5 of The Cons of Working From Home – Do they outweigh the pros?

5 of The Cons of Working From Home – Do they outweigh the pros?

Let me preface this article by saying I love working at home and I love what I do, but it’s not all working in your pajamas and waking up at 11 am. Although I personally believe the pros do outweigh the cons when it comes to freelancing, there are things that people don’t tell you about that I had to discover on my own. I’d like to give you guys a head up into some of the cons of working from home and also some of the ways that I’ve found to overcome them. So, let’s get to it.

The Cons of Working From Home

1. Weight gain

So if you’re coming from an office job, you’re used to sitting for at least 8 hours a day. Your body probably didn’t go through the shock that mine did. Let me lay out some of my past jobs for you, teacher, firefighter, pool boy, personal trainer and furniture delivery guy. I did none of those jobs sitting down, and so when I leaped into the world of freelancing, I thought it would be great to wake up, throw on some sweats and take the 3 steps to get to my computer (my apartments really tiny).

I feel ya buddy

 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great. However, I’m used to being forced to get ready, commute to work, work standing up, and commute home. That’s 9-10 hours of my day that I was usually active. When you compare 9 hours of moving around to the 3 steps I’m forced to take now to get to work, you could say I’ve put on a few lbs.

This was one of the cons of working from home that I didn’t foresee, and it’s something that I believe more freelancers should be talking about. You need to plan time to go to the store (walking if possible), plan gym time and time to move around because now, no one is forcing you.

If I didn’t have a schedule/habits to do every day, I would quite literally sit in front of my computer and veg. Being conscious about setting aside time to move is something that you need to learn.

the cons of working from home
Freelancing can feel a bit like this sometimes

Your health is a priority. As I’ve said many times and will probably repeat often, I believe a freelancer’s health is more important to that individual than someone who works at an office. I’m not saying we’re more important, I’m saying that if we’re sick, there’s no one to pick up the slack, no one to help out. As a freelancer, we’re on a bit of an island and if we’re not working, we’re not providing for our families.

So, take the time to plan out your schedule and make sure you make time to move. A standing desk or stand up computer workstation probably wouldn’t kill you either. Your work, body, mental health, relationships and bank account will all thank you. A few ideas from Diet and Fat Loss – 10 Hassle-free Tips for Freelancers can really get you headed in the right direction as well.

2. Sore everything

As I mentioned above, I’m not used to sitting for 4 hours a day working (yes, only 4. Standing desks are the best). That means my back wasn’t ready for the punishment either. I didn’t have a standing desk for the first year that I was freelancing, and my flexibility went from being able to touch my toes to struggling to scratch an itch on my knee. Everything in your body is interconnected so that means that my hips were off, which threw my back out of whack, which caused headaches, which means I wasn’t working as much, which means…I think you get it.

the cons of working from home
I didn’t even think a body could do that

For me, my electric height-adjustable computer desk not only helps me control my weight, but it also helps me manage every aspect of my life. For example, having a sore back can mess with your sleep, not getting quality sleep means you’re less likely to hit the gym and more likely to make poor food choices. Those negative decisions lead to more poor choices and the cycle continues. It’s a slippy slope.

In my opinion, work and life productivity all start with your health. If your health is off you’re not running at 100%, and that means your work is struggling, your home life probably isn’t what it should be, your social life (wait, who am I kidding?)

Do yourself a favor, focus on your health and all of the cons of working from home will seem more manageable. Start with a stand-up computer desk or workstation. However, if you think a standing desk is made to stand at for 8 hours then stop right there, and read my article How to use a standing desk, properly. Hopefully, you’ll thank me later.

3. Zero social life

As I not-so-subtly mentioned in number 2. Your social life will most likely

the cons of working from home
Bluegrass band anyone?

struggle. Anyone who has started a successful business, and like it or not, freelancers are business owners, knows that the lion’s share of your time should be taken up by it. As a freelancer, you are the management, HR, workforce, customer service, marketer, salesmen, back office, accountant and custodian for your business. You’re basically the non-kidnapping, less crazy version of James McAvoy in Split. So, how are you supposed to find time for the guys or for a girls night out?

 

Human Interaction would probably help

This, unfortunately, is one of my weak spots and one of the cons of working from home for me that has had the biggest impact on me. When I finish work for the day, the last thing I want to do is get ready and go out. However, creating a network of other like-minded professionals will really help give you a bit of social motivation. Renting a coworking space might not be a bad step either. Check out either ShareDesk or WeWork to find a place near you.

Create a night of the week where you invite friends over if you don’t want to leave the house. Join a class or a league (sports, music, drawing, running, anything). As humans, we’re social by nature and forgetting about that project you have due on Friday will actually help you focus more and be more productive.

 

the cons of working from home
Fore!

4. Too much freedom

This might be the least considered “downside” of the cons of working from home and many office workers may look at this and laugh. What does too much freedom mean? How is that even possible? Having your whole day ahead of you where you have to be proactively searching out clients and jobs with no boss breathing down your neck and no chance of being fired isn’t as easy as it sounds.

the cons of working from home
I just couldn’t help myself

Whether it’s true or not, it makes sense to me that humans have a limited amount of willpower and each choice you make, no matter how tiny, depletes your store for the day (there’s new research saying it might not be entirely accurate). As freelancers, almost every minute of every day we’re making choices. Should I do invoicing so I can pay rent or the project that’s due so I can pay rent next month? Should I look for future, bigger clients or keep all the smaller ones I already have? Maybe I should stalk people on Facebook or Instagram? You know, day to day things.

You have to have a plan for each day and do some work-type triage. What’s most critical and what will get me the best result with the least amount of effort? Also, trying to set aside time to get to the gym, eating a balanced diet, and seeing friends all turns into a real-life game of never-ending Tetris, but that’s the life you signed up for when you decided to go boss-less. If you need some extra giddy-up check out my article: Time Management Tips to Reduce Stress.

5. Lackadaisical – The Cons of Working from Home

(I had to look up the spelling)

E-mail clients or watch Stranger Things? Send invoices or fall into a YouTube black hole? These are the difficult decision that we have to deal with every day. Some days, I almost always choose option B because well, it’s more fun, and I’m just not feeling it that day. As a freelancer, that’s your prerogative. You work when you want, how you want, where you want and at what speed you want. But just remember if you work slowly, poorly, and at midnight, you might not have the most successful freelancing career.

the cons of working from home
Cute, but not very productive

Being lazy one day is fine as long as it doesn’t hurt your business. If you’re happy with your workload, take a day off. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just understand that you’ll have to make up for it later on a Saturday or Sunday but for you, days don’t really matter anymore, only deadlines and happy clients. You’re a freelancer now.

What are you waiting for?

If you’re already a freelancer then I’m sure you can relate to some of the cons of working from home, if not all of the things mentioned above, and if you’re thinking about making the plunge I don’t mean to scare you away. I’ve never been happier than I am right now with the choice to become a freelancer. I can go to the gym when I want, wake up late if I had a rough night, I don’t have to deal with coworkers that I didn’t choose for 8 hours a day, and I’m in complete control of my life. If having total power and responsibility over your life isn’t what you want, and it’s not for everyone, you might want to stick to your 9-5.

Have you found any of the cons of working from home that you didn’t know before you started?

14 Replies to “5 of The Cons of Working From Home – Do they outweigh the pros?”

  1. Hi and thank you for this article! The whole reason that I started a blog was the stay at home. But you raise some very good points here and it’s actually the only reasons that I have ever thought that maybe working at home might not be the best thing. I think working at homes takes a serious amount of personal discipline and not everyone has that. Sometimes it’s easier to watch TV than it is to get up and write that post. 🙂

    What are your thoughts on someone renting a small office to go to once they get to that level as a way to get out of the house and add some structure and routing to their day? You’d still be “calling the shots” so to speak, but also have a place to go each day that you were working.

    1. Hey Stevie!
      I completely agree I prefer to watch t.v. or do really anything besides working some days. As we both know that’s why doing this isn’t for everyone. I think when you get to a level where you can rent a place I would totally recommend getting a shared space. Likeminded people who are trying to make it in the same world would be great motivation. You could also make sure everyone else is working and doing what they should be, a sort of buddy system.

      I don’t really see the point of renting your own place though. You’re basically just leaving the house to sit alone in a different space. I can understand the structure it would give you but you’d still have to make that extra effort to get out of the house which requires that discipline thing you were talking about. Some social interaction for Freelancers is always a good thing though! Good luck with everything and thanks for stopping by!

  2. I am blogger with a regular job. I am on my way to start working from home full time in the near future and I stumbled across your post.I see what you mean when you say that working from home has its cons too. I never thought about weight gain. I do call centre so yes, I am sitting at a desk 8 hours a day. I have gained a bit of weight so some days during the week, I go to the gym right after work and this has kept my weight steady for a bit. I am not the kind of person to go out either, if I have been at home. It has been great to read your article because now I know that even if I am working from home, that I need to make a schedule and stick to it. It has been a real eye opener.

    1. Hey Reyhana,

      I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. Going to the gym a few days a week is a great start and fundamental to your health. Sitting for that many hours is actually quite hard on your body even though you’re not doing much. If you do decide to become a full-time freelancer I would say it’s completely worth it but make sure you have a plan on how to handle the personal and physical aspects of working from home. I wish you all the best and good luck with everything. Thank you again and Happy Freelancing!

  3. OMG this is me through and through. The challenges you talk about re health, starting with the weight gain are very familiar to me. It’s been five years since I left the world of having a boss. I gained 30 lbs in the first 2 years and my social life suffered tremendously. I always felt guilt when I wasn’t working, especially when money was tight. A combination of discipline and organization was the key for me, but I still struggle with it. Also I had to discuss it with my familly, because they felt that because I didn’t have a boss, I could run errands all day. Not true. Managing this situation is a skill that must be developed. Great post. You have identified one of the great challenges of being a freelancer. It’s nice to know I’m not alone with this challenge. This topic alone would warrant a book I think!

    1. Hey Brad,

      I’m right there with you in that 25-30 lb range. I also feel pretty guilty if my family comes home and the dishes aren’t cleaned or things are still a bit of a mess because I was working all day, but as you said they need to think about it as if I were working in an office. Not expect me to do things just because I’m at home. I completely agree with what you’re saying but yes, it is a challenging at the same time. I like the book idea! I’ll think about it 😉 Thank you for leaving your comment and good luck with everything! Happy Freelancing!

  4. I can so relate! I’m into health and wellness and am online so much now it’s really put a dent in my fitness routine. The computer has a way of sucking you in…
    scheduling a daily routine has proven to be difficult too because when the creative juices are flowing you want to knock out that next great idea, and with the SEO strategy, social medial and searching for images it can be an all day thing. I’ll be looking into that standing desk for sure. Thanks!

    1. Hey Judy,
      I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment! I completely understand what you’re saying when looking for images, SEO and making things just right can be an all-day thing. There is just so much online it would take many lifetimes to find it all! I love my standing desk! It’s really helped me keep my weight and health in check. If you’re looking for good standing desk ideas you can check out my article: The Perfect Height-Adjustable Standing Desk. Good luck on your health adventures and Happy Freelancing!

  5. I read your article with great interest…..I have been working from home for over a year now and I have to say, I haven’t found any cons, if anything some of the points you mention have improved!

    My old job involved sitting at a desk all day and now I work from home I actually have more time for exercise so I’m actually in better shape. And the same for my social life-i used to struggle to see friends when getting home late and feeling tired. Now I can go and meet friends for a coffee in the middle of the day if I wish to which is also a great improvement!

    I do agree with you on points 4 and 5 though….some days I get very little done as I’m just not feeling it whereas in my old job I was forced to do it whether I felt like it or not!

    Thanks for a good read 🙂

    1. Louise!
      I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. I’m actually really happy that you don’t agree with me on a few points. That means you’re doing it right! Unfortunately, I think you might be in the minority when it comes to the self-discipline to set your own schedule and work out and not try to do everything at once. Having the freedom to work when you want is a huge perk and it sounds like your business is already fairly established and you don’t have to constantly hunt for clients. If that’s the case congratulation and good luck with everything else as well. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Freelancing!

  6. Great post, Andrew. Yes, there are a lot of downsides. Going from a factory/office environment to working on my own was a big change. So stimulating to be able to plan out the day without interruption, but in reality, so difficult to achieve. But that due to personal motivation rather than external factors.
    As a printer, I was on my feet most of the day, but with a computer-based business there is too much sitting down. Solution – the standing desk. Back on my feet again!
    But I wouldn’t change things now. Best wishes, Chris

    1. Hey Chris,
      Great to see you again! I completely understand about working from your feet and then having to sit down all day. I got myself an electric sit-stand desk as well and absolutely love it. I’m actually replying to your comment standing up right now! Good luck with your home-based business and if you ever have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. All the best and Happy Freelancing!

  7. Good afternoon Andrew,

    I must confess I did smile here and there reading your nice post.
    I used to work as a tourist guide for many years, so yes, I had a boss and was flying all over the place. Especially at the high season with overbookings and the likes.
    In 1986 I stopped working or so I thought. I started to work hard on my farm, like real physical work which makes you so tired in the evening but also content.
    By the end of 2013 the computer/internet entered my life and now I can relate to your post very well.
    I started sitting too much so I put on weight. You are right when one is one’s own boss you have to be firm with yourself otherwise things tend to get out of hand.
    Socializing becomes a must otherwise one might turn into a hermit, not so good.
    It is a bit trial and error but with a little organization, I do think one can manage a healthy balance.

    Regards, Taetske

    1. Hey Taetske,
      I appreciate you leaving a comment and your story is a very familiar one. Many people are leaving the standard workforce to go out on their own not realizing that they’ll need to be sitting in front of a computer for hours on end to get things off the ground. That really takes a toll on your body as well which you may not notice as much if you’re sweatpants to work every day.
      I completely agree you can manage a healthy balance if you do a little organization, however, most people are so focused on the professional side of their lives that they forget life is about more than that. Taking care of yourself physically is also taking care of your professional life.
      Thank you again for stopping by and Happy Freelancing!

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