In theory, working from home should be blissful—stay in your pajamas, take care of housework on your breaks, and enjoy some quality “me” time. Sounds nice. But in practice, all those hours alone can start to feel like solitary confinement. Even if you’re comfortable with it, you’re still cutting yourself off from personal growth and professional opportunities.
We’re always excited when a worker decides to go remote, and we encourage more people to do so. However, telecommuting doesn’t mean you should work from home, and here’s why:
1. You’ll Get Distracted
If you’re working remotely with kids at home, your productivity is going to plummet like a cup of peas from a high chair. Add a pet into the mix, and you’ll find it exceedingly difficult to keep any train of thought on its tracks.
And a lot of things look like they’ll “only take five minutes.” You’ll quickly become hyper-aware of every nagging chore in your house. The dishwasher still needs to be unloaded, the laundry folded, the couch pillows fluffed, the kitchen floor mopped, that light-bulb changed. Good luck telling your boss you missed your deadline because you were doing a load of whites.
2. You’ll Work Hard, Play… At the Same Time?
If you have to hit deadlines, you can inadvertently place yourself behind the eight ball on a daily basis. That’s because every distraction chips away at your focus and productivity. Slowly the days get longer, and you’re working right until dinner, and not too long after you’ll be working after dinner, too. So, while it can be liberating to set your own hours, it can also feel suffocating because you’re always “at work.”
3. You’ll Be Missing Out on Growth Opportunities
According to Virgin.com, 95% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. When you’re only communicating with people digitally, you’re missing out on fostering meaningful connections with other professionals. Swapping out your pajama pants for a pair of slacks to leave the house is probably a good idea.
4. You’ll Never Get to Collaborate
Some of the best ideas come from experiencing the energy in the room, which of course, radiates from the people in the room. The quality, quantity, and variety of ideas all improve with face-to-face conversations.
It’s also helpful to walk away from a problem and run into someone who may offer a solution. That’s somewhat hard to do at a traditional coffee shop or a library. It’s also why remote workers should consider joining a coworking space where convening places like lounges and lunch rooms facilitate brainstorming sessions with other professionals. You’d be amazed at how many meaningful ideas evolve over a cup of java.
5. You’ll Drive Your Significant Other Insane
When you’re having a bad day “at work,” that stress bleeds into the environment of the household. If you have kids and/or a significant other around, you’re more apt to bring everyone else down with you. Additionally, the blurred lines between work and home life make it difficult to forget about your job when quitting time comes around. Creating a physical distinction between work and home helps you leave work at work and opens up more opportunities to focus on the people you love.
Find Yourself Some Space
The opportunity to work from home can appear to be the jackpot of work settings, but for many people, it loses its luster after awhile. If you’re one of those individuals, find yourself a space that separates your work and home life.
But where is a remote worker to go when their corporate office is hundreds of miles away? The library can be a good choice, or perhaps a local cafe. Or, you could get the caffeinated qualities of a café, the accumulated knowledge of a library, and the vibes of a startup by becoming a member of a coworking space.