We’ve all heard this new trend at least once: working from home, working remotely. No more traffic, no more annoying coworkers, working in your PJs, heck working from anywhere as long as you have your laptop. Sounds amazing? It is. And it isn’t. This can be taken a step further when you start traveling the world while working, and you officially become a digital nomad. Today’s post is not about digital nomads. Is about those who just work from home, maybe travel from time to time, but not often enough to be called nomads.
You know a good part of the pros of working from home. But there are also quite a few cons. Don’t worry! They don’t have to be deal breakers if you want to work from home. In this post, I’m gonna walk you through some of the cons I encountered while working from home, and how you can turn them into pros.
Con: It can get lonely really quick
Depending on the current situation in your life, working from home can get lonely really quick. Sure, if you are a mum or if your significant other is working remotely as well, this might not happen. However, the constant staying inside can take its toll on you. Especially if all your other friends are working normal jobs. Maybe you can’t always take lunch breaks to meet with them, so you end up eating on your own. And in the evenings, they might be too tired to go out and they just wanna go lay on the couch at home, leaving you without many options to go out again.
Solution: Join an online group of remote workers
Yes, I know, this doesn’t solve the issue of going out. We’ll get to that later. This, however, will help you beat the loneliness and it will also help you be more motivated. I recently joined such a group (it’s called the Digital Nomad Circle, it’s only for women, and sadly the doors for enrollment are currently closed). It’s been such a game changer! They even organize co-working sprints. In them, we meet on Zoom and have these hours where we are all working (everyone is muted, but the camera is on, so you are less likely to cheat). And every now and then we take planned breaks where we chat, motivate each other or talk about our struggles. There are a few other similar groups, even on Facebook, that you can use to meet fellow remote workers. All you have to do is find them.
Con: It can be hard to be productive when you are alone at home
Let’s face it, working in our PJs is fun. But the house also has a ton of distractions. There’s the TV, then you notice you need to do the laundry, or there’s a new show on Netflix you’ve been dying to watch and since there’s no one around to know, why not watch “just one episode”. The list can go on. Many of us tend to feel more productive when we are with others who are also working. If you live with your significant other, and he or she does the same type of work, the problem is already fixed. But what about when you live on your own? You don’t want to stop working remotely, or maybe you actually have a little business of your own, but not one big enough to actually have an office with employees.
Solution: Find a co-working space in your city
Co-working spaces are getting more and more attention lately. Probably because after the first hype for working from home, more and more people are starting to feel they miss working with others. Co-working spaces are a great solution. You can rent a desk for less of a price than you’d rent an entire office. All you gotta bring is your laptop. You’ll get the chance to meet other freelancers and entrepreneurs like you, make new friends, and stay on track with your work.
Con: It can be hard to form a team with other freelancers
Depending on your line of work, every now and then you might need to work with others. Sure, if you are a writer, editor or a web designer, you might be fine working on your own. But in many areas of work, you’ll need to consult with someone else, get their opinion on your issues, maybe have someone else take a look at what you wrote or get an external opinion on your designs before sending it to the client. Sure, you can find other freelancers. After all, there are so many websites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelance and many more. The downside? You’re gonna have to pay for their services and it might take a while to actually find the right person for you.
Solution: Online groups
Again, we go back to the online communities of freelancers. I would suggest being a member for a while before you start asking favors, especially if you hope to get the second opinion for free. Use the group to find a community first, favors second. I assure you, you can find some long lasting friendships.
Con: You might forget to take a break and end up exhausted
Since you are at home in your comfy clothes, you might forget to take a break or even clock out. It’s tempting to just keep working from the moment you wake up till you go back to bed. I mean, you get so much more done, right? Not necessarily. Eventually, exhaustion will catch up with you. You’ll become less and less efficient as the hours and the days go by.
Solution: Count your working hours as if you were working in an office
Sure, keep the flexibility of starting when you want, how you want. But try to limit yourself at 8 hours a day. You will inevitably have days when you’ll work more, maybe when you want to finish a project or release some new product. Which is fine, as long as you try to compensate as soon as possible – the next day or during the weekend. Reward yourself for your hard work. Even if you are doing what you love most, with no boss dictating how to do it, work is still work. We need to disconnect every now and then in order to be more productive. If you need ideas, check out this article for quick and easy ways to relax when life is crazy.
For introverts, working from home can mean little to no social life
This one is similar to the first con – feeling lonely. Being an introvert myself, I know sometimes it can feel that going to the office is a way to get out of your shell and socialize. I felt that too, and when I gave it up for freelancing I was scared I’d end up completely isolated. However, I quickly realized something interesting: going to the office was draining me, forcing me to a meaningless socialization with people who were not necessarily my friends. I ended tired and I needed to retreat to my cocoon at home as soon as the workday was over.
As soon as I started working home, I realized I needed to find other ways to go out and socialize. Sure, I went out on the weekends with friends, but that’s one day out of seven. The good part: I started looking for meetups with other freelancers and entrepreneurs. I also started going to the gym again and found a yoga studio near me. While working in the office I usually practiced at home, because I didn’t feel like adding another commute to my life. I found myself going out and meeting more people than I ever had while working in an office.
These are some of the cons I’ve encountered working from home. While some of them can take their toll on you – like feeling lonely or working too much – I would not give up my freedom. In October, I will take my journey a step further by going on a retreat with a group of digital nomads. So stay tuned for adventures, tips for preparing for living abroad one month and of course, awesome pictures from Barcelona – the city where I will be living.