Up to this point, I’ve really made working from home sound kind of idyllic and perfect. It can be, and for my lifestyle it’s a perfect fit. It can, however, come with its share of pitfalls and disadvantages. Whether you’ve just started working from home, thinking about starting, or have been at it a while, be careful to avoid some of the common mistakes people make when working from home:
1. Gain weight – yep, working from home can pack on the calories!! The lure of the fridge and pantry is ALWAYS there, and some tend to overeat when its so handy to grab a snack
How to avoid
a. Better choices when grocery shopping – stock up on fruits, veggies, healthy nuts versus the potato chips and crackers. I’ve even popped hot air popcorn if I get peckish for something carb-like and crunchy 😊
b. Exercise – now that you have the flexibility to fit in your workouts whenever, don’t forget to do just that! Often we can forget to exercise because we’re on a roll with our productivity at home. Don’t forget to get out there and clear your head and stretch your legs
2. Household chores – its easy to do chores throughout your working day when you’re at home, but don’t let them derail your productivity on the job, and try to save the chores for your “off peak” moments of productivity. If you’re the most clear-headed and productive in the morning, save the chores as an afternoon break in your schedule
3. Corporate ladder – I referred to this in my past post about questions to ask before you work from home, and this can be a make or break for most. You know your organization’s environment, please think carefully before pulling yourself away from daily contact from those who can advance your career.
4. Isolation – For introverts, it is easy for us to tune out the outside world and keep our heads down and get our work done. Don’t lose sight of connectivity, whether with people at your workplace or in your industry. I’ve written a blogpost about networking when you work from home.
5. Lack of support from others smarter than you 😊 – working from home now means you are left without support teams that larger organizations would have in place. Tech support, office admin, human resources, and many others may be harder to find in your household than down the hall from your previous office cubicle.
How to manage
a. Tech support and laptop security – confer with someone like Geek Squad at Best Buy to handle loptop and security emergencies. You can also purchase laptop security like Norton Anti-virus online. For handling passwords for website logins, use LastPass that will keep all your passwords in one place for easy access, but you need to log in to access them. Great for users with multiple passwords for sites and apps!!
b. Admin – if you are an entrepreneur or sole-proprietor, virtual assistants can be found everywhere and will assist you with your admin tasks so you can focus on the more important things at hand (need some recommendations? I may have a few names to pass along).
6. “Flexibility” leading to lost productivity – ahhhh, the flexibility to take Friday’s off, or end the day early when your kids come home from school. This is why we signed up for this, right???? Sorry #bossbabes, that’s not how it works. If you want to be SUCCESSFUL, you still have to put in the hours and the productive strategy to take you and your business to the next level. Working from home doesn’t give you a free pass in this area.
7. Workaholism – although I cannot speak to personal experience with #6, I can definitely speak to experience with this one. Having your work there, all the time, can lead to TOO many hours logged and loss of a personal life because you’re always working. I went down this slippery slope for a number of years, and continue to struggle with it as my favourite hobby are new projects and systems for bettering my business. While you may not take the traditional “2 week vacation” now that you’re at home, you still need to find balance for other aspects in your life.
8. Lose boundaries – whether those boundaries are physical space inside the home, or from people treating you like your work is a “hobby” and can be put down in favour of other activities, losing boundaries is likely the largest pitfall, especially in the beginning of your work-from-home career.
How to manage
a. Set boundaries with family members and friends right from the start, tell them your objectives and create buy-in from them.
b. Ensure you have a dedicated office space – so critical to separating work from home life.
Remember, working from home is often the biggest blessing and positive change that one can make in their professional and personal. Its learning how to manage these pitfalls that will elevate your experience, increase your productivity, and set you up for career success in the months and years to come.