Warning: This post was written by a 60-hour sleep deprived body and mind. Read with caution!
I have been blogging for the past 2 1/2 years, and I work from a home office. In this post, I’m going to rant about problems which I have faced while working from home.
I started my full-time blogging career in April of 2009. There was no real significance to the specific date at all – it just happened to be the time in my life when I decided to quit my job and pursue blogging as a career.
Most people believe that one of the greatest advantages of blogging as a profession is the opportunity to work from home. You can work at any time of the day or night, and you can even work in your pajamas. But working from home is not as great as everyone thinks it is! If you work from home, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, well – you’re about to find out.
In this post I will highlight some of the most significant challenges and issues faced by people who work from home. Your situation may be different from mine, but if you work from home I’m sure you can relate to many similarities.
Problems Working from Home
The type of work I do requires me to sit in front of a computer for at least 14 hours a day. Every month I have a minimum of four or five sleepless nights when I’m busy working all night. In fact, this post is the outcome of another of those sleepless nights when my body and mind are exhausted.
When I think about the amount of work I need to accomplish every day, it is quite overwhelming. Writing blog posts, editing guest posts, replying to comments, commenting on other blogs, staying active on social media sites, managing all of my blogs, managing the SEO of my blog network, planning and strategizing, working on client sites, communicating with clients, communicating with advertisers, answering email from readers or from other bloggers, two hours of daily feed reading, trying out new software, apps and plugins, managing finances, managing my rental property, and even more.
To be honest, despite my sleepless nights, I rarely achieve 60% of my total work goals for any given day. By the end of the day, my mind and body will not allow me to accomplish more, because they need rest.
2) Social life screwed:
One of the biggest problems I have faced while working from home is the negative impact on my social-life. There are many reasons for this, including differences that exist between people who work from an outside office and people who work from home. People who work outside of the home have a different lifestyle, and they usually come into contact with many people throughout the day. On the other hand, people like me who work from home spend a lot of time at home and do not have the same opportunities to meet people.
I can actually count how the number of people I have met in the past month. I may communicate with hundreds or even thousands of people online or over the phone, but I rarely meet more than ten people per month in person. (I’m not sure whether to blame my work or myself for this, but most likely it is a bit of both.)
In addition to the work I have to accomplish daily, there are many people who have expectations of me which need to be met. The readers of my blog expect new, high-quality content every day. People who work with me expect a space in which to do their work. My parents expect dedicated time for them, and even my body expects rest from me! The list goes on and on.
When I started my blogging career, I had few expectations or demands to meet. There once was a time when I would work only on weekdays, and on weekends I would go out and socialize. But in the past three years many things have changed. I frequently find myself working on a Saturday night when most people are enjoying the company of their friends and loved ones. Additionally, I have been living away from home for the past nine years, so my time to connect with family is limited by distance as well.
3) Frustration, frustration and more frustration:
Working from home and frustration come as a package deal. I never used to feel this way, but in the past couple of months I have felt the pressure building inside of me.
I miss meeting and hanging out with people. (I’m referring to real, face-to-face meetings here – not my online friends.)
It has been around 15 days since I returned from my trip to Thailand, and I have left my flat only three times. I have seen only five or six faces, and I’ve attended one lousy jazz concert at the Hard Rock Cafe (which only added more to my frustration!)
Imagine yourself being house-bound for almost 15 days, and then you go out. You feel like you’re in a different world.
When I go out after having been confined for a long period of time, I feel alienated and awkward. Meeting my friends after that is like an antidote has been given to me just as I was about to die!
4) Setting targets and achieving them:
I’m quite a planner and when it comes to work, I prefer doing it strategically. When you work from home independently however, no matter how much planning you do and no matter how focused and passionate you are, in time you can lose that energy and fall into the trenches of boredom. I do have about ten plans that I am working to execute, and every month I seem to add another three or four to the list. The only thing I am lacking in terms of the execution of these plans is TIME. I even have interview offers from some big names like Fosters and a couple of magazines, but I simply cannot find the time to finish the interviews.
5) Feelings and emotions:
Back in my college days, I used to be that guy who can find happiness in a river of sorrow. None of my friends ever saw me sad or discouraged. I loved everyone around me. I was a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. These days, however, I can feel those joyous emotions falling away. Working 24*7 in front of a laptop is making me feel robotic. I feel detached from my own family and my close friends. I pray that I can work this out soon, or I fear my life will become “a journey of a workaholic”.
6) Office vs Home:
I have set up a small office in my home which is good enough for 4-5 people, but I have been considering moving to my own office. I was talking with my friend Ankit who is doing work similar to mine, and he moved to his own office last year. So I called him to learn about his experience with his own office, and here are some of his thoughts in his own words:
“When I moved to the office, for the first few months I used to reach the office in time, made everything perfect, completed work on time and everything was smooth. Probably I enjoyed working from office after 3 years of working from home. Though later on, my office arrival time shifted to 2 P.M from 10 A.M. And later on it turned out to be 3-4 days I go to office, else I would work from home.
Every year, twice I have to bribe the Police-walah, that comes as a complementary when you start your own office. I have to maintain the office and make sure everything is alright, maintain the team and meetings and work.
Initially you would enjoy it, but later on it will add to your frustration. Luckily my girlfriend is my partner, and she is a great manager. However, the running cost of my office is around $1300/month. If you’re asking for my suggestion: Work from home, and instead of investing in an office, hire quality people and let them work for you. Maybe like “work from home” or maybe you can let 2-3 guys come to your place to work. ”
Takeaway: There is always a girl behind every successful man!
So, this put me into a dilemma of office vs. no office. His point was quite sensible, which is why it is always good to consult with people who have personal experience, as they are often able to guide us well.
So here I was – I wanted to start an office, but the nature of my work (blogging, blogging and more blogging) doesn’t necessarily require an on-site team. Bloggers are creative people who are not inclined to be bound to a 9-7 job, (otherwise it would be more like I’m running a newspaper agency)!
At this point I remain unsure as to whether I need to move to an office or simply buy a plot, build a house and make an office with a separate entry on the same premises. But again, this will require lots of money, and to make lots of money you need to work more, and in order to work more you need to have time, and time is one thing that remains elusive. I never have enough of it!
I can feel that I am stressing myself now, and since that tends to lead to negative productivity, I will take a step back and continue this thought process at another time! So for now…Adios!!
What are some of the issues you face when working from home?
Feel free to share your thoughts!