Working From Home: The Top 5 Pitfalls To Avoid

Know the pitfalls and mistakes people make when working from home so that you will be productive.

Making the choice to work from home can be a thrilling experience. Knowing that you will not have a need to share personal space with another employee can make your days lighter and more productive. This is true of the entrepreneur or the home worker still tied to a corporate environment.

If you are unprepared and ill-informed about the reality of working from home you may have some trouble once you are there. Here are the five top pitfalls to know before accepting at home work status. If you know you will have problems with any one or more of these you may want to reconsider whether to work from home or how you will approach working from home.


1. The separation of work and family - This is a big one to overcome and is a definite disadvantage for many people who are unable to do so. While it is a wonderful thing to be able to throw a load of laundry in when you take your morning break or to take care of sick children who have stayed home for the day, home life can creep into a workday very easily. This can cause distraction and low productivity as the family needs keep you from getting your required work completed.

Solve this issue by laying ground rules for everyone involved and stick to them. Having a parent working at home can be a way of delegating responsibility to children and a great tool for building their self-esteem if structured well. If you are a parent that does not set boundaries easily then working at home may not be for you.

2. Working too much - Employers are often concerned that their at home workers will not get their work done and instead spend all their time watching television or chatting on the phone. The case is often the opposite, the worker feels compelled to keep working because the work is right in front of them. This can lead to burn out and a disproportionate amount of time created between work and play in the workers personal life.

If you are an entrepreneur and have established a portion of your home as your office, this can also happen to you. Assigning your self some away time or personal time from work is important. This can give you a perspective on your business that you would not otherwise have.

3. Isolation - Whether you feel this in regards to your fellow employees or you are a home business and feel you are isolated from the world in general, isolation is a debilitating issue for many. The solution is found in creating an equal relationship between a work and personal life, which often becomes one in the same. When planning your week make sure you include several lunches or dinners out with friends or colleagues. Add a hobby or favorite past-time event every week. Join organizations that are a part of your industry in order to meet others who may be in the same situation. This will do a lot for relieving the feelings of isolation.

If you are an employed-at-home worker, plan to meet your fellow office bound employees for lunch once a week and attend any in office meetings so that you can keep up with who is new, who has left and what the office gossip is. Although you may like working at home and may have eliminated the gossip and office pettiness that arises because you truly do not enjoy being a part of it, sometimes being isolated keeps you out of the promotion loop or prevents you from obtaining pertinent task or work related information. You still need to make sure you have eye contact with those you work for and with.

4. Self discipline - There are many of us who lack self-discipline. Working from home requires a great deal of self-discipline so if you are weak in this area and really want to work at home then you must acquire the skills necessary. Enroll in continuing education courses that will help you achieve your goals. Focus and create an environment that will assist you. Do not put yourself in the kitchen of your home to work unless you have the discipline to stay put for hours at a time. Instead create a proper office for yourself and a schedule for using the office. Inquire with your human resources department to find out if your employer will pay for any courses you are taking.

If you are an entrepreneur with self-discipline issues, you too should be educating yourself on proper work habits. You can write off many educational expenses as business expenses if they fit the requirements. Check with a professional to see which ones can be deducted.

5. Being taken seriously - This is a huge issue for entrepreneurs who have chosen to work from home and to a lesser degree for corporate at home workers. Establishing a professional schedule and creating a professional environment will go a long way toward this issue. If you know you will be having a conference call to seal a deal with a client do not allow your children to be playing in the background. Your client may laugh about the situation to you but the sound and possible image does nothing in the long run to boost your business image. It provides the client with the feeling that you may not understand what you are doing after all.

Establish ways of meeting your clients away from your home office. There are many corporate suites that allow for rental of conference rooms and offices on an as needed basis. Find these businesses and use them. Also, look for phone equipment headsets that provide the blocking of background noise.

Working from home can make your day smooth and productive if you are aware of the pitfalls. Knowing what those are can save you from possible failure.

© High Speed Ventures 2011