5 Reasons Why You Hate (or Love) Working from Home
Many freelancers and (starting) entrepreneurs work from home. Working from home is part of the perceived freedom of entrepreneurship. It means getting up whenever you want and working whenever you want. You can have breaks whenever you want and end the workday whenever you want. However, working from home can also be detrimental to your work and your mental health.
According to recent research by Leadership IQ, only 24% of people who work in an office say they love their jobs, but 38% of mobile workers and 45% of telecommuting workers love their jobs. Still, if you search for things people hate about working from home, you will find many, many sources as well.
This blog assesses 5 characteristics of working from home, which can be advantageous as well as disadvantageous. See for yourself if working from home is something for you.
1. Working from home, flexibility does not equal freedom
Working from home, you have hundreds of bosses each year rather than just one. As I said in The Top 10 Things People Dislike About Being a Freelancer, the client is the one to decide when you are working. They are the ones who set the deadlines and can make changes at the last minute. They are the ones who decide when they need an answer from you. If you are not available most of the time, you risk losing repeat customers.
Even though you have hundreds of bosses, not one of them is standing over you, making sure you are working on their project rather than playing Jelly Splash or Candy Crush. You can pick your own projects and your own clients. As a result, you are always working on something you like and you can avoid people you hate working with.
Then again, without that boss watching your every move, you may just play mobile games all day.
2. Working from home, you need to be focused and you need to be able to organize and prioritize things
This leads me to the next point. “You will procrastinate because you can,” says Herbert Lui, Creative Director of Wonder Shuttle. We all know procrastination is devastating, but with the privacy and comfort of your home, it is challenging not to procrastinate. According to designer Jack Cheng, we naturally find it easier to do the same things in the same environments.
As I said in The Top 10 Things People Dislike About Being a Freelancer, it is not multitasking when you are being pulled away from the real work. Do not answer your personal email or social-networking messages in the background of your project. You are running a one-man/one-woman show, so you have to be well-organized to cover all aspects of your business. Sometimes, you even have to work on multiple projects at varying levels of each project, so make sure you know how to prioritize and organize tasks.
3. Working from home, there is no separation between work and your personal life
You do not have regular working hours or a distinct work location. Today you will work from a desk, tomorrow you will work from your couch, and the day after that, you will pick the dinner table. Who knows, you might wake up in the middle of the night and grab your laptop to do some research on that new idea you have.
As you can read in The Top 10 Things People Dislike About Being a Freelancer, work is where your laptop is, and you can start at any time of the day (or night). With your home as your office and your office as your home, any problem you face in either your personal life or work life might significantly affect the other. Do not forget, you are already at work the moment you wake up!
4. Working from home, life can be pretty lonely
Most people have their work as the primary source for social activities. We spend more than 8 hours a day at work, so this trend is not strange. Working from home, however, you can feel pretty lonely and isolated. It is good to maintain good social support outside of your work.
There is way less human contact, Lui warns. When you work from home, you run the risk of living in an extremely small bubble. You control so many variables (e.g., environment, who is around, etc.). If you work with obnoxious team members, this sounds great, but if you like the people you work with, you are going to miss them.
When you are isolated, you also have fewer unexpected moments, which means fewer happy accidents. In a recent Regus survey, 62% of respondents who worked from home feel they are getting stale, 38% responded that they got lonely, and 64% miss mixing with other professionals.
5. Working from home, you do not have to dress up for anyone
Not dressing up sounds great, right? As Makeup Files blogger Trisha Bartle says, “Pajamas with little unicorns on them? Great! Fuzzy slippers? Awesome! When you work from home, you can wear just about anything.”
If you wonder why you feel so sluggish and cannot get anything done, your outfit might be the problem. Fashion influences how we feel. Psychologists Adam and Galinsky explored how clothing affected the way we think in their paper Enclothed cognition for the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. For instance, in one of their experiments, they had respondents put on a white coat belonging to a doctor. They noticed the cloak had a positive correlation with students’ abilities to pay attention.
Update 8/29/2019: Enclothed cognition is no longer online, link removed.
Clothes can affect how we feel about ourselves and our work
Business psychologist Helen Fisher agrees with the statement that clothes can affect how we feel about ourselves and our work. She explains that there are links between our emotions, actions, and beliefs. “If you wake up feeling bad and put on clothes that reflect that, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you put on something that raises your game, it will have a subtle effect on how you feel, think, and behave.”
We match other people’s body language, voice, and words, says Fisher. “We match our clothes in the same way, which is why it is important to look the part. If you have spent months in a tracksuit, and then have to wear a suit to an important meeting, you might feel uncomfortable. That will affect your performance.” Fisher recommends developing your own “work uniform” or a signature look. That way, you make sure you are always wearing clothes that help you feel professional and portray the right kind of image for your business.
Working from home
I have found a comic site that explains perfectly how some people may feel about working from home. It is a page from The Oatmeal called Why working from home is both awesome and horrible. You can even order a poster with the hilarious comics.
Working from home has to suit you. You need to be able to handle freedom and set boundaries. You need to prioritize work and take breaks (but not too many). It is wise to embrace solitude and take care of your personal life. Meet friends and family regularly. If you can, working from home is great. If you cannot, an office job or working at a shared office space may be your thing.
If you want tips on how not to procrastinate, I have a reading tip for you. My blog Freelancers! Top 13 Tips to Get Work Done Faster lists 13 tips I have found to get work done faster. If we get work done faster while offering the same quality, we can take on more jobs. That leads to a bigger income. I think we all welcome that. There are 9 tips you can use during work hours. In addition, there are 4 tips you can use after or before work hours.
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