Flexible schedule, no formal dressing required (read: work in your most comfortable, fluffiest pajamas). These are the perks of being a home-based professional. Sounds heavenly, right?
But then there’s a darker side to the work-from-home model: no boundaries between personal and work life, increased loneliness, and limited social interaction. Not to mention that staying productive can be a real challenge with so many distractions and the freedom of being your own boss.
So let’s look what the real picture behind home-based work is.
The good stuff
Be your own boss
People fed up with crazy, workaholic, perfectionist bosses find home-based work a heaven. As a work-from-home professional, you are in full control of your schedule, who you choose to work with, what time and when to work.
This increased flexibility and freedom is something cubicle-bound workers can only dream of. The freedom and control over your schedule, clients and work model means you have more peace of mind and are able to be more productive and creative. There’s no fretting over toxic colleagues or ungrateful bosses either!
No coffee line
Apart from the obvious perks of walking to your office (which could be a room away from your bedroom) there’s the extra benefit of not having to deal with commute time, people cutting you off in the coffee line, having to wear a suit and tie, and other typical stresses associated with what’s socially acceptable in a work environment.
From social banter to after-work get-togethers for beers and dinner, office workers deal with a range of distractions. While uninspiring gray cubicles might be the bosses’ answer to distractions, they can drain the last drop of happiness out of the people who have to work in them.
Working from home is dramatically different. You get to create your ideal office space that overflows with inspiration for a full-speed-ahead, productive, and creative work day. No bubbly colleagues you cannot say no to, no intra-office emails making the rounds and pressing you to answer instantly. Home-based work is focused work!
The bad stuff
Social skill deterioration
People who work from home often complain of loneliness. Too much isolation can have a negative impact on both your health and your productivity. Social banter might not be so bad after all; it has the potential to remove stress, and takes your mind off boring, repetitive tasks, even if only for a while.
Working from home also may mean you keep doing the same things over and over again and have nothing new or exciting to share with your friends, because during work time, not much really happens. It’s just you. And maybe your cat(s).
It’s easy to cross the line between work and personal life when you work at home. Being in charge of your regimen means you can work after 8pm or as early as 5am. But this can lead to a vicious circle of pulling all-nighters which can have its toll on your well-being. This relatively unlimited freedom means you can abuse it in ways that harm yourself and your career.
Also, people tend to consider home jobs as inferior to an office-bound one. What’s more, if you’re at home all of the time, you may get stuck with the home-based chores as well. “You’re home anyway, honey, why don’t you get our week’s shopping done?”
Working from home might negatively impact your relationship. The lack of social interaction may affect your relationship with your significant other, and making your home your entire world can make a relationship stagnate. The good news is that you can offset this by taking on more hobbies and activities outside the house.
If you consider changing your work model, either going with the home-based model or jumping onto the office bandwagon, we’ve given you some parameters you’d better consider before making your decision. And remember that no matter what work model you choose, certain skills like touch typing and time management are essential. Good luck!
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