I love working at home. It would take a lot to get me working outside the home again. I have to say, however, that there are disadvantages, sometimes big ones. Some depend on whether you have a work at home job or a home business, but no matter how you look at it, it’s not always ideal.
1. You aren’t where managers can see you.
Management is usually most comfortable when they can see you working. If most of your coworkers are in an office, and you work at home, managers may perceive you as less productive, even though on average telecommuters are more productive. If you’re hoping to get promoted someday, this lack of visibility in the office can be a huge disadvantage.
Many people eventually have to give up working at home because they can’t cope with the distractions. Kids, television, internet, housework, friends… it’s a learning curve that not everyone navigates successfully.
3. Less social time with other adults.
Working at home can be lonely. You don’t have coworkers right by you. There are fewer opportunities to just chat. You can chat with friends online, of course, but that too quickly falls into major distraction time and really hits you in the productivity zone. Most people don’t find that to be quite the same as face to face “just chatting” time anyhow.
4. Too easy to overwork.
When you work at home, your work is there. All. The. Time. It’s too easy to work more hours than you should. You might work during the day, then get “just a little more” work done in the evenings too often.
Of course, this can happen with work you bring home with you from an office job too.
A lot of work at home jobs don’t come with benefits. Some do. If you have your own business, it’s up to you to provide any benefits. If no one else in your family is providing benefits, this can be a big deal. If you want to retire someday, it’s also a big deal, since you will probably have to manage your own retirement savings.
6. How others see you.
Some people still assume that any sort of working at home is strongly akin to goofing off. It’s not just managers. It’s friends and family. You have to teach them to take your work seriously.
7. Flexible hours.
Yes, these are also an advantage, but if you aren’t careful, those flexible hours can destroy your success. Enjoy the flexibility, but remember you still have to get the work done.
8. Cabin fever.
When you work at home, you will sometimes feel as though you’re home all the time. It’s not a good feeling. Make sure you get out sometimes, especially when you’re not working.
9. Equipment problems are your problem.
Power goes out, internet goes down, computer crashes, it’s all on you. Even if you have a deadline. You need to know how you’ll handle it when things go wrong.