Every story has two sides. I’ve previously outlined the 7 best things about working from home, now it’s time to explain what I think are the 7 worst things about working from home.
For me, the absolute hardest thing to get used to about working from home has been the isolation. Going from seeing other people and interacting with them all the time, to working alone is a difficult adjustment to make.The isolation that comes with working from home is the hardest thing to adjust toClick To Tweet
You don’t realize how much you miss the social aspect of the office until you don’t have it anymore. Things like popping by a colleague’s desk and asking if they want to go for a coffee with you. Or bumping into someone at the photocopier and talking about that interesting story in the news.
I work for a large organization and when I was working in the office full-time I could see anywhere from 20-50 different people throughout the day. Now, I don’t see that many people in a week.
2) Harder to communicate
One major downside of working from home is that it is much harder to communicate with your colleagues. I went from being able to walk down the hall to pitch an idea to a client to having to leave voice mails, instant messages, and emails. What used to take a few minutes to discuss in real-time can now take days to resolve over emails and phone tag.
While there is software like WebEx and other video conferencing tools, there is nothing easier than being able to get up from your chair, walk over to someone else’s workspace and talk to them about what you need to. I find I’m taking a lot more notes working from home; notes along the lines of “left Jane a voice mail, be sure to follow-up tomorrow.”
3) Out of sight, out of mind
One thing I noticed almost immediately when working from home was that not being out of the office drops you from people’s radar. I went from being invited to project launch meetings to finding out about projects when they were already well under way. Why? Since I wasn’t around as a visual reminder, it was easy for others to forget about the role I played.
As a result of working from home, I have to be more diligent and proactive with colleagues about potential projects where I can give strategic advice. In my role, one of my primary responsibilities is to offer advice on digital best practices and guidance. It’s difficult to offer guidance once a campaign or project has already begun to take shape.
4) No longer feeling like you’re a part of a team
I wouldn’t call myself an extrovert but I am a pretty social person. I like saying “good morning” to everyone I see when I come into the office. I like getting to know my colleagues, finding out about their hobbies and their lives outside of work. It’s through the small chit-chat that you can begin to build strong relationships.
Some of my closest friends are people who I have met through work. When you spend 8 hours a day with the same group of people, it’s pretty natural that friendships are formed.
Working from home, you miss out on things like going for an impromptu team lunch on a Friday. Or stopping in for a quick drink before everyone catches their Go train. Instead, I’m left trying to teach the cat to high-five me when I come up with a creative corporate tweet.
5) Perception that you’re not working as hard
Many organizations today are flexible in that they offer employees the opportunity to work from home, the office or anywhere else with a steady internet connection. Many companies also encourage people not to come into the office as often as it’s a more efficient use of space. Regardless of organizational policy, many people still view teleworkers as less productive as their in-office counterparts.
I was at a dinner party once where I ended up engaged in a conversation with someone who thought that my working from home meant that I was able to watch Netflix all day. “It must be great not having anyone look over your shoulder all the time,” she said.
Yes, that is great. But, I never had someone looking over my shoulder when I was in the office. My work ethic is the same regardless of where I’m physically situated. I still have deadlines to meet and tasks to do. I don’t get less of a workload because I’m working from home and I certainly don’t get an extension on deadlines.
6) Work day tends to be longer
Working in an office, it’s much easier to get into a regular routine. Everyone is seated at their desks by 9:30, folks head out for lunch between 12 and 2, and at around 4:30, people start heading home.
When you work from home, you figure, “hey, I’m not commuting, I’ll turn my computer on now.” It’s easy to have your work laptop fired up and on while you’re having your morning coffee. Before you know it, it’s 2 pm, your stomach is growling because you haven’t had lunch and you still haven’t showered. Most days, 5 p.m. blows past and you’re still typing away, or reviewing web analytics, or leaving someone a voicemail because you had an idea you wanted to run by them.
It took me a few months when first working from home to settle into a more realistic work schedule. Now I make sure that I always have a shower and enjoy my coffee before my work laptop is turned on. I also plan out breaks for snacks and lunch because it’s very, very easy for the hours to fly without you noticing. I try to make sure that I log off at 5 or as close to 5 as possible and then put my work laptop away.
7) Technical issues
When you work in an office and your computer shuts down for no reason, or you run into the dreaded blue screen of death, you can call the IT desk and see about dropping your computer off to be looked at.
When you work from home and you run into technical issues, you’re pretty much on your own. Even if your particular issue can be resolved by talking to someone via a Help Desk, you may find that you have to deal with your own Internet Service Provider to troubleshoot the issue in addition to your company’s Help Desk.
Last summer I was experiencing connectivity issues with my work computer. After restarting the router, and trying to connect via my various devices, it seemed like the only computer with the connectivity issue was my work machine. The entire process of getting it sorted took over 2 hours; I highly doubt it would have taken that long had I been in the office.New to working from home? Here's some advice:Click To Tweet
Like any situation, working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s my advice for anyone new to working from home:
- If possible, try to set up regular ‘meet-ups’ with your colleagues. Even if it’s only once a month, those regular touch points can help keep you feeling like you’re apart of a team.
- Be diligent about staying in touch with your in-office colleagues. This will help you stay abreast of what is going on and will allow you to know to stay “in the know.”
- Set up a regular schedule for your work day. For example, don’t sign in to work before 8:30, break for lunch at the same time every day and log off at the same time everyday.