Sometimes, when I tell people that I work from home, they get really excited about it. “Oh! That sounds so cool!” They say. Or, “I would totally work from home if I could.” Sometimes, if I’m feeling really feisty, I ask them why they want to work from home so much. Some reasons — desire for flexible work hours while pursuing a masters and stuff like that — make perfect sense. Some reasons, on the other hand, are flat out terrible. Here are 5 terrible reasons to work from home.
- You “don’t like people.”
My sample size is probably really skewed, but I seem to know a lot of people who are quick to talk about how much they hate people. To these deeply committed misanthropes, working from home seems like the ultimate way to get away from the fellow human beings that vex them so much.
I mean, sure, working in a cube farm where you can hear every breath your coworkers take can be pretty obnoxious. However, you do, in fact, have to work with people when you work from home. Moreover, most of the people you encounter when you work from home will know you only as a “name on the screen.” Think your current coworkers are bad? People can be pretty terrible when you’re a largely anonymous agent.
- You “don’t want a boss.”
Everybody has a boss, even the people who work from home. Sure, I have the option to set my own hours and bebop my way through the work day without someone popping in to check on me. That doesn’t mean I’m not accountable to anyone, though.
- You “want to spend more time with your family.”
It’s hard for me to call this a terrible reason because it’s a really nice sentiment but still a bad reason to want to work from home. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that working from home doesn’t automatically lend itself to more time with your family. If anything, I’ve noticed that I spend less quality time with my husband and family since I started working from home. Back in the day (the work outside the house days, natch) I made an effort to spend plenty of time just hanging out with my loved ones. These days, I spend a lot of time working in the same room as my husband, mother or whoever else I’m hanging out with at the time.
I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re really committed to using your increased flexibility to make sure that you spend plenty of quality time with your family, then good for you. If you awesome that being home all day will guarantee you more time together, think again.
- You think you’re going to get paid for doing nothing.
I am partially to blame for this, but a lot of people think I can get paid to do whatever I want all day. I say that I’m partially to blame because because some of my favorite stories are about times I’ve gotten paid while I do other stuff. For example, the time I got to bill for my weekly grocery run because I couldn’t convince a client that “now [was] not a good time for a call.” (In a similar vein, I also love to tell the story about the client that cold-called me while I was ice skating with friends. I took the call, but I didn’t stop skating to do it.)*
At the end of the day, these moments are not occasions where I get paid to live my life. Rather, they are times when clients steamroll over the boundaries of polite society by insisting that I work when I should be doing personal things.
- You hate wearing work clothes.
Actually, this is a perfectly valid reason to want to work from home.
*To be fair, I do work out while I’m working. All the time. I’ve got a really sweet set-up with my desk and elliptical.