The Perils of Working from Home

By Sarah Aterrado - April 10, 2013

When people learn that I work from home, I get different reactions. Most people would say "Ka hayahay."  Hayahay is a term from our local dialect which could mean any of the following: relaxing, comfortable, convenient, ease, and all other terms related to it. It is as good as saying "It must be nice to have a stress-free work."  

No, not really. And there's no such thing.

Sometimes, people envy me, thinking that I hold all the time for myself. Note, thinking. It seems most people with "real jobs" think home-based jobs can be as easy as just clicking the mouse, (e.g. paid to click, networking, referrals, ponzi schemes) earning while doing almost nothing. No. These are real office jobs we do, only we chose to be at home.

Working from home is not what you really think it is. I am well aware of the perks of working at home, and I absolutely love it. However, I can't deny the fact that I also need to acknowledge the perils that come with it.

My Workstation

I've been working from home for more than 4 years. Rewarding as it seems, I firmly believe that this job is tougher than office jobs. As a web designer turned front-end web developer, here's why I think working from home can take you to temporary insanity:

You're on your own
When problems arise, you don't have a colleague to poke. You rack your brains out for solutions. Internet becomes your friend here. You seek for answers that are sometimes elusive. And then you are left with nothing but a drained brain and a keyboard to vent out your frustrations.

Procrastination at its finest
The challenge of every home-based employees and self-employed alike.What would you do when no one is looking over your shoulders? Exactly. And if you keep this attitude, your days for the company is done.

Beyond working hours
So what are the rewards of slacking off? Of course, working beyond the prescribed 8 hour work period. But really, it is very easy to get involved to work especially when you work at home, especially when you become your own boss. Most of the time you tend to forget setting boundaries between work and free time. You just have to turn your laptop on, connect to the internet, and you're good to go.

Pressing house chores
What else can you juggle aside from the tasks assigned to you? Oh, you have the laundry, you cook your food, you clean the house, you watch over the kids, you bath your dogs, and the list goes on. When you're at home, household chores will come pressing on you. You're at home, what else can you not do? (Although here in the Philippines, it is common to hire a help, so take this off the list if you have one, but in my case, I have none).

Distractions everywhere
Lemme see, there's the TV, then the kids, sometimes an unexpected visitor, your dogs, noise outside, your neighbors bickering, 9gag, cat videos, and a lot more. And of course, there's that ever comfy couch calling you to doze off - very very tempting. You feed on every hour you work for, with distractions abound and productivity gone, how else are you going to eat?

Shower is optional
Hygiene becomes the least of your priorities. You may hold off that shower for another day. You're not leaving the house until weekend anyway.

And lastly, the horror, a dying social life
What would you expect? You sit and work all day with no one to interact with, lest you have online contacts that you can chat to (Thank you Skype and Facebook!). But still, a genuine boisterous laughter or a random chatter with colleagues is different. Say goodbye to office parties, meeting random people down the street, getting pissed at people as you shove your way in to a public transport, watching people live their lives, and so on. When you work at home, you get to see the same people and things everyday: your grandma, your mother, your sister, your dog, your toilet seat, your computer. Every single day. Your life becomes a schedule of redundant activities screaming bland and boring. And it can be a little depressing sometimes.

Home-based job is not just flowers and butterflies. Yes, we can be spared from physical exhaustion, traffic, and crabs (crab-mentality, anyone?). But we can't get away from brain and nerve wracking fatigue. We sacrifice hygiene to beat deadlines. We may earn twice as much as a normal office employee at the expense of our social life.

Not all home-based jobs are made for everybody. This is not just a battle of staying fit and sane. This is a battle of keeping your life glow despite that it's already losing its lustre. Before welcoming the idea of stepping in to the world of home-based jobs, consider this, would you be able to handle all these psychological and emotional stress? Do you believe you'd be able to survive the struggle of isolation? Think about it.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like


  1. hahahahahah!!!! i found the procrastination funny (and the comic strip was hilarious)

    my brother worked from home for about 5 years. I envied him a lot. I work in QC but live in Cavite, so imagine my pang --- no 6 hour commute each day!

    But thing is, it was hard, he kept odd hours since his client was from the US and holidays here aren't holidays there so he missed out on some family gatherings.

    And I think, knowing how lazy I am, if I work from home, one month on the job and I'd be fired by my company.

    To each his own nga. hehehe

  2. All things you have mentioned are true! I have tried working from home (content development/SEO) last year for about four months and I could not take it. I felt that I needed some discipline from top management and have a bigger circle of office-mates or friends I can talk with.

  3. :P love the comic strip! haha I also work at home and i agree with your post :P especially the procrastination part

  4. I think I can't work from home as I get easily distracted but it does have its perks.

  5. I work from home, also as a writer. Yep, didn't remember lunch until 4PM yesterday. I say I eat lunch at a "normal" hour about half the time, because I just have so much writing to do that it takes precedent. I also have decided to actually get dressed in the morning because my pajama-pants-with-sweatshirt started making me feel gross. I'm wearing real-life pants as I write this (instead of writing what i am suppose to write)

  6. Hahaha this is so true! Minsan nga nakakalimutan ko na din kumain... bad...

  7. Ang galing. Very true yung degradation of social skills. Grabe. Kaya dapat at least once a week lalabas parin and makipagbonding. (-: