Common Work From Home Pitfalls

by WorkFromHome on December 21, 2011

From the outside, working from home can appear to be an ideal situation. No strict work hours, a more relaxed dress code and no rush-hour traffic to fight. But the reality of working from home can present many unique pitfalls that often stand in the way of success. Whether you are considering a work from home job or have already taken that step, it is best to know the obstacles you may be facing. Here are some common work from home pitfalls and tips on how to avoid them.

Too Many Interruptions

Unlike traditional work settings, a home can be a source of unending interruptions. Your spouse may have a question about the bills, your child just spilled a cup of juice on the sofa or your neighbor stops by for a chat even though you are only hours away from meeting a deadline. All too often, these interruptions can lead to unproductive work schedules and a lack of focus. Unless they are kept to a bare minimum you will find yourself constantly struggling to get your work completed.

Tip: Set clear rules with family members, neighbors and friends about interruptions during your working hours. They need to understand that the part of your home you have designated as your workspace is a place of business and needs to be treated as such. While this will not stop all interruptions, it will narrow them down to only the ones that are truly important.

People Don’t Take You Seriously

Even though home based jobs and businesses are some of the fastest growing employment sectors in the present economy, many people still have difficulty taking them seriously. This is usually due to a mindset stuck in traditional job choices and the stereotypes about home based work due to the many scams now populating the Internet. It is not uncommon when someone announces their choice to work from home to be met with disbelieving stares or questions about their plans for landing a “real” job. Eventually, this can lead to feelings of insecurity about working from home and a sharp drop in professional self-esteem.

Tip: Regardless of what others think, you have to constantly think of yourself as a legitimate business professional. Be tough, stay confident and reflect your professionalism in even the smallest details. A good example is having a telephone number dedicated strictly to business use. The quickest way to not be taken seriously is to have a potential client call what they think is a business number only to have a child answer in an unprofessional manner.

Loneliness

Working from home can often be a very isolating career choice. There are no longer co-workers to chat with about the latest gossip, no boss pushing you to complete a task ahead of deadline and no one to pat you on the back for a job well done. After a while, this isolation leaves many people feeling depressed and detached from the world around them.

Tip: Make it a priority to schedule times for being around people. This could include going to lunch with an old friend, attending community meetings or making a trip to the mall for some shopping. Regardless of the location, the important point is to find regular ways for interacting with others. Doing so will improve your spirit and isolate any feelings of loneliness.

Unsteady Incomes

Many home based jobs come with the reality of feast-or-famine incomes. There are no guaranteed paychecks, no sick days and no company retirement plans to borrow against. Compounding this problem is the lack of credit extended by banks to people working from home. For anyone used to being paid on either a salaried or hourly basis, not having steady incomes can be very disconcerting.

Tip: Accept that your incomes may be unsteady and plan accordingly. Working from home takes a thick skin and, in many cases, a sense of humor. When the money is coming in, put some aside for a rainy day. In the long run, if you work hard and stay positive the incomes will usually become much more steady.

Burnout

While working from home offers a lot of scheduling flexibility, it is also a situation that can easily lead to burnout. With the office always just a few steps away seven days a week, the tendency for becoming a workaholic all too often is the norm instead of the exception. This, unfortunately, is why burnout is the number one problem faced by those who work from home.

Tip: Schedule daily breaks and regular days off without exception. The only way to avoid burnout is to take care of yourself first. Not doing so will only lead to constant exhaustion and a decrease in your productivity.

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