The Dangers of Working from Home

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Working from home is great. It’s convenient and enjoyable. It makes you feel smart. But it’s also dangerous.

I’ve been working from home for almost eight years now and I can say that the greatest benefit is also the greatest drawback — comfort.

Living comfortably is a good way to pass the time, and I’m all up for it. But the routine of comfort doesn’t challenge you that much. At times, it allows you to become lazy or distracted.

Here are some of the other dangers of working from home.

Reduces social interactions

This in itself can be a good thing. It can lead to deeper relations with those closest to you.

Problems begin when you also relax at home, play at home, take vacations at home, or indulge in your favorite pastime at home.

Your home becomes your shell. You may even start turning down offers from friends who want to take you out.

Keeps you mostly in one place
Being still can be a good thing. It helps you become more present, more mindful, more aware of the little things in life. Helps you avoid the distractions of consumerism.

But for the most part, it keeps you in one place for a number of hours every day.
This can make you uneasy at times.

Unhealthy if you’re not careful

Sitting is the new smoking, they say. Going from the desk to the fridge, from the fridge to the couch, and from the couch back to the desk isn’t, either.

You need a training routine. You need to go for walks or runs or bike rides several times a week.

Otherwise working from home becomes an unhealthy lifestyle. I was inactive during my first years of working from home. I didn’t work out at all and didn’t go out, either. I regret that.

Limits chance events

Working from home eliminates many of those mishaps that could befall you while you travel to work and back. Like random accidents. Lost things. Scenes at the office. Random arguments or disagreements.

But at the same time it limits chance encounters, too. Knowing that nothing interesting will happen in the next four hours can be disappointing at times.

Your life becomes more quiet, more calculated.
Sometimes too quiet, too calculated.

Self-limiting safety
Tacitus said that the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise. This isn’t ancient Rome and not every one of us is cut for, or interested in, noble enterprises.

But with working from home comes a kind of safety that makes you hone certain aspects of your character but not others. You become more aware of yourself, perhaps even develop spiritually.

But you also become less instinctive. You don’t go with the flow so much.

So is working from home bad?

It’s awesome. And it doesn’t have to be dangerous for our health or development.

We must constantly remind ourselves that “home” isn’t really our house or apartment. We shouldn’t get stuck on that idea.

Home is that intimate place within ourselves we go to when we’ve had enough of the world. Home can be a park or public garden, a cafe, a library, a train or plane taking us somewhere.

Working from home doesn’t have to keep us tied to one place. Even if we don’t feel productive working in one of those places, we can still choose to go somewhere every day after we finish work, or before we start. Or at least now and then.

That keeps our life fresh. And makes us enjoy working from home even more.

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18 thoughts on “The Dangers of Working from Home

  1. If you go out to work at a job, apart from any interactions too and from your place of work, it can in itself become a very enclosed world that is limited to a small group of individuals in and around your cubicle or office. The difference is that many jobs like this restrict the amount of freedom a person has to get up and move around, take breaks and generally exercise their freewill….at home you can do just that, you have a choice, even though you can choose well or badly.
    Interesting post, thanks Vincent! very thought provoking πŸ˜‰

  2. I personally love working from home because I can make my own schedule and have more freedom, but I agree with all that you’re saying and understand that it can easily make you lazy. I don’t feel well when I sit too much. Exercise is a must! Thanks for sharing this.

  3. I like your analysis, Vincent. However, as somebody who has completed a degree from home, and has worked from home for the past three years, I can honestly say I am gosh darn sick of being at home all the time. My spouse is constantly on the move because of his job, and because mine is flexible, I move all over the country with him. This means started fresh all the time, making new friends, finding new clubs and gyms and tweaking the old lifestyle to suit the area I am in. Because I work from home, I find the adjustment process so lonely and frustrating – I don’t get a chance to meet new people properly and adaptation takes so long that by the time I have adapted… I have to move on again! Not that I am complaining, working from home has meant that I have seen so many beautiful places and observed so many different cultures because I can go where I want, when I want, just as long as I have my laptop with me! Happy working from home. I truly enjoyed reading your thoughts on the subject.

  4. I too work from home and yes, there are definitely pitfalls as well as advantages. I definitely work better as a writer when I get out and about amongst the community.

  5. I very occasionally work from home. I recalled my supervisor offered me to take one day off per month to work from home. It was tempting, but I declined it. I worked from home due to extreme situations like when my husband was on a business trip for a couple of weeks I told my supervisor my scheduled 12+ hour day that day would not be favorable for my dogs. So I work from home. At home, I don’t have a lot of resources — from home I have a hard time connecting my work VPN and I miss out on a lot of my social interactions in the ofice that I find meaningful. Instead of working from home once a month, I take PTO once a month!

  6. I work from home, and can relate to many things that you have said… For some reason (my introversion?) what social interactions I had were negative and degrading, but for the most part I had none. I felt rather like an invisible being who ran around with everyone, saying unheard things. I was constantly drained from all of the noise. Where I was working was more dangerous for my self-esteem than working from home. I was going insane, as well as becoming convinced that I was losing my imagination. My friend did imply that I am a hermit now, but really I know that I do get outside input from the world, by inviting my friends to things. I have the right amount of social life for my sensitive and introverted brain. Working from home has taught me how to live now, be diligent, be an initiator, be a writer, be seen, be heard, and accept myself.

  7. This is so inspiring since I’ve been staying at home alone for quite a long time and feeling myself losing motivation of study and work. I really want to go out for a walk, for a cup of coffee, and for fresh air. Also I really want to go to school to meet my classmates so that I can reactivate my eager of study. Thanks for your article!

  8. I don’t work from home. Some days, I really wish I did, so I wouldn’t have to commute in traffic, jump through puddles, chit chat with random people at work, etc. But then, I realize I can be guilty of procrastination and it might be difficult for me to motivate myself to be productive in the long run. Going outside your home is a vital piece of advice you gave. I would also add – if at all possible, carve out an “office space” in your home, so that you don’t “pollute” the rest of the house with potential stress and negativity that could be associated with work.

  9. I do not work from home yet but I do work on loads of home projects. Your post makes perfect sense, I had to train my body to do certain habits to not fall into these problems. Even that sometimes isn’t Enough well put “Comfort”, it leads your mind to think that you can relax a little at home making fighting temptation always hard.

  10. Spot on…and much of this is what made the transition back to an office where real people are so difficult after working from home for just a couple of years. I do miss showing up for work in my pjs, though…

  11. This is a realization for me. I work at home most of the time and I never do exercise, I don’t know if sewing is an exercise. I have a clothing line business and I am sewing some of our line especially premium line and high end. If I have a free time I prefer spend it reading, so most of the time I am just sitting. Thank you for this I think I need to go out and walk.

  12. I can totally agree with all those points. I’ve been working out of my apartment for a couple of months and try to make sure I get out daily. I often go to a coffee shop, but that can be very distracting. Besides the noise, the unlimited wifi is a time-drain for me!

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