9 Disadvantages of Working From Home

Updated on December 18, 2018
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Paul has worked from home for over six years. Although he enjoys managing his own work affairs, he is also well aware of the downsides.

Many people dream of working from home.  It seems like a great opportunity to organize your own workload and timetable, integrating it with your own private life.  There are some major downsides to working from home, however, which I list below.
Many people dream of working from home. It seems like a great opportunity to organize your own workload and timetable, integrating it with your own private life. There are some major downsides to working from home, however, which I list below. | Source

I have worked from home for over eight years and, although I enjoy it and find there are many advantages, I am also very much aware of all the disadvantages.

For sure, it's great to manage your own timetable and workload, as well being able combine your work and private life in a way that suits you - but there are also some hidden downsides that may not be obvious at first. For example, you need self-motivation, self-discipline, and organizational skills in abundance, not to mention the confidence to manage your own affairs without support.

I list below the 9 main disadvantages of working from home.

9 Downsides of Working From Home

  1. Lack of Structure.
  2. Irregular Income.
  3. Loneliness.
  4. Taxes and Accounting.
  5. No Benefits Package.
  6. Lack of Input and Ideas From Others.
  7. Scams.
  8. Psychological Effects.
  9. Distractions.

I explain each of the above in more detail below.

1. Lack of Structure

Once you have got over the novelty of not having a boss, it dawns on you that you have to be your own motivator and organizer, as well as make lots of difficult decisions yourself. Self-discipline is essential. You will may have to do some things that you don't feel inclined to do without backup. Organizing your work schedule and sticking to it is a constant challenge. If you are not careful you can end up either not working enough and underachieving, or working way too much because either you don't know when to stop, or you end up saying yes to every single work offer that comes along.

2. Irregular Income

A regular job usually means a regular wage, but working from home often means a less predictable income. Earnings and spending become much more challenging to plan and predict. Loans and credit are often harder to obtain if your income is variable. This can become stressful over time, especially if you have kids. You will need excellent money skills if you are going to thrive. You will need to save in the boom times so that you can survive in the lean.

3. Loneliness

Working from home can mean spending many hours by yourself. The lack of social interaction and support from others can definitely be a downside. There may be no one around to ask advice from, or request support from, or just to vent to. It means that you have to make a definite effort to socialize with others during down periods, otherwise it's easy to feel isolated or depressed.

4. Taxes and Accounting

You will have to spend a lot more time and possible money recording, tracking, and reporting your finances. It's not just your income either, much of your outgoing expenses will need to be recorded too, so that you can write them off for tax purposes. Working from home basically means much more detailed and intensive book keeping and financial organization for most people, as well as more time and resources spent filling out the tax forms at the end of the year.

5. No Benefits Package

Working from home means that you almost certainly won't be on any tax or pension plan, or get any medical insurance. You will either have to sort out that stuff yourself, or go without.

6.Lack of Input and Ideas From Others

As well as general support, coworkers can come up with good ideas that you may not have thought of. They can also teach you new skills, either informally or via formal training sessions, as well as offer advice and second opinions. Having input from others can be useful, as well as stimulating and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Ideas input and support from coworkers is often lost when you work from home.  It puts you at disadvantage if you rely on creative ideas.   You don't get the same training opportunities either, you have to come up with your own ideas and learning.
Ideas input and support from coworkers is often lost when you work from home. It puts you at disadvantage if you rely on creative ideas. You don't get the same training opportunities either, you have to come up with your own ideas and learning. | Source

7. Scams

You should investigate advertised work-at-home schemes carefully. Be wary of any job that wants you to pay out upfront. Many jobs advertised are are exploitative, or even outright scams.

8. Psychological Effects

There are benefits to be found in working at a place that is elsewhere from your home. It gives you a clear psychological divide. You go to work, you work, you go home. Working from home can blur the boundaries between your work and home life. You may begin working from home with the intention of improving your work/life balance, but end up overworking because you can't switch off from work mode. You can also end up housebound for long periods.

9. Distractions

There are generally more distractions in the home, than in the workplace. All sorts of things can intrude with your work, whether it is young children, household tasks that need to be done, or more leisurely pursuits like watching the television.

There are many more potential distractions at home, than in the workplace.  It can be harder to maintain discipline working from home in comparison to doing a regular job.
There are many more potential distractions at home, than in the workplace. It can be harder to maintain discipline working from home in comparison to doing a regular job. | Source

“The answer to finding better work/life balance is to find the right blend between all our life activities—regardless of where and when they occur.”

— Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2017 Paul Goodman

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    • profile image

      Salty Sam 54 

      21 months ago

      Some interesting points here Paul. A couple of quick replies.

      1) Structure. My partner writes herself To Do lists each evening for the following day. Diaries can be useful as well. I got her a great one for Xmas. When you open it up it has duplicate pages on the left and the right sides. Business on one and personal on the other. Great for organising your time. My daughter, who also runs her own business, loved it so much I bought her one as well.

      2) Loneliness. Work in a coffee shop with WiFi (also covers 8 but 9 can be a problem). Here in the UK some coffee shops have a separate part of the cafe for business users.

      3) Bookkeeping. QuickBooks or others. Not familiar with US but here in the UK a sole trader, the simplest form of being self employed, can keep simple books.

      4) I'm in the UK so healthcare is sorted but I can understand what it would be like elsewhere without it.

      5) Scams. Do research. I was looking at using a supplier for my business. All the items looked really good but did a quick search and realise they were ripping people off.

      6) New ideas. Forums, and ToughNickel would be a good choice.

      7) Training. Surely you can find that online.

      Yes there are downsides to being self employed. The thing with being a One-Man-Band is without you there is no music. And I know it is not for everyone. But when surveyed most of the self employed in the UK say the best part is being your own boss.

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