I’ve been self-employed and working from home for a few months now. I love working from home and definitely don’t want to go back to a traditional job anytime soon, but I have noticed quite a few drawbacks when it comes to my new work situation.
In all honesty, no situation is perfect so you shouldn’t go into self-employment thinking that your work-life balance will automatically improve. Sure, it feels great to be able to skip morning commuter traffic and work in your pajamas, but working from home is not all rainbows and unicorns.
On the bright side, all the typical disadvantages of working from home that I’ve noticed can be avoided.
Here are some common challenges you might face.
Not Being Able to Disconnect From Work
When you work in an office, it’s easy to disconnect from work when it’s time to clock out and go home. If you’re self-employed, however, your job can go wherever you are, and it’s not uncommon to have a hard time disconnecting at the end of the day. If you have your computer or phone nearby, it can be tempting to check emails or knock out extra tasks.
The huge downside to working around the clock like this is that it will eat into your social life, wear away at your health, exhaust you — and you’ll never truly have time off.
To avoid any of these issues, try to set up a designated workspace at home so that you can leave your work there when you are finished working for the day. Also, don’t be afraid to turn your computer off and put office hours in your email signature, so you don’t feel obligated to respond to a message you receive once you’ve already wrapped up work for the day.
If you work from home and have trouble staying productive, you’re not alone. With no boss or coworkers around, it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand. There are so many options for distraction. Whether it’s television, the temptation of getting in bed, a friend or family who drops by “since you’re home,” and so on.
Social media can also be a huge distraction as well.
To become more productive throughout the day so you can accomplish more in less time, you’ll need to work when you are most motivated. You may need to disable social media apps temporarily. Perhaps you can block distracting websites. Create a list of what you’d like to achieve for the day! Consider outsourcing any tasks that are draining your available time to work.
Dealing With Friends and Family Who Don’t Respect Your Work Schedule
There are many misconceptions about being self-employed and working from home. One of the most annoying misconceptions is that self-employment easy, and you’ll have more time on your hands. When I quit my job to freelance, I realized that I barely had enough time to load my dishwasher.
Some people may think you’re able to take on extra tasks and errands just because you work from home. You may even get phone calls or messages from others. Or start to feel overwhelmed because you can’t handle it all. Or you may be one of those who finds it difficult to say, “no.’
It’s important to keep in mind that with self-employment, if you don’t work, you won’t get paid and you won’t be able to meet all your monthly expenses. Explain this to family and friends who seem to misunderstand what your actual workload entails.
Be open about telling others when you can and can’t do things and what your work current work schedule requires. For example, many people know that I work most mornings and will be unavailable. They don’t try to bother me during that time.
Having Trouble With Taking Time Off
When you’re self-employed, you no longer get paid vacation days even though you can work from anywhere. Even if you want to take a random day off to lay in bed, you can. You’ll need to make it up somehow if you want to complete all your tasks and earn enough money.
Since you don’t receive and paid time off or sick days, you’ll need to work ahead and rely on your savings to stay on track and keep you afloat. Always be prepared for any unexpected setbacks by saving a portion of what you make. As well, you should plan in advance for vacations and trips.
Summary: Be Aware of the Cons As Well As the Pros
It’s easy to gloss over self-employment and only recognize the perks and benefits of working from home. However, there are quite a few drawbacks to think about as well. Once you acknowledge them, you can start to devise a plan. This will help you avoid making these errors and begin to make working from home a great experience.