Ugly Truths About Working From Home
Anything that’s too good has a hidden cost. Repercussions, rather.
Working from home has been a dream for many people for a while now. It still is a very desirable option for some. Offer any introvert or a lazy person a remote job and, more often than not, they’ll grab it with both of their hands.
No wonder, since it comes with its own sets of benefits that are hard to ignore — saves costs and time on transit, more time for self-care and family, better productivity (at least it seems initially, more on this later), freedom, flexibility, and control over your work — the list could go on and on.
With the perks it has, it isn’t surprising that the number of people working from home is at an all-time high at the beginning of this decade. Tech startups, especially the ones in their early stages, prefer remote workers more and more nowadays — saves them some employee costs as well making it a win-win for both.
While work from home may look all glitter and gold in the beginning (it did for me), with time you’d realize that it is overrated. The perks that made it a lucrative deal at the start would be the ones that’d haunt you after some time.
Work from home is boring, to put it straight. It creates a monotonous life. It makes it difficult for people not working from home to understand your situation. For office-working peers, returning from home and putting on some TV show is the best end of the day, while for remote workers, all they want is to go out after being at home for the major part of the day.
There are plenty of drawbacks to working from home. I’ll be talking about just a couple of them that I’ve experienced in my journey as a remote worker.
Work-Life Balance Goes for a Toss
It may take some time (maybe months) to realize this, but when working from home, your work-life balance would certainly become a mess after some point. You can easily lose track of your working hours since the freedom of working from home can distract you, leading to procrastination. The power of freedom you get while working from home can make you lazier than before, and soon you’d start binging on TV shows and movies or doing other chores during the work hours. There’s a reason office hours are fixed — to keep you focused on the tasks at hand during those hours.
Working from home also makes you lazy. It doesn’t require the need to dress up as you’d do for the office. Staying in your pajamas becomes the norm after some time. Even staying active and working out becomes a challenge since we as humans love Netwon’s First Law Of Motion and the principle of inertia: An object at rest stays at rest unless driven by an external force. A person at home stays at home!
Work from home can make it harder to evaluate your productivity with the number of distractions that come with being at home. It’s important to maintain and stick to a working schedule when doing remote work so that the boundaries between work and life don’t overlap.
Loneliness and Depression Come Easily
We as humans are social animals and require interactions for good health. When you’re at home all day devoid of the inevitable F2F interactions, team outings, and socialization that happens at offices, it can lead to isolation. Even with remote colleagues, there’s a disconnect since more often than not, communication pertains to work-related stuff. Hence, it’s not surprising that maintaining a happy atmosphere and positive culture is the top priority in all firms.
Even building a network takes longer than usual for some. In order to not get isolated, an extra effort is required to stay connected with peers.
Communication helps in sharing ideas and keeping up to date with what’s happening in your community. Working with colleagues in the office can certainly give you more insights and make you better equipped with the latest trends in your field of work.
When you’re working from home, dealing with depression and handling low phases can get tricky. With depression comes the need to avoid social interactions and activities that you once enjoyed. In such cases, isolation creeps in since you’re all on your own. Making an effort to keep social interactions gets even more difficult. This isn’t the case when you’re working from offices (I now prefer that over remote any day), as you have colleagues around you for talking and gossiping, an inevitable part of that routine.
For some, working from coffee shops, co-working spaces, or visiting the office sometimes helps in maintaining social interactions and keeping their sanity in check.
To conclude for fellows aspiring to work remotely, I hope you consider these harsh realities. While everyone has their way of dealing with things, and no two remote workers go through the same journey, it’s important to realize that working from home full-time isn’t as easy as it looks, and it comes with its own set of challenges that you’ll have to deal with. Also, self-discipline isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Thank you for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.