3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Decide to Work from Home

There’s no doubt about it. Working from home is great. As they say, you can work in your pajamas. You can throw a load of laundry in the washing machine in between phone calls, and you don’t have a boss checking your every move. All that’s great, but before you decide to work from home there are three things you need to ask yourself.

Should You Work from Home? It’s Not All Roses & Cherry Cream

You know, I’ve worked from home for years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That doesn’t mean, however, that everything is great about it.

There are some downsides, and you need to know, now, before you take the plunge whether or not you have the personality to deal with them.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working from home as an employee for a company or you are working for yourself, you need to get real for a minute and make sure this is the move for you.

It’s easy to list the pros but here are three cons when you work from home.

1. You are alone – In fact, you are alone…all…of…the…time. For some people, this sounds like sheer heaven. Ye Haw! No boss or coworkers to drive you crazy.

And you’re right. That is great. You are alone…all…of…the…time. For some people, this sounds like sheer heaven. Ye Haw! No boss or coworkers to drive you crazy. And you’re right. That is great.

However…it also means there is no one to talk to. No one to bounce ideas off of, and no one to blame when things go wrong. (Okay…I know you wouldn’t do that, but I just wanted to throw it in.)

For example, for the last five years, I have been doing freelance writing for small to medium-sized, and even some very large, companies. Even so, I can go weeks without talking to any of my clients on the phone.

I’ve never met any of them face-to-face, and I’ve never even spoken with 75 percent of them on the phone.

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All communication is through email.

Personally, I don’t mind that, but it can be isolating. Especially when you like to hear your own voice as much as I do! I kid…but seriously…can you handle the silence?

Sure, some work-at-home jobs or businesses have more contact with the outside world, but it doesn’t change the fact that you will be alone for a good part of the day.

Personally, I find myself wanting to get out of the house and just go sit in a Starbucks for an hour just to be around people.

The problem is, I live in the middle of a cornfield and have to drive half an hour just to get to a Starbucks, so that doesn’t happen very often.

2. You have to motivate yourself – There’s something to be said about having a job where you’ll get fired if you don’t do yours. That provides plenty of motivation, but what about when you’re the boss?

With no one looking over your shoulder, you have to push yourself to get the work done.

Sure, I can hear you thinking to yourself right now, “That woman’s crazy! I’ve got plenty of motivation. I want to be a success!”

I’m sure you do. We all have things in our life that push us. From providing for our families to our pride, but let me give you a little warning, folks. Those motivations don’t always want to show up every day.

Sometimes, you’re tired because you didn’t sleep well the night before, and hey, the bed is just a few feet away. Other times, it is gray and cold out, and curling up under a warm blanket with a good book sounds a lot better than working.

Or…Mr. Procrastination waltzes in the door. Here he is. Take a good look at him. Doesn’t he look nice?

Oh, I know the Sirens’ song of Mr. Procrastination. He sings so sweetly. He offers such fun. “That article can wait until later,” he said. “Let’s go to the mall or out for lunch instead. It will be fun,” he said.

Mr. Procrastination talks to me quite a bit. In fact, we’re on a first-name basis. If you’re wondering, his first name is Walter.

But I digress. The point is, you need to be sure you can motivate yourself day in and day out to get the work done, even when you don’t want to. If not, you won’t last long working from home.

3. Here’s the flip side – You need to be able to stop working. When you have a regular job it isn’t difficult to stop working. All you do is leave the office and go home.

Sure, in today’s world it is getting harder to do that, and companies expect their employees to be available in one form or other more often.

Even still, it is easier to shut off the workday when you don’t work from home.

When you’re at home relaxing with your family, you know there is a pile of work just waiting for you in the other room. It too can call your name. Now the question is, are you going to answer that call?

Do you get up, leave your family, and go back to work? Are you going to let clients call you at all hours and you actually pick up the phone and talk to them?

Are you going to hear yourself saying, “Just five more minutes, hun,” and then look up at the clock and realize it’s two in the morning and five minutes was four hours ago.

Before you decide to work from home, you need to make sure you can close the door at the end of the workday and have a balanced life. Just because you technically never leave work, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mentally do so.

You’ll find if you can’t it won’t be long before your family life and work-life both start to suffer.

Now it’s up to you to really give some serious thought to these three questions. Don’t brush them off. Do yourself a favor and really think about them.

Then when you decide to work from home, you’ll know you are mentally and emotionally prepared to handle the pros and the cons.

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