progress every once in a while, but ultimately you have to be the one that holds yourself accountable for the work in front of you. You have to establish your end goals firmly in your mind and keep moving toward them, no matter what.
If you struggle with accountability, think about the reasons you wanted to work from home. What motivated you in the first place? Also, try joining a group of other like-minded business people. Mastermind groups are a great way to enjoy the benefits of people asking you hard questions, so you can stay on the right track.
A lot of people also find “productive procrastination” becomes an issue while working from home. Got a difficult task ahead? That pile of dishes needs to be washed… You’ve been meaning to repaint that door frame, too…
2. No Sick Days
No one fills in for you when you’re sick. You can’t call in because something comes up. When you don’t work, no one does the work for you.
This becomes challenging when you or a family member comes down with a virus or needs to go to a doctor appointment. You have to rearrange your regular work flow to accommodate the interruption. As sicknesses often last several days, it can add stress and put you behind the schedule you had in mind to complete a project.
3. Hard to Distinguish Between Work Time and Leisure Time
Remote workers have to set a mental boundary between work and home. While round-the-clock communications have made this separation a challenge for employees in the modern world, it’s even harder for someone who sets their own schedule and manages every aspect of their business. While it might be easy to think, “I’ll just check my email right quick,” that typically takes an entrepreneur down a rabbit hole of problem-solving.
Establish a work schedule for yourself that you stick to. You work between certain hours (don’t forget needed breaks), and then you’re done.
4. Increased Isolation
While the minimization of face-to-face conversations might sometimes seem like a good thing, it certainly presents challenges.
Just like it can be easy to misread the intent behind a quick text message, emails and messages between colleagues get misinterpreted all the time. In an office environment, you can seek out the person and clarify meaning, face-to-face. When you work from home, that’s not an available solution. You can feel really disconnected from coworkers or colleagues, as well.
In addition, the isolated nature of work-from-home jobs often leads to feelings of loneliness. If that becomes an issue for you, make sure to plan regular times when you can interact with people you like to be around. It’s healthy to laugh and enjoy others’ company, so don’t go without it for too long!
Making the Best of Challenges
Be aware of the issues you may face. If you have an ongoing struggle with time management while you work for a boss, know it will be even harder when you don’t have those built-in deadlines or someone breathing down your neck with the pressure to complete a project. On the other hand, you may find the freedom and flexibility to be well worth the additional challenges.
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