What Are Some Problems for Those Who Work From Home?
What are the solutions?
Working from home has problems, but there are solutions to them. Do you dream of walking into your own at-home office in your pajamas? Do you want to take the afternoon off so you can go to your child’s class play without having to ask permission from your supervisor? Do you want to take your vacation time when you want, not when your boss says you can? Do you want work to revolve around your life and not your life around your work?
Lack of Respect
People can be downright snarky when you tell them that you work from home. Part of that attitude stems from jealousy, but another part comes from a lack of respect. Even if you have your own separate office space, working from home does not seem professional in the eyes of some people. If you are not reporting to someone, can it actually be called work?
The solution for this work at home problem is to ignore the comments. Let them roll off your back. You can offer suggestions to the person if he seems unhappy with his job and wants to try something new from home. Sometimes just seeing another person who successfully works from home is the push someone else needs to get started.
Another problem with working from home that demonstrates a lack of respect comes from your family. If your spouse asks you to pick up a few things at Target while she is at her job, or your friend drops by unexpectedly wanting to talk, then you need to set up boundaries. Explain to them that they would not act this way if you were working in an office outside your home, and that is how they have to treat your work at home job. These are necessary conversations to have if you want the respect you deserve.
There are many things in your home that can cause you to get off track and lose focus. If you are a mom, chances are the piles of laundry, the floor that needs to be vacuumed, or what you are preparing for dinner are getting in the way of you finishing your report or article. There is television, surfing the net, a phone call, and trips to the refrigerator that can steal your time.
The solution for this work at home problem is to set office hours and schedule breaks. For example, between 9 AM to noon, you will do not housework. In between those three hours, schedule a short ten to fifteen minute break. Walk around the block, check your email, play a game. Set a timer so that you do not wind up losing track of time.
You will also not answer the phone. There is Caller ID, answering machines and voicemail to pick up the call for you. Unless it is an emergency, no personal calls during your office hours. That also includes turning off your cell phone and not responding to texts. People will get the hint! You are working!
Working from home is an isolating experience. There is no co-worker to chart with, no one to ask a question…you are on your own. Sometimes talking to yourself is not enough!
The solution to this work at home problem is simple. Get out of the house and schedule lunch with some friends a few times a week. Better yet, go to lunch with a friend who has to get back to the office at a certain time. This will make it easier for you not to linger over a second cup of coffee and get back home to your office.
When your office is not inside your home, you get to leave. It is your choice to turn off your phone and not check office emails. When you work at home, it is tempting to constantly work and work and work. Some people do it to justify the privilege of working from home, others do not know when to stop.
The solution is to have your family help you out. Your kids are a good reminder of the reason you chose to work at home. Do not ignore them to keep working. Keep a time log of just how many hours you are putting in. Set a goal of hours to work and when you reach it, you are done. Sometimes you need to see what you are doing in black and white.
Having Your Own Space
You need to have a separate work space from your living space. While ideally your office will be a separate room in your home, that cannot always be the case. If you do not have a space, then pick a corner of your home to set up shop. No other business can be conducted there, and no one else can go into that space.
While working from home has problems, there are solutions that can help you manage them.