• Advice

The pros and cons of working from home

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

Working from home is every freelancer’s dream, right?

Sure, working where I hang my hat has its advantages, but let’s be real here. Some days it’s more like a nightmare.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and where I do it. For me, no commute and a flexible schedule means that I can manage care for my autistic son and chaperone field trips for my daughter, but it also means missing out on a quiet morning commute and monthly birthday celebrations.

So before you leave your 9-5 to freelance from home or start scouring job boards for remote opportunities, consider these pros and cons of working at home.

The Cons

1) Your home is full of distractions.
Beeping dryers, barking dogs and buzzing lawnmowers are just some of the distractions that I deal with on a daily basis. It’s not just noise that can knock you off track, it can also be looming chores or needy family members. It’s helpful to designate an area of your home as a work space. If you don’t have room for a home office, at least set up a desk that is only used during working hours.

2) Friends and family assume that you have more time than you do. Just because you don’t have to drive to the office doesn’t mean that your workload has disappeared. Unless you set firm boundaries, others may assume that you can come can go as you please, which can leave you working late into the evening in an attempt to catch up. Before you set up shop at home, communicate with family, friends and co-workers so that you don’t end up overextended.

3) You miss out on water cooler chat.
This one needs no explaining. Working from home can be isolating, so make time for lunch with friends and colleagues so that you don’t get overwhelmed and lonely.

The Pros

1) You have full control over your environment.
Work better with a candle scenting the room or talk radio piping through your speakers? Go, ahead, you’re in control! For some, working in their comfort zone ups productivity.

2) There’s no need to worry about office drama.
No office, no office drama, or at least minimal office drama. When you work from home, you get to focus on work, without the daily politics that permeate some office settings.

3) You’ll save money you never even realized that you were spending.
It’s not just gas money you’ll be saving when you work from home. If trips to the lunch cart or coffee shop are a part of your daily routine, you might find that working at home leaves more money in your wallet. Before you assume that you’ll save money by working at home though, think about what you’ll invest in internet service, electric and other at-home costs. Even with these expenses factored in, you’ll likely find that working at home makes good economic sense.

Do you work remotely? How do you stay motivated and manage your workload?

Jennifer Costa is a Freelance Writer and Marketing Consultant for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises. She is also the author of The Conscious Parent's Guide to Positive Discipline. You can learn more about her on her her website.