Working from home can be a blessing or a curse. The freedom that comes with working out of the house is luxurious -- you set your own hours, take breaks when necessary, run errands as needed, procrastinate work projects in more constructive ways such as playing with the dog (that's a joke). The possibilities are endless.
At the same time, sticking to a schedule isn’t easy if you’re the scheduler. It takes discipline to adhere to a routine because nobody is around to hold you accountable. Need to catch up on the Golden Girls? Sure, go for it. Want to walk your dog for yet another walk around the block? Sure. Would watching another YouTube video on stupid school pranks be enlightening? Of course it would -- only to the extent that you’re willing to face just how unproductive you’ve been.
There are myriad challenges that those of us home-workers face daily, and the good news is, if you can identify the challenge then you can strategize how to beat it. Here are six challenges founders -- or anybody who works from home for that matter -- face while working in the home office:
1. Your home turns into your cave.
In other words, you never really stop working. All your projects, paperwork are right there which makes it difficult to flip the switch from being at work to being at home.
2. You forget to dress (up).
When you’re used to wearing your pajamas all day, putting on your adult clothes can seem like a real chore. After all, you’re used to wearing a “wife beater” tank top and oversized gym shorts because they’re comfortable, so why would you want to wear anything else?
3. You turn into a hermit.
In the absence of a spouse or pet, working from home can get lonely. There’s no social interaction except when you go to Starbucks and order a tall skinny upside down mocha frappuccino with whipped cream and soy milk, and the only reason you placed such a long order was so you could actually speak words to another human.
4. You have deep conversations with yourself.
It’s okay to talk to yourself, if talking to yourself is a sign of self-confidence. It’s when those self-talks turn into full blown conversations with yourself that cause others to second look (i.e. check your sanity) that things become awkward.
5. You get lured by the bright shiny ball.
With the Internet at your fingertips and nobody “watching” you, it’s easy to fall prey to what I call cyber-wander. You know, bouncing from web page to web page with no real purpose other than to just, well, wander? It feels productive because you get immediate feedback (you find what you’re looking for), but it’s not work related. Oops.
6. You feel guilty.
Yes, it’s a challenge for some home-based employees because not everybody gets the opportunity. Working from home is considered a privilege in many companies, which places a larger onus upon the employee to prove he or she is being productive. Yes, this is a mental challenge to overcome because it’s self-inflicted, but it’s a challenge nonetheless.
Don’t get me wrong, working from home is both an honor and a privilege. However, just as going into the office has its challenges, so too does waking up to go nowhere. Choose your challenges carefully.