Working from home is an appealing idea for many of us. Whether you have a seasoned VA business or are in the early stages of setting one up, it’s easy to get attracted by the idea of working comfortably at home, setting your own hours and pay, and getting a better balance between your work and home life – and let’s face it, this is the biggest attraction for many of us.

But working from home isn’t always a bed of roses. As with anything, it has its positives and negatives – here’s my take on what these are.

The good

#1: Flexibility and convenience

The ability to choose your own hours, taking on only the clients and work that you love and having zero office commute is one of the biggest attractions of working from home.

#2: Environment

Our home environment is naturally set up to appeal to our tastes and preference – meaning a more relaxing and creative space for you.

#3: An increase in productivity

We’re less likely to suffer from any distractions at home – meaning we’re easily able to get focused and motivated on the job at hand.

#4: Save money

Working from home can be a financially sound decision to make, especially if you’re currently spending out on commuting, parking, childcare and/or daily lunches!

#5: Less stress and healthier lifestyle

At home, you can get a better balance between your work and home life. You can work to your natural rhythms and routines, so you’re more likely to lower stress and anxiety and eat healthier too – as you have easy access to the foods you like and won’t feel pressurised to copy your work colleagues who power through their lunchbreak on nothing but a protein bar.

The bad

#1: Other people may not respect your boundaries

Working from home can easily be translated into ‘always home’ to your friends and colleagues. This can lead to interrupted working hours and pleas to spend more time with them (on a timescale that suits them). Often, this is down to others not taking your work seriously as you’re working from home, not taking your boundaries seriously and/or you not setting clear boundaries in the first place.

#2: You need to be a self-starter and determined

You need to get yourself motivated enough to do the work – and this isn’t going to happen if you’re not naturally inclined to be a self-starter.

#3: You can feel lonely

Working on your own with no adult interaction can get incredibly lonely. You don’t have the camaraderie of an office environment to boost you when you need it – so you need to get a support network in place and look outside of your work environment, if you want to interact with others and feel supported.

#4: You may feel that you can’t escape work

Having a home office can leave you feeling that you have no clear separation between work and home, as there’s not physical change in environment. Therefore, it’s so important to at least have a separate office space at home, so you can shut the door on it at the end of the working day.

#5: It can be messy and disorganised

It can be easy to let your workspace standards slip, if there’s no one looking over your shoulder, and especially if you’re not a naturally organised person. However, this is only going to happen if you let it. Set yourself a clear or tidy desk policy, invest in storage that suits your needs and keep the family out of your working space – else it can quickly become a messy and disorganised space!

It’s easy to get side-tracked by the benefits of working from home – but you need to have a realistic overview in place, if it’s going to be a success. Knowing the good and bad points upfront, enables you to get a plan in place to counteract those negatives and focus in and enjoy the positives.

What are your experiences of working from home? Do you agree with the good and bad points raised above and what are your action steps to counteract those negatives? Why not share your experiences and thoughts, in the comments box below!

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