Skip to main content

10 Disadvantages of Working Alone

Paul has worked in a variety of roles over the years, both as part of a team and solo. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

For 10 negatives of individual working, please read on . . .

For 10 negatives of individual working, please read on . . .

Going It Alone

Working individually has become increasingly common in recent years, thanks in large degree to many people now working remotely from home, enabled by advances in computer and communications technology.

While my experience is that there are many positives to working alone, this article looks at ten of the main downsides.

10 Negatives of Working Alone

Here are 10 downsides of working individually.

  1. Motivation issues
  2. Time management
  3. Less creativity
  4. No cover for illness and vacations
  5. Boredom
  6. Slovenliness
  7. Stress and isolation
  8. No help at hand
  9. Total responsibility
  10. No skill sharing

I explore each of the disadvantages of solo working below.

It can be easy to slip into periods of low productivity if you're not careful.

It can be easy to slip into periods of low productivity if you're not careful.

1. Motivation Issues

It can be difficult to motivate oneself without the energy that is generated by a busy and lively workplace, and many people can find it hard to motivate themselves without either supervision or peer pressure from coworkers. There is a lack of active encouragement, as well as the threat of being admonished.

Working individually requires a great deal of psychological self-discipline, as well as expertise, and it can be easy to slip into periods of low productivity if you're not careful.

Time management can be difficult when working alone.

Time management can be difficult when working alone.

2. Time Management

Prioritizing and organizing one's time schedule with regard to work is a particular skill. There are all sorts of pressures, both work-based and from one's private life, that can conflict. The boundaries between work and non-work time can become very blurred, especially if working from home. It can be easy to let non-work chores, such as childcare, or household chores, interfere with work duties.

At the other extreme, one can find oneself in work mode all the time, neglecting to take breaks and time off, and overworking.

3. Less Creativity

Without other people to feed you ideas or bounce ideas off, creativity can suffer. It can be easy to get into a rut, become bogged down with old or out-of-date plans and become tired and predictable. Some people are great workers but rely on others to provide the ideas that fuel creative projects, these people can struggle with working alone in jobs where innovation and imagination are required.

Who will cover for you if you get sick or go on vacation?

Who will cover for you if you get sick or go on vacation?

4. No Cover for Illness and Vacations

When you work as part of a team, and you are ill or wish to go on vacation, somebody else can usually cover for you, but when you work alone, these situations can be problematic. Some people end up having to try and continue working even when sick, which can exasperate health problems. Others may have to opt for working vacations or skip them altogether, leading to stress and burnout.

Creativity can be stifled if you don't have anyone to bounce ideas off of.

Creativity can be stifled if you don't have anyone to bounce ideas off of.

5. Boredom

Individual working can be boring. There is little or no stimulation from others and certainly nobody around you to interact with in person. There's just you, and it's easy to get tired of your own company. Whatever the downsides of working as a team, other people can make things more interesting and cause the day to pass by more quickly.

6. Slovenliness

Working alone every day can lead to a creeping degree of personal sloppiness if you're not careful. This can be especially true if you're working from home. When we work with others, we eat breakfast, shower, and dress appropriately before traveling to the workplace. Individual working can mean stumbling out of bed and eating a slice of toast in front of a computer screen, still dressed in bedclothes.

7. Stress and Isolation

Human beings are generally a social species, and many people rely on being part of a team for their emotional well-being. For these people, working solo can lead to a sense of isolation. They are unable to dissipate any stress suffered by sharing it with others or making a joke with coworkers about a strenuous encounter or situation. There is no banter between coworkers, no mutual emotional support, and no socially interactive fun.

8. No Help at Hand

When you work as part of a team and run into technical difficulties, you can often ask somebody nearby to help you. Before long, the matter is fixed in an efficient and friendly fashion. Working alone often means that you have to struggle through those problems alone, seeking solutions from the internet, asking remote coworkers for aid, or finding paid professionals to help you. In short, it can create practical, emotional, and financial challenges.

9. Total Responsibility

Working solo usually means taking full responsibility. That's fine when things go well, but not so good when things go badly. Without a team to accept group responsibility, the working individual faces increased stress and bears all the consequences of any mistakes and misadventures. As well as creating additional emotional strain, sole responsibility can also make people less inclined to take necessary risks due to fear of failure.

10. No Skill Sharing

As far as skills go, everybody has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. When people work as part of a group, skills can be shared so that everybody is contributing their best. Working alone can mean that your weaknesses are exposed, and failures are experienced.

For instance, you may be great at the creative side of a job, but your lack the organizational skills undermines your overall ability to succeed on your own. Alternatively, you may be great at dealing with customers but not so good at financial oversight, leading to money troubles.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Paul Goodman