Working from home as a freelancer or a remote worker for a company has some obvious perks. Who really likes rushing into the office at 9 am?
However, there are also a number of challenges that you must overcome to succeed as a home worker. Let’s take a closer look …
6 Challenges Faced When You Work From Home
Technology has certainly made it easier for home workers to stay connected to their clients or bosses, but no amount of email or instant messaging can replace face-to-face communication at the workplace.
You will always be at the mercy of the recipient’s willingness (or unwillingness) to reply.
It goes both ways too. Once, your boss may have come over to your desk to explain an issue or task and everything will have been understood in a single conversation – today they might have to email you or update the online project folder, wait for you to see it and respond, and ultimately waste a lot of time if the initial message is misunderstood.
Some people who work from home may have never even met their colleagues, clients or superiors face-to-face.
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#2. Lack of Discipline
As much as working from home has its benefits – you don’t have to wear work attire, can be more flexible with your time; you can quite literally lay on the couch with your laptop, a tub of ice-cream at the side, with Netflix playing in the background – there will come a point when you have to fight against the urge to be lazy and stay motivated.
If you’re someone that benefits from the structure and rules of a traditional workplace environment, who needs a boss breathing down your neck and business-casual attire to keep you focused, working from home in any capacity is going to be a challenge.
When you’re not in a workplace environment get prepared for distractions. This includes everything from your own weaknesses (such as the TV or social media), to other family members going about their day, to the cat jumping on your keyboard.
One tip to get you in a workplace-like zone is to set up a home office in a dedicated room, with a computer or laptop that you don’t use for entertainment. Giving yourself set hours and dressing like you would in the office also helps you to stay focused.
#4. Freelancing Uncertainties
If you’re freelancing and aren’t an employed remote worker, there are all sorts of uncertainties and extra challenges that you may face.
Firstly, your income will vary from month to month (i.e. you aren’t paid a salary). This can be stressful and makes it difficult to budget, especially when you first start out. You may need to take out loans or credit to bridge the gap during downtime.
There is also uncertainty about where your next project will come from and sometimes even if the client will pay on time. One day you’re working for a small business in Florida, the next an individual in Europe.
Freelancers also tend to register as self-employed, which means handling your own taxes. Sometimes, keeping track of invoices can be a job in itself.
Working from home can be quite isolating if you’re someone that values the daily social side of a typical workplace. Digital correspondence just isn’t the same.
To overcome this, you will need to make the extra effort to meet friends for lunch or to find social activities in the evening. Depending on your location, you might be able to find a co-working / remote workers hubs, where freelancers and remote workers create their own office environment.
Of course, for others, working from home away from the hustle and bustle is what they desire.
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While you may have to face laziness as a home worker, at times you might overwork yourself as well. This is especially true if you have a family and other responsibilities. It’s easy to take on extra tasks like looking after the kids and doubling as the homemaker because it seems more efficient.
Both yourself and other family members might not appreciate the time you need to spend on your job and you can easily end up with too many extra chores.
Working from home isn’t for everyone, but if the freedom appeals to you and you are prepared for the above challenges, you can definitely have a rewarding experience.