Some would say that the ability to work from home is a perfect solution to work/life balance while others, who actually work from home, might tell you otherwise. There is no denying the benefits of being able to work a flexible schedule. However there are several pitfalls, as well. In this last article of the series, we look at some drawbacks and how to avoid them.
There are several reasons why one would prefer to work from home as opposed to commuting to the office every morning. People with families are afforded a flexible schedule, allowing them to attend to children. Not being tied to an office gives you opportunity to consult with clients that are outside your immediate area. While some people just feel more productive in a non-traditional work space. All of these are valid reasons to embrace working remotely, but attention should be paid to the possible drawbacks, as well.
Not Having a Dedicated Office – The first thing that should be established when working from home is having a work space. Ideally, you should have a separate room with a door, which will give you the privacy you might need at times. Using the kitchen table, or any room in the house that is a shared area, blurs the lines of work life and home life.
Not Establishing a Routine – This does not mean that every day has to be exactly the same but you should set a schedule for a week or two at a time. Without a schedule, it is too easy to sleep a little longer or start a little later and before you know it, you’ve developed habits that are keeping your productivity to a minimum.
Maintain Your Focus – Let’s face it, your home can turn into a virtual amusement park with all the distractions there are. It can be hard to stay focused when you realize the dishwasher needs to be emptied, the laundry needs to be done or your favorite show is on tv. The same way that establishing a work routine is important, so is establishing a break routine. Be sure to incorporate set break times into your working schedule so you don’t find yourself taking more and more of them during the day.
Lack of Social Interaction – While some may crave the solitude and quiet of being alone, having nothing but virtual interactions can really wear on you, mentally. Setting up occasional lunch or dinner dates with your co-workers is a great way to stay up to date with the office happenings while you work from home. Setting a cutoff time for your work is also imperative to maintain your personal social life. While being accessible to work is an important part of working remotely, boundaries need to be drawn.
With the technology available to us, working from home is more common than ever before. Employees have the freedom to set their schedules and work in a way that fits them best. Don’t let the pitfalls of working remotely deter you from giving it a try. Just be mindful of them and know how to avoid them before you start.