One of the benefits I have as a freelance writer is the fact that I get to work from home. I enjoy working from home because it fits my personality. My small home business is doing well enough to pay the bills and leave some left over for things that my family enjoys. And I have the flexibility to work (mostly) when I want, and to choose which projects I engage in.
Not everyone likes working from home as much as I do, though. There are challenges associated with working from home, and not everyone is happy to do it. My husband doesn’t really enjoy working from home. He’s done a bit of it in the past, but he gets more benefit when he goes into an office.
While it seems like there is a lot of focus on starting your own home business, the truth is that it isn’t for everyone. Here are some of the things to consider before you quit your “real” job to work from home.
How Do You Deal with Distractions?
We all have a hard time dealing with distractions from time to time. However, it seems that, for many people, there are fewer distractions in an office. After all, you don’t usually have access to a TV in the office, and there aren’t usually children begging for your attention when you go into work. Plus, if you know that your Internet usage is monitored, you’ll be less inclined to surf for hours at a time.
To successfully work from home, it’s vital that you figure out how to manage your distractions. Summer is hard for me because my son is home more. That means that I sometimes send him to day camp, or encourage him to play with his friends so I have time to work. I also have to force myself to avoid social media, and relegate email to specific times of the day.
When you work from home, you don’t have the fear of someone else “catching” you in the act when you succumb to distractions. Instead, you have to come up with your own system of accountability, and do your best to shut out distractions and keep on working.
Are You Self-Motivated?
There are days I’m just not motivated to work. I think this happens to everyone. But you have to be able motivate yourself when you work from home. You need to be able to kick yourself into gear, even when you don’t have to. There’s something about an outside job that kind of forces you into a corner. You know that if you don’t show up, or if you don’t accomplish certain things, you could end up fired.
With a work from home job, it’s not exactly the same impact. It’s true that you know you won’t make as much money if you don’t force yourself to work, but that consequence seems a little less immediate. When the only person threatening you is you, it’s a little harder to take the threat seriously in the moment. If you are going to successfully work from home, you need to be able to motivate yourself, and find ways to work even when you don’t have to worry about getting fired.
Can You Handle the Merger of Work and Home Life?
Even when you set boundaries, and delineate an office space in your home, there is still going to be that overlap between your work life and your home life. This is one of the reasons my husband prefers to have a “regular” job in a more traditional setting. He likes to go to work, complete his tasks, and then come home and relax, and not think about work. He hates it when he has to grade papers at home.
I see anytime as potential work time. While I’ve had to learn to shut off the work impulse to some degree, I don’t draw that line between work and home. If I have free time at home, I sort of feel like I should be working — even if I’ve already done a lot of work.
And, at the same time, I like that freedom. I like the idea of shrugging off work some Wednesday so that I can go on an adventure with my son, even if it means getting up and working on Saturday. I integrate my work schedule into my home life schedule.
What do you think? Do you prefer working from home? Or does it make more sense for you to go into the office?