Working from home isn’t all pajamas and frozen pizzas. It can be tough to stay on task, and even tougher to maintain your social connections.
But as you might have discovered, working from home also has its upsides. Without a commute, you can get more sleep or make more of your mornings. And if you have kids, you might save money on your babysitting bill.
If you’re considering making the switch, know that working from home has its pros and cons. Weigh these seven things nobody tells you about working from home before making the call:
Some roles are more flexible than others.
Many people turn to remote work because they want the flexibility it offers. The truth is, some work-from-home opportunities are more flexible than others.
If you’re an Uber driver, go ahead: Work whenever and wherever you want. But if you’re a tax consultant, you may need to maintain a 9-to-5 schedule or work extra hours around tax deadlines.
Regardless, trying to juggle work time and off time can be stressful. To avoid tearing your hair out, segment time for work and time for yourself. If you focus on your work for the first half of the day, perhaps you can spend the second half enjoying your hobbies.
Many remote positions are contracted.
Companies are generally more willing to hire remote contractors than salaried employees. Because they can’t manage the number of hours these workers put in on a given day, they prefer to pay by the project.
Gig workers need to handle their finances differently than employed workers. While contracted roles often pay more, they rarely qualify for employee benefits, such as retirement plans and health insurance. Contractors also need to withhold their own taxes, including self-employment tax.
To make it work, you have to budget well. Setting up an LLC is also a smart idea, which lets you write off business expenses in order to save on taxes.
Incentives can sweeten the deal.
Some corporations and even cities are getting creative to lure remote workers to their area. By drawing in new residents, they grow their labor pool and local economy?
What sort of incentives are on the menu? Public and for-profit groups are offering everything from relocation reimbursement to student loan assistance. If you’re looking for a fresh start, consider taking one of these organizations up on their offer.
Home offices are helpful but not required.
A home office can certainly make the transition to remote work easier, but it isn’t required. All you need, ultimately, are the right tools. If you’re a freelance writer, that may be as little as a computer, an internet connection, and word processing software.
If you have kids at home, finding a space where you can focus can be more difficult. Setting up shop in the dining room can work, as long as the kiddos know not to use the space during your work hours. If not, something as simple as a spot on the couch can work.
Loneliness is an issue.
The freedom of remote work is wonderful, but beware of loneliness. Being trapped at home day after day can do a number on your mental health.
When you’re working from home, look for opportunities to get out of the house. Find ways to socialize and stay involved in your community. Make time every day to take a walk or call a friend.
Work-life balance is tougher to find.
When you work in an office, your commute acts as a natural boundary between your personal and professional lives. At home, you have to be deliberate.
Implement rituals that help you detach at the end of the day. Maybe you exercise right after closing up shop, or perhaps you dig into a hobby. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to take your mind off work.
It’s easier to get healthy.
One of the greatest blessings of working from home is the relative ease of eating well and staying fit. When you’re at home, it’s a lot easier to stick to your meal plan or go for a jog.
Put together a meal plan and a fitness routine. If getting enough sleep is an issue for you, sleep in with the time you save commuting.
Working from home is a great opportunity if you can muster the discipline. Be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly, and you may wonder why you didn’t go remote sooner.