As of 2018, over four million people in the UK worked from home, and according to different statistics, this could rise to over half of the workforce by 2020. With the trend towards freelance and flex-time looking strong, there’s a lot of talk around the positives of working from home. It can save time and money, minimise the need for travel, offer a more flexible lifestyle and more.
Still, there are also inevitable downsides, too. It’s real life, not an imaginary world where the coin only has one side. There are always other sides to the story. It’s that we don’t seem to talk about them as often, maybe out of a desire to portray only what we enjoy and not what we find challenging.
That said, here are some of the biggest downsides of working from home, along with tips on how to conquer them.
Despite belief to the contrary, it’s not easy to become rich through running a business. Indeed, most start-ups fail, and most freelancers struggle to grind a living, at least at first. Leaving the assurance of a monthly wage behind can, for many, brings with it financial worries and genuine difficulties when it comes to paying the bills.
Be wary of get-rich-quick schemes. If you’re working from home on a self-employed basis, then it’s wise to test the waters and ask yourself the right questions before quitting your full-time job. Secure your finances, and you will have a much easier ride.
Loss of Productivity
There are many reasons why productivity wanes, from losing one’s willpower to becoming distracted to lacking the external motivation to get the work done. Without an office and team physically with you, all that productive energy has to come from you.
Some think it’s fortunate not to have to get up at 9 a.m. on a Monday. Still, in a way, if an employee can get to work, then they will likely kick into gear (if only second gear) due to being in the work environment with others also working. A bad day at the home office likely means that little gets done, and that means that no money gets earned.
There are lots of ways to increase and maintain productivity. The points covered below should help.
One of the main killers of productivity, and possibly the biggest downside to working from home, is the isolation and loneliness it can cause. Working alone can be quite nice and relaxing, and indeed productive if the mood is right, but it can also get unbearably boring at times.
One of the ways in which to combat this is to work part of the week from home and part of the week with others, either in a cafe or co-working space. Such can add extra costs to your business, but the extra enjoyment and productivity should make up for this. If you don’t have a valid co-working type option available, be sure to take part in outdoor activities and a range of hobbies. The point is to keep your life moving.
The work-life balance presents a problem for pretty much anyone who works. For home-workers, the problem is two-fold. On the one hand, you can feel like you work all day every day. The computer is always on, the emails always going, and if you’re not careful, then you will turn 6 hours work into a 12-hour day by taking regular procrastination ‘breaks’.
At the same time, working from home represents a challenge when it comes to setting boundaries for loved ones. They may interrupt your work and make noise, and it may be hard to keep work and domestic life separate.
The key here is to set healthy boundaries and make the most of what is perhaps working from home’s greatest asset: your flexibility. If you can find a work pattern that you enjoy but also one that fits around your loved ones, then you are on to a winner.
Working from home can be a splendid lifestyle. It is also one that demands a lot of responsibility. The key is to keep on top of your time and work-life balance, productivity and finances. If you can do so, then it may be a rewarding option for you, but you should always be aware of both sides of any coin.