What are Disadvantages of Work-From-Home Employment?

Mary Elizabeth

Home employment comes with benefits and disadvantages, partly depending on your personality type and how being at home feels to you. Whether the disadvantages outweigh the advantages is partly a matter of your personal context and taste.

Work-from home employment may not pay as much as regular jobs, causing employees to have to do more work to earn the same amount.
Work-from home employment may not pay as much as regular jobs, causing employees to have to do more work to earn the same amount.

Too Much of a Good Thing Some people revel in avoiding a commute and working from home, but for others the sameness everyday is boring rather than stimulating. Some people miss meetings and gatherings at the water cooler.

Balancing child care and work can be difficult when working from home.
Balancing child care and work can be difficult when working from home.

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Lead Us Not into Temptation Home employment means you don’t have to pack a lunch before you head out or spend money buying lunch, but it does mean that the refrigerator and pantry cupboard with snacks are always just a few steps away. For that matter, so is a good book, the television, the X-box, and the iPod. If you have trouble stepping away from the entertainment center and settling down to work, home employment may be a trial more than a boon.

Virtual assistants are usually independent contractors, which means they pay for everything related to their businesses out of their own pockets.
Virtual assistants are usually independent contractors, which means they pay for everything related to their businesses out of their own pockets.

Boundary-free Is Not Always Good Sometimes it’s easier for children to know that mom or dad is working if mom or dad is away at the office. When mom or dad works from home, it may be hard to get other family members to respect work time—and that includes Fido. Even neighbors and friends who aren’t in tune with your routine may make assumptions and infringe on your work time because they assume that being at home means “not-at-work.”

Some people find it hard to work alone.
Some people find it hard to work alone.

The Overhead Is All Yours In an office, the lighting and the heat and the rent and the copy machine and maybe even the coffee and doughnuts are not on your tab. At home, it’s all your game. The cost of insurance and taxes are all yours, too. Sure, you can deduct some health insurance costs on your tax return, but you have to pay for it before you can deduct it. And there’s nobody to pick up the employer’s part of your Social Security tab if you’re self-employed, so you end up paying a higher percentage.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind Even if you work regularly for the same company and with the same in-office contacts, it’s easier to get lost in the shuffle when you’re not in the office, especially if you’ve never met your “co-workers” in person. This distance may affect a number of areas, including: making sure your invoices are processed in a timely fashion, being on equal footing in receiving promotions or special assignment opportunities, and receiving important office news, such as the boss’s vacation schedule.

A mom who works from home may need to arrange her tasks around her child's nap or activity schedule.
A mom who works from home may need to arrange her tasks around her child's nap or activity schedule.

Discussion Comments

lil_moon

I've worked from home for a little while, and I think more than anything, I just miss interacting with coworkers on a daily basis. I used to love to make cookies and other treats to bring to the office, and now there's no one to share them with!

My biggest problem isn't the distraction of food or entertainment, really - it's chores. I keep thinking that it would only take me a minute to load the dishwaser/put in a load of laundry/vacuum/etc.

And my cat jumped in front of my webcam in the middle of a meeting today.

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