Last post I wrote about the 7 benefits of working from home – and I’m sure I missed many more benefits. However, in the interests of balance – I thought I’d also point out the downside of working from home.

  1. You’re the first (only) one called if your children (or other family members) are sick – yes this was a benefit on the previous list, but it can also be a downside. When you work from home, people often forget the working part of you being at home. If this is a problem for you, set boundaries of when you are willing/able to be on call.
  2. Complete freedom – yes this sounds like a great thing. But one of the issues home-workers face is that they often find that it’s hard getting and saying motivated to get everything done when there’s so many other things they could be doing – surfing the internet, cleaning up the house, a ‘quick’ load of ironing, paying the household bills. Find your trigger that gets you in the work zone. One of my clients has to ‘dress’ for work each day before going down the hall – even if she hasn’t got any meetings on. She finds it puts her in the right headspace.
  3. Feeling professional – this is often a biggie. Conducting meetings in your living room often just doesn’t feel right for staff, supplier or client meetings or give the right impression. Many people who work from home do so because they’re aiming for work and family balance. And whilst it can be great to be there for your children, if they’re having a bad day and you’re trying to answer the phone – let’s just say – that’s not likely to be a great encounter for you, the child or the customer.
  4. Difficulty separating home and work life. I’ve known people who’ve renovated their house so they can ‘leave’ in the morning to walk around to the back of the house and let themselves into their office via a back door so they can physically shut a door and mentally take a break from their work.
  5. Isolation – certainly you can get more done when there isn’t anyone dropping by your office for a chat or getting baled up by the coffee machine, but many work from home-ers find that, after a while, they feel quite isolated. Find a local group of business owners to catch up with for networking at least once a month (look on linkedin or www.meetup.com  for possible groups that meet nearby). You might even consider ones that meet once a week. BNI, a business networking organisation www.bni.com.au meet each week for breakfast and share business referrals.
  6. There’s no IT department (down the hall, or up/downstairs). When IT issues happen, you’re not likely to have another computer or internet connection on hand which means it can waste hours (days) of your time. Especially if you’re on deadline for something, that can mean lost business or at the very least vastly increased stress levels. Outsource.
  7. You have to do it all (or at least it can feel like that). If you run a business – especially from home, you know there’s a bucketload of administration that goes with it. You answer the phones, type the memos, do the accounting, update the website and the list goes on and on and on. And that’s before you even start doing what it is you do for your customers. Outsource the things that don’t serve you to do yourself and free you up to do the truly important things.

You’ve probably found others – feel free to share in the comments below.