Potential Pitfalls of Working from Home (And How to Avoid Them)
Very few things are all good or all bad. That applies even to something as seemingly appealing as working remotely from home.
The boons are not difficult to recount. The commute from your bed to your office is very possibly non-existent, you can set your own hours; if the boss is a jerk you have no one to blame but yourself. There are a lot of upsides.
At the same time, you should understand the challenges associated with working from home before jumping in head first.
The brutal truth is that you’re more likely to slack off without a supervisor cracking a whip. Procrastination is the home workers worst enemy. You know you don’t have to be up at 6 am so you push it to 9 am. You promise to work ‘really hard’ if you push getting up until 11 am. 11 am becomes 12 pm and you’ve lost half a day.
How to fix it – Schedule your day as if you were at a day job. Give yourself lunches and breaks but be sure to set clear performance goals. You may be able to put everything off until the last minute and still get it done. But is the final product really your best work?
There’s something to be said for going to work, bonding with co-workers and building relationships you wouldn’t otherwise. Unless you plan to parade people through your living room, this is a phenomenon you’re likely to miss working from home. It can even lead to antisocial tendencies in your personal life as well. Not to get too emo about it, but you get a little used to being alone. Everyone you meet is potentially an opportunity in one way or another. If you’re meeting fewer people, it stands to reason that you are missing out on more opportunities.
How to fix it – You have got to get out more. You will have to make a greater effort to compensate. Join a club or group, make yourself known at the places you frequent, just put yourself out there.
This becomes more of an issue the farther along you are in your career. There is a real fear of being “Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s not a ridiculous fear. How are you supposed to get that promotion if your bosses don’t see how well your working? How can they see how hard you’re working if you’re not there? What are you supposed to do if you get stuck in place?
How to fix it – First of all, relax. Much the same way as you would in person, let your work extol your value. Find ways to make yourself indispensable. Don’t just aim to excel in your company; aim to excel in your industry. That way you will have created options for yourself, instead of waiting for them to be given to you.
This information is not designed to put you off working from home. On the contrary, it’s designed to give you a better understanding of what it entails to help you be more successful in your remote ventures.