Working from home brings a unique set of challenges and scenarios. There is the convenience and luxury that comes from working on your own, and in a comfortable environment, but it’s a precious balance between productivity and procrastination when it comes to setting up the perfect home office. Everyone assumes that working from home is the Holy Grail of the perks of the 21st century, but here are six things that can ruin a home office.
1. Domestic Disturbances
If we fear that working in a traditional office can be mind-numbingly boring, then a poorly-designed home office can exist on the other end of the spectrum. Pets, kids, spouses/partners can all take time away from actually getting work done, important as it is to spend time with them. Also, interruptions from people coming to fix things – electricians, plumbers, landscapers, cable repairmen, etc – can ruin a home office environment.
2. Complete Isolation
One of the lures of a home office is the freedom from inane watercooler chatter about games, television shows or office drama. However, working completely by yourself (perhaps in your apartments in Orlando), with absolutely no conversation or interaction with a real, live human being is not much better. People were not made to be complete isolationists, and not being able to simply talk to another person could easily give you a case of cabin fever.
3. Not Taking The Office Seriously
It’s tempting to treat your home office like it’s your home. But lounging about in your pyjamas on the couch, eating where you work, leaving stacks of paper everywhere and not cleaning up with kill your productivity and concentration dead. Even though it’s a home office, it’s still an office, and presentation is everything. Nothing can cause a home office to spiral downward faster than poor organization and lack of functional discipline.
4. Not Clocking Out
A common challenge for people working out of a home office is that the line between “home” and “office” easily and frequently gets blurred. For the sanity of both realms, it’s important to clearly define when one ends, and the other beings. As vital as it is to maintain the integrity of a home office by leaving distractions at the door, it’s similarly critical for a home office to not encroach on the actual “home” part of the equation. A home office that gradually starts to take over the rest of the house will not lead to more productivity and bigger paychecks – it will cause frustration and resentment. Clearly demarcate the boundaries of the home office to get the most out of it. Letting it run wild will let it run all over you.
Probably the most obvious point on this list. When you’re at home and work hits a wall, it’s the easiest thing in the world to flip on the television, pop open YouTube, or see what your friends are up to on Facebook. It goes without saying, so it needs to be said: distractions can ruin a home office like nothing else can.
6. Going Overboard
More than anything, a home office has to feel natural. If you try and import the desk and chair you used to use in your traditional office, you’ll begin to wonder why you wanted to work from home in the first place. Don’t bar the windows and barricade the doors to get some privacy, for example. While it’s important to put some work into ensuring that your home office is effective, let your space breathe and make you feel comfortable. Turning an area of your house into Alcatraz will stifle you, drive your productivity into the ground, and ruin what could have been a good home office.