Many a working woman wants to work from home, especially if she has elderly relatives or young children to juggle. We hear how great it can be, choosing your own hours and spending time with your family – but is it really all sunshine and flowers?
Whilst working from home has its many benefits, there are also the downsides. Here’s 10 things no one tells you, about working from home.
#1: It can get lonely
This tends to be the top complaint from those new to working from home. There’s no cosy chats around tea break or, for that matter, and for those juggling young children there’s often no adults to talk to at all! It’s often long hours, with just the dog for company. Personally, I don’t find it lonely as I ensure that I am out there networking with like minded business owners either online or offline. Social Media has become my new water cooler.
#2: Your home and work life can become blurred
Boundaries can become a real issue, when you work from home. It’s all too easy, to start answering client calls outside of working hours, or having a day off, because you want to sunbathe in the garden – when you have a client deadline looming.
#3: You answer only to yourself
This one can have a real sting in the tail! It’s great being your own boss – but that also means you need to give yourself a good kick up the rear end, when needed. (Look at the sunbathing scenario in #2…).
#4: There’s no backup plan
You are it. Unless you have a work buddy agreement with someone, there’s no back up if you want to go on holiday or if you’re off sick etc. It is critical that you have the support of an associate VA who you can call upon, should you have the need
#5: Unsteady pay
Unless you have regular, retainer clients, the pay can be really up and down – especially if you’re doing ad-hoc or one-off jobs. On the flip side, you can have higher earnings, if you put in the work now.
#6: The hours can be long
You may pick your ideal working hours, but if you’re not disciplined with your time and workload, you could end up working a lot longer than you originally planned.
#7: There’s no escape…
I know, most of us wanted to work from home, in order to have a better work/life balance. But let’s face it, for those of use with children, there’s only so many times you can tell a little one to ‘go away, as mummy’s working’, without a) pulling your hair out or b) having your heart break. We may love them, but, unless you invest in childcare – there is no escape. At the end of the day, when you leave your desk – your work is still there and its very easy to find yourself at your desk very late into the night or early in the morning, which leads me onto #8!
#8: You may well end up working in your PJs
For many, this is one of the great benefits of working from home – but it doesn’t always enhance your productivity or motivation. A much better option is to treat work time as professional time – and dress accordingly.
#9: The guilt may rise
Spending time with our loved ones is one of the main reasons why we started this working-from-home scenario – but it often leads to more guilt. Your partner may have a day off, when you have a shed-load of work to do, your children may be on holiday, but you still have to work – and this can all lead to increased guilt. (I feel guilty when I pop to the supermarket during the working day!)
#10: It’s harder than it looks
We’ve all had someone say, ‘I’d love to work from home, it must be great’ – and it is! But it also has its downsides. If you want to truly benefit from working at home, you need to be strong and disciplined – with yourself, your time and your family.
As the only boss in your company, you also need to make the tough choices – and sometimes, that may mean investing in childcare, telling your family that “no, you cannot just pop in for a cup of tea when it suits you” or hiring a room, away from home, in order to get your work done in peace!
Read our blog “working from home – the good, the bad and the ugly” – https://www.vact.co.uk/working-home-good-bad-ugly/
Working from home isn’t always sunshine and flowers – but you can make it easier on yourself, if you get clear on your boundaries, right from the outset. If however, you’re currently struggling with any of the above, what plan and changes can you implement now, to turn it around? Please share in the comments box the one thing that you struggle with when it comes to working from home.