For many, working from home feels like a dream. There's no commute, you can wear what you want, and you don't have to deal with the stuffy office environment. However, while many people want to work from home, it's not always the best choice. In fact, you could end up getting less done than you would if you were at your desk in the office. Here are three reasons why your productivity drops when you work from home, and why you should think about this lifestyle before you fully adopt it.
Coworkers Keep You Accountable
While it's possible to get distracted in the office by a cute co-worker or fun new app, your coworkers are able to keep you on track. There's always the possibility that they will drop by your desk to ask you something and wonder why you're not doing work.
When you're working from home, there's no one there to make you stay focused. No one will notice if you take a long lunch or get distracted by the TV. For some people, this isn't a problem. They can motivate themselves and tune out distractions. However, this can be a serious issue for those who get pulled away without anyone to reel them back to work.
You Don't Invest in the Right Furniture
Just because you can work from your bed doesn't mean you should. There's a psychological aspect to investing in office furniture that's different from the rest of your living space. By actually "going" to work each day, meaning sitting at a desk that you don't otherwise sit in or entering an office that's a different room in your home, your brain triggers a work mode and helps your focus. Whereas if you're working from your couch or from your bed, your brain is associating that location with rest and relaxation.
This can even have consequences outside of work. Doctors have found that people who work, eat, and spend a great deal of time in their beds have more sleep problems because the brain doesn't associate the space with rest. This could make it harder to work if you're not getting a full night's rest.
Personal Time Chips Into Office Time
Most people who work from home log into their work emails or computers at the same time every day — typically around nine. However, that doesn't mean they're doing office work the whole day. Some people will wake up at 8:50, log in at nine and then start making breakfast. They might also wash dishes or do a load of laundry during the day.
While it might not seem like doing laundry takes away much of your time, all of these personal tasks add up. You could easily lose two to three hours of your day by taking small 15-minute breaks at a time to complete chores.
Before you commit to working from home, run a test program for a few days to see if you're just as productive. Set goals for yourself. If all goes well, then you can consider making it a permanent life choice.
Image credit: via Flickr by blupics