Why I Hate Working from Home

by Lauren Bowling on June 21, 2013

Working From HomeYou are going to laugh when you read this, but I fought hard for the right to work from home. I dug up emails and studies to use as examples when I met with my boss. I argued that I did my best and most creative work “from home,” and I was more productive during the rest of the week because I didn’t have to fight traffic one less day of the week.

And then I started working from home for the past few weeks…. and I realized that maybe I didn’t like it so much.

I just wrote an earlier piece about corporate office mantras and how I find them useless, but I think I may be one of the few people who actually enjoys going into the office day in and day out. I’m lucky, I have a really great office, it is aesthetically appealing (I helped design it!), I work with nice people and the higher ups are really flexible about letting you take care of the things you need to take care of during the day. It is a great place to work, and I know I’m lucky, but working from home was something I dreamed of doing my entire life. TV on in the background, wearing your comfy clothes, taking breaks to walk the dog or run errands during the day. What’s not to like?

Reasons Why I Hate Working From Home

Until, I realized maybe it made me less productive. And less productive equals less money, at least for me and my blog/writing gigs it does. It is really hard to motivate yourself, and working from home eliminates several of the core needs  experts say are essential to being your most productive.

1) A designated work space. This goes right out the window when I work from home. I work from my laptop on the couch in the living room, on the table in the dining room, and on my bed so I can snuggle with my dog.

2) Designated work hours. One of the best parts about working from home is that even though you have to be online certain hours, you can do your work anytime. Which is great! Except, I realized how much I loved being able to leave work at work at 5:30, come home and spend time with my significant other and my pup. It’s nice to take breaks, but having that work looming over me because I spent two of my afternoon work hours in a popsicle/sugar induced coma and needed a nap is probably not the best way to spend the day. It makes the day seem forever long, and with no one else around to talk to, I get pretty lonely.

3) A designated work outfit. I love being in my yoga pants all day. Actually, it might be one of my most favorite things, but the ritual of getting dressed in “real” clothes (a.k.a. not something with hummus stains on it) and being physically ready to greet my day helps mentally prepare me for the work ahead. Which allows me to be more productive. You may love the idea of working from home for this reason as well, but your entire life you have been hardwired to accept that Pj’s are for sleeping, regular clothes are for working. Clothes really can affect your emotions and mental state, and I’ve learned that the hard way this week.

I think initially I fought so hard to work from home because I wanted to have that flexibility in my life, but at the end of the day I realized I already have an office culture like that. Sure, I have to fight traffic an extra hour each week, but the productive time and mental feel-good I get from not disrupting my routine is worth the extra time in my car. At least to me. Isn’t that the irony of the things we want most. When we get them, we realize we don’t need them anymore.

Do you work from home? How does your productivity compare to working in an office?

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Lauren Bowling

Lauren Bee is a freelance writer and social media specialist based in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing for One Smart Dollar, she is hard at work blogging over at L Bee and the Money Tree. Lauren enjoys editing, red wine, karaoke and the color pink.

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  • Daniel

    I worked from home for awhile and was so unproductive. I couldn’t find a reason to work because I could procrastinate, I would watch a lot of TV and couldn’t find a good place in the house to sit (or stand, which I tried for awhile). I’m definitely happier being back at work!

    • I have been working at home for about five years now. I find that I am able to do it fairly well because when I don’t work, I don’t get paid. That is pretty good motivation for me. 🙂

  • Scott Sery

    I’m in the same boat. I found that micro-goals are great for me since as soon as I start working EVERYTHING online becomes the most interesting thing in the world. So I have to sit down and tell myself “30 minutes of work, then I can take a break.” It helps a little.

  • I like working from home on a random basis. I love going into the office because I like my coworkers. When I get the chance to work from home, I do enjoy it.

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  • Francieidy

    Funny, I just had this discussion with someone this morning of how I’m brainwashed into getting up and getting dressed and going out of the house for work that I’d go crazy sitting at home all day. It does have its perks though.

  • Common Cents Wealth

    You bring up some great points here. I love working from home, but I can admit that I don’t get as much done. It almost feels like a vacation day when I’m home all day. I only like to do it when I don’t have much at the office to do anyways. I completely agree that dressing up gets me in the right mindset to work and if I’m in my scrubs, I won’t do as good of work.

  • Emily1970

    I don’t have an issue with getting things done while working at home – in fact, it can be hard to ‘turn it off’ at a reasonable hour. And sure I go late a lot because I did do something in the middle of the day off the radar. What I find hard about working at home is how isolating it is – I am working now on 2.5 years self employed working at home. The good news is very good income, the bad news is what it has done to my social life.

  • I agree with you. I agree that there is no line when you work from home because you don’t just turn it off. Great read!

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