When you’re working from an office 40-50 hours a week and battling unpleasant daily commutes, the grass will no doubt look greener on the other side. What if you didn’t have to rush to the train station, sit through traffic, listen to that awful music coming from the cubicle next to you, or walk into the breakroom to find that someone had the nerve to bring fish for lunch — again? Your list of grievances is long, and on a particularly rough day, it’s nice to daydream about working from home.
But is working from home really as awesome as it’s cracked up to be? That all depends on who you ask. Just like everything else in life, telecommuting has its pros and cons. So, to help you put things in perspective, here are six horrible things no one tells you about working from home.
Everyone thinks you’re living the dream
When you work from home, it would probably appear to everyone in your immediate circle that you are, in fact, living the dream. As far as everyone is concerned, you can get up when you want, work in your pajamas, there are no interruptions, and there is no stress.
Coming from someone who has been working from home for some time, none of the above is true.
You can’t get up when you want, especially if there’s a family to tend to and kids to get off to school. Working in your pajamas would present a direct conflict to your productivity, and truth be told, sometimes you’ll just want to slip on a pair of pretty heels or actual pants to feel human again.
The absence of interruptions loosely translates to no human interaction for the better part of the day. Frankly, it can get pretty lonely in your ivory tower, and no dog isn’t emotionally equipped to handle that kind of attention.
And finally, when you’re working from home, there is plenty of stress. After all, it’s still work, and you are required to hold up your end of the bargain. At the end of the day (literally), the burden of proof is on you to prove that you are a valuable employee.
Household chores fall on you
On weekday mornings, kids and spouses are usually getting themselves together for the day ahead, the house is abuzz with activity, and everyone is out the door by 8 AM.
Indubitably, when you close the door and turn around, there’s a sink full of breakfast dishes staring back at you, the hamper is overflowing, and who’s making dinner tonight? Sorry to say you’re home, so that’s all you, my friend.
Work-life balance is pretty elusive
It’s pretty easy to distinguish your work life from your home life in a traditional office setting. At the end of the day, you flip off the lights, you leave said office and commute home, and that’s that. For the most part, no one expects anything beyond your 9-5.
However, those lines quickly become blurred when you work from home, particularly if you don’t expressly communicate to others what your working hours are. The unfortunate truth is the moment you answer an email after 5 PM, you set a precedent that’s hard to retract. Moreover, if you’re working from your couch or your bed, where would you go to relax at the end of the day?
Productivity is a daily battle
Staying focused and productive is difficult, and that’s probably the understatement of the year.
With no one popping into your office or peeking over your shoulder, it’s easy to give in to the temptation and to do a little online shopping or check in on your social accounts. And, of course, once you open your browser (for a quick look), it becomes exponentially harder to fight that burning desire to get to the end of the internet — and there goes your day. Before you know it, it’s 5:00, and if you don’t have a good explanation, you’ll probably be burning the midnight oil.
Sick days and workdays are one and the same
Another unfortunate truth about working from home is that sick days and workdays tend to look alike. If you worked in an office, and you’re feeling a bit under the weather, it stands to reason that you won’t be able to handle a commute, and of course, you don’t want to bring whatever you have into work and possibly wipe out the whole 7th floor. But when you work from home, the expectation is that you can power through. You’re already on the couch right, so what’s a couple of emails and few tweaks to a quarterly report?
Social media is considered office drama
Working from home can feel utterly isolating. Even if you thought you had it with people (and that one guy in accounting), the truth is you’ll probably end up missing the interaction, impromptu meetings, and chatting with your co-workers. When you’re working from home, you’re essentially missing out on the social aspect of work. Sure, there are ways to reach out, like Skype, Zoom, and Facetime, but it’s really not the same.
Moreover, regardless of how you feel about office drama, you have to admit it can be a little entertaining; who doesn’t appreciate a good piece of office gossip from time to time, right? Of course, if you have a Rear Window kind of thing happening in your neighborhood, that might be interesting, but generally speaking, the suburbs aren’t that exciting.