6 Drawbacks to Working at Home
OK, now that you've read the 8 Reasons to Be a Work-at-Home Parent you're all ready to give up the rat race (or maybe join it if you’ve been a stay-at-home parent). But here are a few other issues to mull.
Not everyone will find all of these to actually be problems; it depends on your career, personality, and family. But recognizing potential drawbacks allows you to address them more easily. And most of these can be dealt with by setting ground rules for your family.
Uncomfortable blending of work and home
Yes, for some this is the whole point, but not everyone can simultaneously negotiate the demands of business and children. If you find it difficult to say “no” to either (or both), you could find yourself stretched thin. You don't want to fall behind on the job because family responsibilities encroach on work time or, on the flip side, to feel like you should work all the time.
Even if you have full-time child care in your home, dealing with distractions is an essential skill for work-at-home parents. Though regular offices have their share of distractions, they are rarely as personal as the ones you encounter at home. Even with your office door closed, you will hear a sobbing child. Your motherly instincts may urge you to give comfort, even if you know your childcare provider can, and should, handle it.
Possible negative effect on career advancement
Out of sight, out of mind. Telecommuters run the risk of being passed over for promotion. This can happen because of an unsupportive attitude on upper management's part, who may perceive the choice to work from home as lack of career commitment. But it is also true that not all jobs, especially the higher up the corporate ladder you go, can be successfully telecommuted (though what jobs can be effectively telecommuted is sometimes a matter of opinion). So it could come down to a choice between working at home and a promotion.
Quantity vs. quality time with family
If you and your child are accustomed to your time together being uninterrupted play, working at home will be an adjustment for both. The fact that you are around does not necessarily mean that you are available. When your son excitedly brings you his latest artistic creation, it's great to be there to share in his enthusiasm. However, when his artistic output begins to resemble Picasso’s, you may not be able to give each masterpiece the attention you or he would like.
This is a potential drawback for all home-based workers. And though you are not alone at home, sometimes you need some adult company for your own personal well being. Additionally, you run the risk of becoming isolated professionally, by missing out on essential contact with coworkers.
Bad eating habits
A full refrigerator just beyond the door of your home office beckons. Setting your own schedule can mean more breaks for snacks. And since many kids eat all day long, it takes a conscious effort to maintain healthy eating habits.