The Unexpected Disadvantages of Remote Working

Time for a guest blog post…

A freelance blogger with a strong work ethic, Angelita Williams lives for scooping the next big story. She grew up idolising the women in journalism who paved the way for future generations, so that people like her could make a living by writing current events. Angelita has traveled around many parts of the US honing her skills as a writer and storyteller. Among her preferred topics of writing are online learning, distance courses, and the growing trend of mobile education. If you have any comments or questions, you can reach Angelita at angelita.williams7@gmail.com.

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Working from home: it’s the holy grail of employment situations for many people who wish they had an alternative to sitting at a dreary desk from 8-5. The idea of getting paid to do work from the comfort of your home, to make a living without ever donning an dress shirt or a blouse is quite literally a fantasy for millions of office workers.

There’s no doubt that working from home lends itself to a more flexible and free working environment compared to most office jobs. But there are limitations, and there are disadvantages to working from home that most people don’t consider when they visualize doing their work from their bed or from their living room. As someone who has often worked remotely in her career, I can attest to the trials and tribulations that accompany a work from home lifestyle.

Allow me to inject some reality into the fantasy of remote working by explaining some of the disadvantages that go along with it.

Domestic distractions

It’s hard to get (too) distracted in an office. Sure, you can “accidentally” surf the web for an hour, but beyond the temptation of music blogs and checking out the latest posts on your Tumblr, there’s not much to prevent you from working at a traditional office.

Do you get distracted by housework?

It’s an entirely different story when you’re working at your house. You won’t believe the number of tasks you’ll try to take on if it means prolonging your workday for a single minute. From my own experience, I’ve done the laundry, cooked a meal, finished painting a wall in my guest room (really) and taken any number of too long lunch breaks.

When you’re home, it’s easy to excuse anything that distracts you from work as worthwhile because you can chalk it up to a chore that needed doing anyway. But the fact of the matter is that you’re at home to work, not to check off things from your housework to-do list, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that.

Your office is your home

There’s something to be said about the distance between traditional office work and your home. At a typical desk job, you get up, get ready, commute to the office, do your work, and go home. When you’re working from home, you get up and start working right there. While remote working cuts down the time it takes for you to get ready for work, it also eliminates the separate space reserved for doing that work. If you don’t take your work to a coffee shop or some outside venue, you could risk spending the majority of your days in your own house.

It can be a problem when work and home share the same space. In a sense, there’s no escaping the immediacy of your work. At a desk job you go home on a Friday and (typically) don’t think about work until you get back the following Monday. When you work from home, projects and imposing deadlines can sneak up on you all the time, because you don’t have a separate space to compartmentalize your work life.

Overworking or not working enough

Finally, working from home can complicate your perception of an adequate workload. Some people take the freedoms of working from home to pour themselves into their work, finishing projects and writing material at a much faster clip than they did at their office jobs. But without the traditional boundaries set in place at a workplace (everyone leaving the office at 5, lunch breaks, etc.), these same hard working remote employees could overwork themselves just because they can. There’s no one around to stop them, and so they work for much longer than they should.

Of course the opposite scenario could also occur. With all the built in distractions of working from home, it’s easy to imagine the unmotivated remote working watching a few movies during office hours, or surfing the web for the entire day. Without a supervisor to, well, supervise them, undisciplined remote workers might fall behind in their quotas or on deadlines, and risk their jobs in the process.

Do you work from home? If so, what disadvantages have you encountered while doing so?

One thought on “The Unexpected Disadvantages of Remote Working

  1. A small but significant disadvantage of working from home is having to make all my own drinks! I’m not anyone’s tea round…

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