As a software engineer I am not required to work from a particular location, in other words, no office required. I started my first software business with my brother called Infinity Mural back in 2019 that then morphed into Sanico Software. Since we just started as a new business we wanted to start with low overheads so we took the obvious choice and decided to work from home.
We saved a ton of money as we required no rental of an office or co-working space, no money spent on fuel or car maintenance, and best of all, we recouped the wasted commute time to drive to an office. Win, win, win!
So many benefits, no drawbacks, right? Wrong! After 3 years of home office working I am here to tell you, dear reader, that working from home ain’t perfect. I wanted to share 4 drawbacks that I found when I work from home. A small disclaimer, although I discuss the drawbacks all in all I still prefer to work from home rather than in an office, I will write the benefits of working from home in another post!
Drawback 1: Distractions from others in the house
If you live in a house with other people sometimes they forget that you work from home. They will ask small unrelated questions throughout the day, do overly loud chores such as vacuuming, talk on the phone as loud as possible to their cousin from Sydney and many other small annoyances.
It is a house after all, a shared space where one or more people live together, noise and distractions will occur, that is a given. In my experience, the same problem also occurs in busy offices. However, many people picture that if you work from home you go into a cone of silence with no distractions, no way! If you live by yourself maybe, but if you live with multiple people, good luck.
Drawback 2: Chores aren’t done yet
When I worked in the office I lacked any requirement to clean the building or its facilities. My employer paid a dedicated worker to clean everything. When I work from home the expectation exists that I clean the house. This expectation exists because I am in the house during the day. When I used to work in an office I always cleaned the house on the weekend or a random week night. However, since I am home of course the expectations differ.
Ok I will quickly hang out the clothes, oh and I will put the towels on a quick cycle, and I will sweep outside while I am at it, what a mess. 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there, 5 minutes everywhere. Suddenly an hour of the day gets chewed up by the infamous 5 minute tasks.
Drawback 3: No work colleagues
Without an office space environment you lack the companionship of work colleagues. Full stop. When I worked in an office space I loved the social dynamic, people working together, team bonding, work events, the lot. When I worked from home I noticed the void of humanless interaction.
Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, FaceTime, Trello, Slack, GitHub, and a plethora of other software exists to communicate and collaborate with fellow colleagues from long distance. I love the software and that it enables me to work successfully from home, however, in my opinion it fails to replace face to face interactions.
Drawback 4: Dinner ain’t cooked
This one will hit home if you live with your family. Sometimes I work past 5pm or 6pm and lack the time to prepare anything for dinner. When it occurs my family questions why I prepared nothing for dinner and I must explain every time that I work from home. I am here but I am not here. Pretend I am in an office in a place far far away.
The flexibility to work from home opens up an expectation that you possess enough time to prepare for dinner. I never faced this problem when I worked in an office job. If I worked until 5pm or 6pm and returned home from the office I received no complaints.
Although I listed 4 drawbacks to working from home, the reality is that I still prefer it over working in the office. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks and many solutions exist to remedy the drawbacks I discussed which I will write about in another post.