woman lay on a sofa with a laptop

5 drawbacks of working from home

Woman lay on a sofa with a laptop

Whilst I enjoy working from home immensely, sometimes it’s not always as peachy as I imagined it would be.

Sure I get to wear my fluffy slippers and pyjamas all day if I want, but it’s not all plain sailing.

There are several drawbacks to home working that anyone thinking about freelancing from home should be aware of.

1. Distractions are everywhere

Because you’re at home, you’re surrounded by your beloved possessions.

As such it’s much easier to allow yourself to be distracted than if you were in a formal work environment.

Household chores you know you should get done or the odd job around the house all easy distractions from work, especially if you’re already finding it a struggle to stay productive.

2. You don’t always feel like working

young businessman relaxing

You’re at home, your place of comfort and rest, and because of this it’s sometimes hard to get into a working mindset.

When you don’t have to get up and report to an office or workplace by a particular time, it’s very easy to turn your alarm off, roll over and sleep for another hour or so.

But it’s not very professional for a client to be unable get hold of you because you’re sleeping in. Freelancing takes a lot of self discipline.

3. Other people can get in the way

It can be hard for family, flatmates or whoever you happen to live with to understand that although you’re at home, you’re working.

Neighbours doing DIY or having noisy building work done can easily stop your ability to focus on your work.

Similarly, having to get up to answer the phone or door to a cold-calling salesperson gets very frustrating, very quickly.

4. Space can be limited

cluttered desk

Trying to combine a living space with a working space leads to a lot of clutter.

Every nook and cranny in my ‘studio’ (which happens to double as a bedroom) is filled with paper stock, books, prints, scraps, book-binding materials, tools, paint, brushes, photography equipment, screen-printing screens… the list goes on.

Another drawback is I often require a space that allows me to work on a large scale, or get messy with materials. This just isn’t possible in a fully furnished room.

5. It can get lonely

Working from home can be quite a solitary experience, especially if you live alone.

It’s easy for cabin fever to set in when you have a big project on your hands and you haven’t left your office or studio in quite sometime.

It can also be stressful when you’re wracking your brain for a solution and don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off, or you’re unsure of how to do something and only have yourself to rely on.

I make a point of getting out of the house as much as I can to see friends and interact with other people without having to use a computer screen to do so.

I still love working from home

Despite these drawbacks, I still really enjoy being able to make a living from the comfort of my own home.

The freedom and relaxed nature of the environment is great for my productivity, plus I save on the cost of having to commute to a work place and/or pay for a studio (though I am debating renting a studio space in the near future).

If you plan to work from home, it’s important to be focussed.

It’s also worth discussing your situation with anyone you might be living with to ensure they understand that whilst you’re home, you’re working.

How to increase productivity as a freelancer

Let me just say, working from home is brilliant! Being your own boss is incredibly liberating and it’s great to not have to commute during rush-hour traffic (though there are a few drawbacks).

But when you’re your own boss, it’s easy to fall into ‘slacker mode’ where you find it a struggle to get motivated and get anything done. And when that happens, it’s a quick decline for your reputation, and your business.

So what can you do to ensure you stay productive and get work done?

1. Get up and get dressed

woman in pyjamas relaxing reading a book

It’s hard to focus on your workload if you sleep late and sit around in your pyjamas and slippers.

I actually find walking to the local shop in the mornings helps me to focus on my day. It gives me a reason to get dressed and look presentable, the change of scenery stops me getting cabin fever and the exercise is good for me.

Plus, when I get home it’s like I’m arriving at work and my day begins (though I do wear my slippers – it’s one of the perks of working from home).

2. Have a designated working space

If you’re working in the same space that you relax inyou’ll find yourself relaxing when you should be working (and vice versa!).

It’s important to have a designated area where you can focus solely on work, be it the kitchen table, a spare bedroom, or your garden shed. You might even decide to build a home office.

Some people find it’s easier to work away from home. such as at a local coffee shop (often referred to as a coffice) or a shared working space, to avoid the ‘being at home’ mindset completely.

Again, you can treat arriving at your designated location as arriving at work.

3. Avoid distractions

woman in red using laptop

Social media notifications are some of the most distracting things I’ve ever encountered. The same goes for emails and text messages.

To avoid the temptation of checking your Tweets, close the internet browser tabs you don’t need to have open. It’s also worth closing your email client and opening it again once you’ve finished your work.

I tend to ignore text messages whilst I’m working but will answer calls as they’re likely to be clients anyway.

4. Do one thing at a time

It’s easy to get swamped by work when you run your own business, as there always seems to be lots of little jobs that need doing that take up all your time.

Having a ‘to-do’ list with each task for the day can help you prioritise jobs. Anything that takes less than 10 minutes to do, you should do straight away.

You’ll suddenly find with those inconvenient little jobs out of the way your workload has dropped and you’re free to focus on your more involved projects.

5. Have a deadline

hour glass

Nothing gets you working like the sweaty fear of missing a deadline. Deadlines are great for productivity because they give you a target to focus on and work towards.

If your client doesn’t give you a deadline, set your own and reward yourself when you beat it.

Sometimes I aim to have all my current work completed by Thursday so that I can reward myself with a three-day weekend.

The secret to getting more done

There’s really no secret to getting all your work done, aside from just getting on with it.

Even though you’re your own boss, try to treat your working day as you would if you were working for someone else; have set working hours, be presentable, and don’t slack off.

Be sure to give yourself time in the evenings and at weekends to unwind and relax, so that you have something to look forward to whilst you’re working

How do you stay productive?