Why Working From Home May Not Be All Fun And Games

Working From Home

With the freelance market booming, there are more and more people either wishing to, or working from home. Combine this with the flexibility certain companies offer, working from home is not such an irregular thing as it used to be.

But in all honesty, working from home has its own share of struggles that working in an office or set location do not have. In the end of the day, taking everything into consideration is best before deciding where to work from is key to living a stress free life.

Today we will be focusing on why working from home is not as ideal as people make it out to be, and list a few reasons why perhaps that office job is not as bad as you might think.

Social Impact

Working from home personally, I can easily make a list of the cons working from home has. One of the key negatives is the social aspect (or lack thereof) that might impact someone. For starters, lacking the social interaction with your co-workers may often lead to feelings of being left out, or even being conspired on by your co-workers.

Harvared Business Review reports that stress related to feelings of being left out, ignored and have a harder time resolving any social conflicts that might arise. As the article states "We polled 1,153 employees, and 52% said they work, at least some of the time, from their home office. And when they do, many feel their colleagues don’t treat them equally. Remote employees are more likely to report feeling that colleagues mistreat them and leave them out. Specifically, they worry that coworkers say bad things behind their backs, make changes to projects without telling them in advance, lobby against them, and don’t fight for their priorities."

And one can argue that this has merit. Working in the same space with people means that communication is easy, and when working on the same project, it stands to reason that sometimes you might get carried away in the "heat of being in the zone" and forget you have another person working remotely. Hell, sometimes you might just subtly push them aside because "Well we do X and we can just tell him to do Y". Physical presence is still an important part of workplace politics and working remotely does not help.

Another issue is trust. As said perfectly by a post by the hubstaff blog"Reliability is a problem for some co-located teams, but when you remove the manager’s presence things can turn catastrophic. What happens when you pay a remote worker a retainer and they never send you the work? How do you know your remote worker actually wrote that blog post instead of plagiarizing it off the Internet?"

This in combination with the above issues may lead to difficulties establishing or building a team spirit. Add to that, the fact that your remote worker might be of a different culture (literally), then fostering a common business culture and team spirit seems to be almost impossible.

Internal Stress

Another issue is that coping with stress is way harder when working from home. For starters, since your home IS your office, it becomes harder to "Switch off" work and relax, since you are always in a state of "ready to work if need be". This becomes worse by the fact that working from home is, undoubtedly, a lonely experience.

Another excellent point was made by TheConversation.com. The article reads: "Being unable to report being stressed (or being uncomfortable doing so), is detrimental as pressure will eventually outweigh an individual’s ability to cope over time. In contrast, one recent study found that colleagues who spend just 15 minutes socialising and sharing their feelings of stress had a 20% increase in performance." (Left the link there, because its a good read as well).

In my opinion, the isolation of working from home, and often the lack of proper communication for various reasons, only reinforces the social problems raised above, resulting into most people either not taking remote work seriously, or do not view their work to be serious when working remotely.

What I mean by that is that often, you see that people who work from their home are a lot more likely to just go from one job to another, since all of the above may lead them to not feeling any attachment to their job.

The problem however, is that sometimes, because your employers may be aware of this, may react by upping the pressure, wanting you to deliver more/faster/w.e out of either a fear that you will simply just leave without saying anything, or simply take the money and not deliver on their expectations. This only creates more stress and magnifies the above, which, though not something that happens often, is something that does pop up in research.

Ultimately, the balancesmd in their article listing the pros and cons of living remotely said it best: "Only you can decide if working from home is right for your small business. Along with considering the pros and cons outlined here, you also need to consider the type of work that you do, whether to not you will have access to the equipment you need to do your job, your home situation, and your personal character traits. By analyzing these factors, you can make a decision that will work for your business."

Final Thoughts

Though there are many more issues that have not been directly addressed here, like being overlooked, feelings of not working as much as you "should" etc, they -have- been mentioned in other articles.

From personal experience I do believe that working from home has a lot more negatives than people give it credit for, and I do think its time people start taking working from home seriously and finding ways to make working from home better, less stressful and as rewarding as it would be working in an office.

With flexibility and remote working being tossed around willy nilly by everyone in work ever, I think its best to learn, adapt and improve before you offer or ask something you are not willing to provide, both as an employee and a company

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