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A decade ago, the idea of working from home sounded farfetched. It is a concept our forefathers could not even imagine. Who doesn’t want to work from home? It gives us the ability to provide for our family, while being there with them. It is like the dream job for every parent out there.
I have been working at home since 2016. It is one of the many blessings I thank God for every day. The joy and freedom I have experienced in the past five years is incomparable to the eight years I have worked in an office. But while working from home is something I enjoy and recommend, it comes with a few serious trade-offs.
Working at home is NOT less stressful than working in an office. While there are advantages to home-based work, attached to it are some of its own challenges one may not experience in the workplace. Deciding between the two is a matter of what kind of stress you are willing to face.
What are the main sources of your stress in the office?
Here are my top three:
On average, I have to spend about three hours commuting to work and back home. The traffic I have to endure each day puts a lot of unnecessary stress on my body. The time and energy could have been better spent on something more productive, or relaxing.
We have to deal with a lot of different personalities at work each day. Chances are, you will find someone who, for some reason, will simply ruin your day every day.
I was shelling out an additional $800 a month to maintain my office. It does not yet include petrol, business attires, and other miscellaneous expenses.
It is amazing to think that it has been a long time since I faced any of these stressors. I no longer need to commute, deal with toxic colleagues and pay for overhead expenses. Yet, as good as it sounds, there is a new bunch of challenges I deal with every day at home.
Difficulty to Disconnect
Since the line between professional life and family life has blurred out, it has become difficult to disconnect from work. I often find myself working from nine in the morning until ten in the evening, and still feel like I have not done anything. There is no more time in and time out. You can work as long as you like, which will normally result in burnout.
Working from home takes a certain amount of self-discipline that will set the boundaries between career and personal life.
I shared what my day looks like in another post:
As a father, one of the main motivators for choosing home-based work is to be present with the kids. But there is a price to pay.
Be prepared for constant interruption when working at home. Children equate our presence with availability. They do not understand boundaries nor the idea of work. They will demand our attention whenever they see us around the house.
A thousand-word blog post like this usually takes a couple of hours to publish. But with the disruptions I receive from my kids and…*ahem* my wife, it can go up to four hours.
I hate to admit it, but these interruptions oftentimes lead me to growl at my kids. Disturbance really ticks me off. — especially when I am in the “zone.”
Random Family Favors
Another thing we have to deal with when working from home is the stigma that we are not doing anything. Lalaine and I frequently get random favors from our families because they think we are jobless. They would ask us to do errands for them, like calling someone or driving them somewhere. It hurts our ego, but we’re confident with the work we are engaged in. We do not see the need to explain, so we would simply shrug it off and accommodate their favors if we really had the time for it. If not, we would apologize and respectfully decline.
Working from home can make every day look the same. Same environment, same people, same routine. We have fewer interactions with the outside world which can lead to what’s known as “Cabin Fever.”
The term “cabin fever” describes the psychological symptoms that a person may experience when they are confined to their home for extended periods. Such symptoms may include feelings of restlessness, irritability, and loneliness.Medical News Today
There are days when I miss the adventure of commuting, or even the competition amongst colleagues. Working at home has the potential to make our lives dull, which can take a toll on our mental health.
Read: Dealing with Anxiety
If your motivation to work from home is to escape the toxic environment in the workplace, think again. There will be times when matters at home will stress you more than what you have in the office. So, be careful what you wish for.
What are the benefits of working from home during Covid-19?
One of the obvious benefits of working from home during Covid-19 is we have less risk of contracting the virus. We meet fewer people, so the chance of us getting sick is minimal.
As for the not so obvious ones:
- Better Focus
Working from home makes us less worried about getting the virus. We know that we are not going out, so we can be at peace, and focus our mental energy at work more.
- Instant quarantine
If for some reason we indeed have contracted the virus, we can instantly put ourselves in quarantine. In a way, working from home can serve as our advocacy for stopping the spread of Covid-19.
- Work consistency
One of the hassles today is the intermittent lockdowns. You will never know when you will be at work, and when you will be at home. Many of my friends are getting tired of these on and off schedule. Yet it was not something I have worried about in the past two years. My work schedule is the same whether it is lockdown or not.
I started to work from home when I got myself into debt in 2016. I never realized that it would be a great move for me and my family to prepare ourselves for the upcoming pandemic. I wrote the story here: Assets and Liabilities: Our simple plan for financial freedom. All thanks to God!
What are the challenges of working from home during Covid-19?
One of the big challenges I experienced during the pandemic is logistics. Shipments and deliveries may encounter delays due to lockdowns and the added safety protocols. Aside from that, I really did not notice any significant challenges in working from home during Covid-19.
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Thank you for reading!