There are a lot of reasons you decided to work at home.
All those reasons sounded like wonderful solutions to the problems of working outside the home; commuting, childcare, and restrictive schedules, extra costs for clothes, etc.
You now have your home office set up and you’re enjoying the good life and all the benefits of working at home. Except that…
Benefits Can Become Work at Home Pitfalls
Some of the benefits morphed into problems!
And now, they are messing with your ability to work at home effectively.
Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that work at home assets can turn into liabilities, and how to correct it.
I Can Spend More Time With My Family
Skipping the commute and time at work for a day at home with the kids, spouse, and pets is a common reason work at home. Everyone is happy you’re right there in your office, close at hand, all day long, accessible at the drop of a hat.
The problem is you don’t get any work done. You are just steps away from everyone’s wants and needs, so why wouldn’t they call on you?
The solution is to set up boundaries and schedules. You have to treat your workday as if you were gone from the house. Schedule in playtime, as well, and you will enjoy that extra time with the family that you wanted.
I Can Get Housework Done While I Work
If you worked outside the home for any amount of time, you’ll remember how much you disliked having to spend your evenings and weekends doing household chores. Now that you’re working at home, you can easily get those chores done during the day.
The problem made by this benefit of working at home is you lose focus rather quickly. On the way down the hall you pick up the laundry.
Then as you head to the laundry room, you see dishes in the sink. Each little chore will end up growing into larger chores if you allow it.
You end up spending time on chores when you had planned to be working.
Instead, choose an hour during your day to catch up on a few things that would have otherwise waited until you arrived home at night after work.
Your evenings are free, like you wanted, and the housework gets done.
Better yet, share the housekeeping responsibilities with your husband and kids. My husband and I share all the chores around the house and now that our son is almost 3 he has started helping out too.
The more everyone takes responsibility for their home the better. It’s everyone’s mess, so the cleaning shouldn’t fall on just one person.
I Can Work When I Want And How I Want
The image of pajama-clad work at home folks is not that far-fetched. Many people like the idea of getting the kids off to school and spouse off to work, then getting cozy with another cup of coffee and snuggling on the couch with their laptop, answering emails and starting their workday.
Unfortunately, this lovely scenario has a way of backfiring. When you’re in this cozy mode, we can lose track of time. Reading emails and checking social media feeds can eat up time quickly. The day disappears and you’re still in your pj’s with deadlines are looming.
Now you are stuck working into the night trying to get things done. This is not the ‘when and how’ you planned. In order to make this benefit work is to, again, set a schedule. Treat your workday like, well, a workday by punching a time-clock you create for yourself. Get ready, get dressed, and get to work.
While there’s always that attraction to getting to work in pj’s, there is a mindset attached to it. Instead of making you more productive, you end up working at a slower, lazy pace.
Your body is in the chair but your head is still in “I’m ready for bed” mode. Additionally, you start to feel frumpy and unkempt pretty quickly.
And that is another pitfall that can make you start to dislike working at home quickly. There’s nothing wrong with wearing comfortable clothes when you work at home, just don’t let it be the same thing you were wearing last night to bed and the night before that!
I Can Have My Own Peaceful Little Office
Having your own space after perhaps sharing desks or cubbies with other workers sounds like a nice thought. No more office politics, gossiping, or stress. Right? Just the peace and quiet of your own keyboard clicking away.
Sadly, too much peace and quiet can make some people feel lonely and isolated. You begin to miss the chats with co-workers in the breakroom.
The solution is to create a similar circle of co-workers in your work at home situation. Reach out to people in the same type of work, either through professional groups or social media.
Find forums that are engaging and purposeful. And don’t forget to wander out of the house routinely to meet up with friends for some face-to-face fellowship.
Just be careful to limit how much time you spend doing this. It’s too easy to use up your day networking online with others.
There appears to be a common thread among people who work at home. Most work-at-home folks say they chose this career path for family, convenience, and for a more relaxing work environment.
All these benefits of working from home are possible to achieve, but they each have pitfalls, which are avoidable once you recognize the risks.