Disadvantages of Working From Home and How to Mitigate Them
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 30 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Deciding to work from home can be a beneficial step in any career. You may decide to work from home for a number of reasons, including spending more time with your family or reducing your commute. While working from home can have its advantages, it has disadvantages too. In this article, we learn about the disadvantages of working from home and the changes that you can make to mitigate them.
10 disadvantages of working from home and how to mitigate them
Having your home environment become your working environment can be a positive change, but it may take some planning to make sure you are successful. If you've decided to work from home, also consider its disadvantages and learn how to mitigate them. Solving the issues that arise from working from home may improve your experience and productivity. Some of the most common complaints from those who work from their home are:
1. More distractions
While an office environment can be busy and distracting, your home may be even more so. You may have family members or pets at home to distract you. Feeling obliged to help someone at home when you are working is something many working professionals who make this workplace change experience. House projects or chores may distract you as well.
To mitigate these issues, try setting clear boundaries with your family members. This could mean setting out times of the day that you will work and they can't talk to you or distract you unless it is an emergency. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones may also help if your family is loud or there are loud noises like a busy road outside your house.
2. Lack of equipment
An office typically has all the equipment you could need for work. As you work from home, you may not have all the equipment needed, so working from home may be potentially less comfortable. This could create productivity and workflow issues because of the lack of resources available at home.
When mitigating this issue, consider utilising the equipment you have and request more if you need it. Many people already have a table that they can work from, meaning asking for a desk may not be necessary. You may need an office chair as fewer people have them at home. Your workplace may provide you with an office chair if you request it because they often recognise negative health implications like back pain without the support of a comfortable chair. This also applies to laptops, which some employers may provide you with if necessary.
3. Technical problems
You may have technical problems with your laptop or Internet connection. Not every Wi-Fi provider will give you the same coverage that you may expect at work. This might make the video calls poorer in quality and communication harder. Most organisations have an IT department, and while it was easy previously to pop down to ask a question, this could be more difficult when working from home.
To mitigate this, keep in contact with the IT department. Learn about the procedures that your company has for IT problems and follow them, even if this means a phone call rather than a face-to-face conversation. If your problem is not solvable through troubleshooting methods, your company may let you borrow hardware or pay for your Internet provider upgrade.
4. Accessing relevant information
Your job may require you to access information in files, folders or books. Whilst most organisations digitise data like this, others keep hard copies. If your organisation only has hard copies, you may have difficulty accessing them when working from home. To mitigate this, work with the records department in the organisation to receive up-to-date information on time. Also, keep in contact with the relevant department and request information as early as you can. This way, they can get it over to you with minimal delay.
5. Minimal colleague interaction
Office work may provide many opportunities to talk with your colleagues. This may be at your desk, in the hallway or in the office kitchen. Having conversations with your colleagues not only gives you some socialising time, but it can also help you come up with new ideas for office productivity or new ways to deal with a problem.
To mitigate this, have conversations with your colleagues. Don't let working from home stop you from socialising. If your colleagues work from home too, they may want to chat as much as you do. Try having an open group chat for your colleagues which is separate from the more formal groups that the whole office is in so you can continue to socialise without involving the entire office.
6. Lack of motivation or productivity
Working from home can cause a decrease in productivity and motivation for some people. This may be due to distractions around your home. It could also be because you associate the working space with relaxing rather than work.
To mitigate this, keep yourself accountable. Try writing everything that you would like to do in the day and tick off the tasks as you do them. A physical list may encourage you to complete your tasks rather than leaving them for a later date. It may also help to have other people keeping you accountable. Consider having an online group document with your colleagues for you all to write your tasks to encourage you all to complete your work.
7. Mental health implications
Some people find working from home can impact their mental health. This may be due to reduced socialisation, less physical activity or being in the same space all day. Working from home could impact your mental health without you recognising it through feeling progressively less happy, more stressed, less motivated or having more difficulty leaving the house.
To mitigate, understand what you need to succeed. Your mental health is personal to you. Finding out how you can work from home without sacrificing your mental health is important for your well-being. This may mean taking breaks when you need to, setting limits on the hours you can work or making the effort to socialise with people outside of the house.
8. Beginning a job can be difficult
Starting a new job can be tricky when working from home, both for the employee starting and the colleagues training them. If you are in either of these positions, you may find it difficult to train others. It may also be more difficult to learn new skills when working from home.
To mitigate this issue, implement or suggest some activities that the office can do together. This will encourage colleagues to talk and learn about each other. You may implement or suggest team-building activities so that colleagues can collaborate and bond. This could be with an online game, dinner or lunch or with a video call or even fitness classes.
9. Work-home balance is off
When you work from the place that you typically relax in, you may find it difficult to separate the two. This could mean a reduction in productivity in your working day and trouble relaxing once you're finished. You may even find yourself working later than you would in an office because all your working equipment is there and you have a project to finish.
To mitigate, consider setting a time limit that you can't work beyond in the evening. If you have the space, it may be helpful to have a separate working area from your relaxation area, like a desk in another room or in a different area of the same room to where you relax and do your hobbies.
10. Reduced physical activity
When working from an office instead of at home, you may have had many subtle opportunities for exercise that you didn't recognise at the time. This may be walking to the train station, walking to the office or even walking to the car. The time you may have spent walking around the office to meetings and to other areas could have had a positive impact on your physical health. Without the reason to walk around, many people miss out on this physical activity when working from home.
To mitigate this, take time in the day to move around. This doesn't need to be excessive. It could be simply doing some stretches in the morning before work and going on a walk in the afternoon. You could take up some exercise classes which you could either do from home or travel to. Yoga is a type of fitness that you can do at home through videos online with many classes for each level, from beginner to expert. Attending a class in person may give you a reason to leave the house and socialise.
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