Working from home has its advantages. Take working in yoga pants and being able to stay home with your kids, for example. However, as with any career, those that choose to work from home also experience downfalls that are specific to telecommuting workers.
Below, we’ll discuss three common work at home downfalls and the simple ways to fix them.
Working at Home is Lonely
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in work and forget to do social things when you work from home. Many WAH workers often find that they don’t leave the house for days at a time. And when they do manage to get out of the house, it’s often to run errands. This can lead to depression and feeling as if you’re overworked and exhausted.
An easy way to combat the loneliness of working at home is to schedule time to get away from home on a regular basis. Now, if you have a jam-packed work schedule, it’s easy to create a laundry list of excuses as to why you don’t have time to leave your home office. But, there’s no need to sacrifice your work in favor of being social.
Make it a priority to work in a coffee shop or library at least twice per week. You can still maintain your concentration on work while being in a social setting. Engaging in small talk with other patrons and people-watching will wash away the burden of seclusion and provide you with a much-needed change of scenery.
Constant Interruptions from Loved Ones
When you first make the switch to working from home, friends and family may not respect your work hours. It’s common for friends to ask you to watch their children when their sitter cancels because “you’re home all day” and have a neighbor drop in unannounced to discuss the latest neighborhood gossip. Family members and friends will likely call throughout the day just to chat. If you’re a WAHM, your kids may demand playtime when you’re trying to finish up an important project.
Those that work from home need to be great at setting boundaries. Set your work hours and let everyone in your life know that you will not respond to any interruptions during this time. Ignore calls throughout the day, let your kids know when mommy can play (this only works with older kids), be firm with babysitting requests and turn away any unexpected visitors.
No, it isn’t very polite to treat your loved ones this way. But, every interruption is cutting into your earnings. If they want you to succeed, they’ll understand and be supportive of your need for uninterrupted work hours.
If you’re self-employed, your earnings likely vary from month to month. Some months you’ll have more work than you can handle. Other months, you’ll barely make enough to cover your rent. Freelancers call this the feast or famine cycle. It’s a good idea to set aside a portion of your earnings during the “feast” months in order to help you get through the months when money is running low.
The best way to combat the feast or famine cycle is to always market yourself and your business. Apply to jobs every morning, even if you’re currently fully booked. Send out cold emails and query letters several times per week, even if you can’t accept new clients for the next two months.
It may seem like a waste of time to seek out work when you’re unable to take it. But, some jobs will get back to you months later, when you have an opening in your schedule. Or, they’ll be able to schedule your project to begin within several weeks. If you aren’t consistently making an effort to get new work, you’re more likely to experience those financially terrifying famine months – and they’re never any fun.