September 29, 2011

Why Working From Home May Not Work For You

published this at 12:43 pm

A Guest Post by
Rachel Carlson


Work Sweet Work?

Ah, the dream of working from home. So many perks – not having to get up early, no commute, no annoying co-workers, eating from your own fridge, break whenever you want, keep an eye on your kids – you don’t even have to get dressed if you don’t want to. Unless you’re one of the “lucky” people who actually have this privilege (between 2.8 and 44.4 million people in the U.S. work from home depending on who you ask), you’re probably reading this from a cubicle and dreaming of “freedom.” But hold on – working from home isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. I’ve been working from home for several years now, and I can tell you that it’s definitely not for everyone. Let’s start with the biggest hurdle…


People who work from home don’t have a traditional boss looking over their shoulder. A freelance writer, for example, probably doesn’t have any boss at all. A medical biller probably has a boss, but the boss isn’t physically in the room, checking to see if work is being completed. This sounds great at first, but it really leads to a pressing question: do you have the motivation and focus to accomplish what you need to do? Remember that you’re on your computer – will you really write that report, or will you spend three hours watching YouTube videos? Even if you think you’re motivated, other little things can add up – by the time you’ve checked your email, looked at your social networks, poured a cup of coffee, taken the dog out, searched for your keys, made a trip to the grocery store, and taken the dog out again, you suddenly realize you’ve lost two hours.

So, be honest with yourself – some people need a standard work environment to get things done. To help you decide if this applies to you, ask yourself these questions:

Of course, these things can be overcome. In the past, I checked my email constantly while trying to get things done. But creating a schedule, logging out of email and social networks, creating a designated workspace, and setting goals for each day has helped immensely. Just be sure you’re absolutely ready to take the plunge.

Hidden Costs

Cutting out the cost of a commute can be a huge financial relief, but working from home will cause you to spend more money on certain things:

Of course, some companies will pay for some of these expenses. But if you’re freelancing, you’re on your own. So, if you’re considering working from home, be sure to weigh these costs against your current situation – and write off what you can at tax time.

Physical and Mental Health

As mentioned earlier, it’s dangerous to just sit around all day. Your current job might at least require you to move to other areas of the office now and then – maybe some stairs are even involved. Chances are, however, that you’ll be moving a lot less when you start working from home. Maybe this won’t bother you, but if you’re health-conscious, you’ll definitely want to consider this aspect of the job.

Finally, think about this statement: when you’re at home, you’re at work. This still weighs on my mind sometimes. While many office workers take their work home, it can still be nice to go to a physically different and comforting place at the end of the day. “Work-from-homers” have much less separation. If you tend to worry a lot about deadlines, or if unfinished work really bothers you, working from home might not be for you. You may find yourself constantly thinking, “I should be working right now.” So, be sure you can seriously separate work from your personal life – even if they both occur in the same place.

Author’s Bio:
Rachel Carlson is a writer and student that works from home. While she spends a lot of her time writing, she also helps different companies like Clear Wireless with gaining exposure through various blogs and websites. She has recently started a new Twitter account and is finally going to give it a real shot. She can be followed at @carlson_rachel.

Thanks, Rachel. It takes a clear mind and focus to get out a blog post about distractions. Great job! :)

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!

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3 Comments to “Why Working From Home May Not Work For You”

  1. October 1st, 2011 at 8:34 pm
    Typical Work From Home Problems said

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  2. October 3rd, 2011 at 9:37 am
    Pattie said

    Another hidden cost I discovered when I started working from home was that I went through toilet paper more. It’s not something you realize right away but if you’re going to be home all the time, definitely go ahead and buy that giant 48 pack of double roll…

  3. October 7th, 2011 at 2:34 am
    Shyxter said

    Hi, Rachel. Thanks for sharing this. I can relate to this very much and what you have said are all true. A few months ago, I gave up my job to become work from home. With all the stress and office politics going on at the office, I dreamed of working from the comforts of my own home. At first, I thought it was the best job but it’s not really as easy as I thought it was.

    I would like to specifically comment about physical and mental health. Because working from home made me just sit all day, I’ve had this problem with my blood circulation so I had a short stint at the hospital. And it’s true that it’s hard to separate personal life and career when you do both in the same place. W

    Working from home takes a lot of self-discipline and concentration. I am still coping with everything but I hope I can adapt better in the months to come.

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