We live in an age of technology, where many task can be easily and efficiently completed through a computer. Companies and workers alike have picked up on this, and many are opting to go the route of working from home, rather than commuting to an office. In fact, according to an article on Forbes.Com, 1 in 5 Americans work from home. This is a number that is steadily increasing each day. That leaves many people thinking, “Sounds nice! I need to find a job where I can work from home!”. They get visions of working in their P.J.s on the couch, while sipping their coffee or beverage of choice.
Before you get too excited, I’m here to bust your bubble a bit.
YOU WILL FAIL AT WORKING FROM HOME!
1. You Work In Your Pajamas
There are very few people who are allowed to arrive to work each day in their pajamas. In fact, most jobs have a dress code in place, and many times it’s business casual. If you are allowed to work in jeans each day (in an office environment) you can consider yourself pretty lucky! Ever wondered what’s the purpose behind these dress codes? It’s likely because employers know that there’s a direct correlation between what you wear and how you perform. That’s why it’s important to get up and shower and dress for work before heading into the office, even if the office is only a few steps away. Not only will it provide more of a divide between your home and work life, you will be less likely to fail at working from home due to performance lacking.
2. You Don’t Take Breaks
When I first began working from home, I had ambitions to finish all of my work as soon as possible so that I could enjoy the rest of my day. I rushed through my work early in the morning, taking as few breaks as humanly possible and just drilling through it. Other days, I found that I had become so immersed in my work that I forgot to take the breaks I had even planned on taking! While my mind was fresh and alert in the beginning, towards the end of these burst fatigue would strike and the quality of my work would decrease accordingly. Breaks are important. Just like in a traditional office, it’s important to step away from your desk every once and while. Stretch your legs. Maybe step out on the porch and breath some fresh air. If you don’t take breaks, you will soon get burnt out… and you will fail at working from home.
3. You Don’t Get Out Enough
After working from home for awhile, you may find that you miss the relationships and the personal interactions you had when working at a traditional office…you know, the coworkers you thought you couldn’t stand at the time?! Working from home, you can begin to feel isolated and out of touch with the world. It’s important to get out of the house and make real life, face to face connections. Join a club or gym… volunteer at your child’s school…take on a new hobby. Just do SOMETHING for yourself to maintain healthy interactions with the world outside your office. Without these interactions, you could find yourself sinking into a depression or feeling less motivated causing you to fail at working from home.
4. You Don’t Schedule Your Day
While some people work from home under remote supervision from a boss or team, many people find that working from home allows them a newfound freedom they didn’t previously enjoy while working in the corporate world. It can be easy to fall into the trap of being lackadaisical with your time. Once your friends and loved ones find that you work from home, they may equate this to you being available at their beck and call as well (“Business: No Friend Zone” is a great read on that topic). It’s important to schedule your day, and stick to the schedule as much as possible. Be sure to still allow flexibility in your schedule, however, for the inevitable distractions that will occur (the mailman or Fed Ex guy, the dog… the traveling salesman who won’t go away…etc). Without a schedule, you will fail at working from home.
5. You Don’t Set Boundaries
This is, perhaps, the most important (and hardest) aspect to master when you work from home. Boundaries are important not only for protecting your work time, but for protecting your time with family as well. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, who tend to have the luxury of setting their own schedule. Do not become so consumed with work that there are no boundaries and it follows you all over your home. Don’t work in bed. Don’t bring your work to the dinner table. Set time aside to mentally clock out, and enjoy your life. If you don’t, I promise you stress and chaos will plague you. And…you guessed it… you will fail at working from home.