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.
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.