There are far too many misconceptions about working from home. Too many people think it's easy, some people think that those who work-at-home don't really work at all, and even more think that those who work from home can't be successful or financially stable. Yeah, none of those things are true. Not only is working from home a very real, very sustainable (and often, very profitable) working situation, in many ways, working from home is harder than working in an office.
Don't believe me? Oh, well read up, my newfound friend. I started working from home immediately after I became pregnant. I thought, "Hey, I can continue to provide for my family, continue to work at a job I absolutely love, and I will be able to spend time with my future kid." What I didn't realize was that working from home is difficult. So. Damn. Difficult. My Google search quickly filled with questions like, "how to work from home" and "helpful tips for working from home" and "can you die from working from home?" because hello stress and never-ending deadlines and constant distractions.
Of course, and over time and a few trial-by-fire situations, I have settled into a routine that makes working from home much easier. But that still doesn't mean that the constant struggles have disappeared. Even now, years later, I still have days when a three-hour commute and horrible coworkers sounds better than me working in my home office, alone.
There's no denying that I completely underestimated just how taxing working from home would be, mostly because I had never done it before, but also because I had bought into all of those aforementioned misconceptions. So, in the name of transparency and myth-bashing, here are 10 reasons why working from home is actually way harder than working from an office.
You're Never "Not Working"
Because you aren't at the mercy of a nine-to-five, you're not capable of relying on the structure of a nine-to-five. Thus, you're always working, whether it's at some ungodly hour in the morning or some ungodly hour at night. Hell, you've probably worked while doing your business on the toilet (be honest) and you've definitely worked while enjoying a much needed cocktail (or three) in the evening. The flexible schedule can be great, when it's not killing your ability to have healthy work/life boundaries.
Everyone Knows (Or Thinks They Know) You're Available
There are so many misconceptions about working from home, the most prominent being that you're never really doing anything. It's "easy" to work from home, so of course you can take on that extra project or do that extra report or give that extra presentation on Monday with absolutely zero notice and little information, right?
There's Little Incentive To Shower
Sometimes the whole not showering, working sans-pants portion of working from home can be fantastic. On the other hand, it can leave you feeling unattractive, unmotivated and, well, unclean. It's so easy to be lazy, hit snooze a few too many times and focus on what you absolutely have to get done in a day, and ignore things like self-care.
There Are A Million Distractions
Distractions are everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. Whether it's your kid or the television or YouTube, there is no one there to make sure you're staying on task and there are no site-blockers to keep you from going down the rabbit hole that is Tumblr.
Staying Overly-Organized Is A Necessity
If you're not organized, you're going to have a tough time getting work done within a respectable and productive timeframe. If you're going to be successful when working from home, you have to be on top of your shit and extremely self-motivated.
You Don't See Anyone. Like, Ever.
Whether you absolutely love having coworkers or your experiences with others in the office have been less-than-satisfactory, making the switch to working from home can still leave you missing the social aspect of an office job. Is it great to not have to deal with people on a day-to-day basis? Sure. But it can also be lonely and kind of boring and how in the world are you going to get your daily dose of gossip? Kanye and Wiz can't go at it every week, you guys.
It Can Be Stressful On Your Relationship(s)
Because you don't have a set schedule — and you're always "on the clock" — working from home can be tough on your relationships. Whether it stresses your partner out because your home office looks like it has exploded and you're always answering emails when you should be paying attention to something they're saying; or it's your friends, who miss you at happy hour because you're not done working when they are, having no office to leave your work at means you carry it with you, and that can be problematic.
You Need To Be Disciplined
Discipline and organization go hand-in-hand. Like I said previously, no one is going to be looking over your shoulder, making sure that you're doing that thing you're supposed to be doing. If you set a deadline for yourself, you're the only one who is responsible for making sure you adhere to it. If you don't want to do a thing but have to do a thing, you're the only one who can make you start. The freedom is great, but sometimes it can be difficult to motivate yourself to do the not-so-fun stuff.
You Can't Blame Others
You can't blame any mistake on anyone but yourself. I don't think the "my dog ate my work report" will work in this instance. You're not around your coworkers and your boss isn't there to point a finger at, so along with being the only person who can receive praise for the work you do, you're the only one who has to suck down the criticism, too.
Exercise Becomes That Much More Important
You're not walking around an office or walking to an office or walking from your office to that necessary happy hour, so exercise becomes that much more important. When you're working from home, it's extremely easy to become sedimentary, so for health reasons, you need to make more of an effort to get up and get your body moving. Ugh. It would actually be kinda great if those "people who work at home do nothing and nap all day" myths were true. That sounds amazing.