Working from home can be a fantastic thing. Many remote workers report being happier at work and some remote employers do report higher that their employees have higher levels of job attrition and satisfaction. It also eliminates some of the things employees do not like about going to the office like dressing up and commuting. However, remote work is not the right choice for everyone. There are some cons of working from home such as fewer chances to socialize. Some remote workers also report more difficulty maintaining a good work-life balance.
Only you can determine if it is the right choice for you or not. Everyone talks about all of the benefits of remote work I personally feel that taking a work-from-home job had a largely positive effect on my life, and it was the right choice for me. However, before you start looking for a remote job, there are some cons that you should know about to know if it is the right choice for you.
Top Cons of Working from Home
1. You Need the Internet
There is no way to get around the need for reliable, high-speed internet when you work from home.
If you live in an area where you cannot get reliable internet service or do not have access to it, telecommuting may not be doable for you. This can be problematic if you live in a rural area that does not have good infrastructure in place.
Additionally, when you telecommute or work from home, you must also have a plan in place in case of inclement weather. If you lose power, you may have to either call off of work, tether your phone to your computer for internet access, or go to another location to work. If you live in a location where you frequently have bad weather, work from home may not be right for you.
2. It Can Be Harder to Have Good Work-Life Balance
When you work from home, you do have to work. One of the hardest things that I have found about working from home is striking a good work-life balance.
As a remote worker, there is even the potential that you may work more than you may have worked in the office. In a study by the University of Iowa and the University of Texas, employees reported that those who telecommute at least part of the time work on average 3 hours more than strictly office-based workers. If your work is in your home office, it may be harder for you to walk away at the end of the day or turn off your computer when there is a deadline looming. It can be easy to hop on the computer for “just a few minutes” when you should be spending time with your family.
If you are someone who has a hard time walking away from work, telecommuting may not be for you. If you are someone who can have healthy boundaries, however, work from home can improve your work-life balance by allowing you to be at home more.
3. Less Interaction With Co-workers
One of the biggest drawbacks of telecommuting is that it can be hard to maintain good relationships with co-workers. As a remote worker, you do lose out on some collaboration opportunities. It also takes more effort to ask quick, on-the-fly questions than it does if you are working in an office. This can make learning on the job a bit more challenging.
Additionally, you also lose out on the daily water cooler talk and lunches with coworkers when you work remotely. This can be hard if you are someone who likes to have some social interaction to break up your day. Working from home can be hard for extroverts.
Sure, you can still keep in touch via Microsoft Teams messages, phone calls, and you may have meetings together, but it is not quite the same as going into the office every day.
As a remote worker, you have to make more of an effort to maintain a social relationship with coworkers. You can video chat, IM throughout the day, or can even meet up outside or work or arrange happy hours. You can have as much interaction as you want, but the onus is more on you to make it happen which can be hard for some people. However, work from home can be a net positive for your social life if you use the time you are saving by not commuting to do what you enjoy with other people instead.
4. Home Office Costs
As a remote worker, you do unfortunately have to absorb some of the costs of working remotely. This is one of the cons of working from home because you, unfortunately, cannot really get around it.
Most companies will provide things like computers, tablets, and even a work phone if needed. However, they do not provide everything that you will need. For example, if you want to set up a home office, you will have to pay to outfit and decorate it. This can include things like the desk itself, the chair, and the organization tools you need to improve your space. These costs can potentially add up.
Additionally, your electric bill and other utility costs may also increase as you will be home more frequently during the day.
5. More Distractions
One of the biggest cons of working from home can be the distractions.
When you are at home, you have all of your own entertainment devices handy, you may have your family at home, and your pets. You may also have a to-do list of chores around the house that may tempt you during your workday. These can be distracting and can cause you to lose productivity if you are not careful.
When you are working from home, you will need to be able to motivate yourself to overcome the distractions and know how to tune them out. I personally listen to podcasts to tune out some of the background noises at my house, but you will have to learn what works for you. I also prefer to work early in the morning when there are fewer distractions going on at home. As a work-from-home employee, the onus is more on you to be productive and know how to self-motivate.
6. It Can Be Harder On Your Health
Remote work can have a lot of health benefits. For example, it can reduce your overall stress levels and make you happier at your job. Overall, this can decrease your overall mental load.
However, it can be harder on your health in some ways. For example, some people rely on their daily commute to exercise. As a work-from-home employee, fortunately, you can skip the commute. However, if you were someone who previously walked or biked to work, you could be missing out on some of your previous exercise time. Luckily, you can make this up and instead walk or bike around your neighborhood during what was previously your commute time or during your lunch break. It is something though that you do have to make more effort to do.
Additionally, the strain of being more socially isolated during work hours can be mentally straining for some people.
7. The Reputation
Like it or not, work from home does sometimes have a bad reputation to some people.
It is not necessarily deserved as it is work. However, you may have some people that will think as a remote employee that you are not working. They may also think that your job is easy because you are at home. You may also have some people that will think that you can take off 2 hours in the middle of a workday because you are at home. Or, you may have a spouse that thinks that you can do all of the household chores during work hours.
To combat this, you will have to be someone that can have some strong boundaries around your work life and make sure that those close to you know that you are working and not to be bothered.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of pros and cons of working from home. You need to weigh the positives and negatives of working from home for yourself and decide if it is right for you or not. Working from home may be right for you if you are:
- Can motivate yourself
- Like to work with less supervision
- Can work on your own or create your own social life
Overall, working from home can be a wonderful thing for the right person. If you think that you are one of those people, check out these tips for finding a legit remote job.