So, I’ll readily admit I’m one of the luckier ones as far as work goes. When the pandemic hit we were all sent home with full pay, and I was only required to show up for two 1 hour zoom sessions a day. That said, there are major drawbacks to spending most of your work hours on video games and chatting with besties.
Because at first, you imagine that when you work from home, you’ll wake up later, spend the day working from your bed, and basically have free reign over a low-key pillow castle kingdom that allows you to get things done on your own time. But like most things that are really perfect in theory, working from home is just bad in practice, and everything that seems like a pro actually turns into more of a glaring con as time goes on.
Being your own boss is harder than being bossed around
When you have to manage yourself, you realize quickly that you are your own worst enemy. Every negative trait is something you have to compensate for, in lieu of having a manager who knows and works around your weaknesses. As your own boss, the only person who can get your ass in line is…you.
People who work from home deal with themselves so much that they end up hating themselves juuuust a little bit more than the average person.
You start to go insane from a lack of human interaction
Cabin fever = home office fever. You’re not about to eat your own limbs, but you get pretty close. You’re so thirsty for regular daily interactions that you listen to podcasts and interact with them as if they’re your friends, and you bitch about your digital co-workers to your friends as if they’re real people you’ve actually met.
Did I say co-workers? I mean people in your guild in that free to play MMO video game you signed up for out of boredom and deep need for social interaction.
Socializing bleeds into work like never before
Friends of people who work from home just do not understand that working hours are still a real thing. They expect you to be free for every lunch and boredom-based message they can throw at you, and you’re over here trying to do your job and/or destroy the castle of that mean guy.
That said, the socializing makes for a wonderful and welcome distraction… which is the main problem with working from home, really.
Every chore is a welcome distraction
Oh, some dishes need doing? The floor looks a little dusty. You know what, maybe this work can wait. I really need to clean the countertops. I should probably throw a load of laundry in.
This tragedy happens every day, and is the key factor in the grand illusion that people who work from home actually have their shit together more than anyone else. If anything, a very clean apartment is an indicator that no actual work is happening.
Your productivity relies entirely on your ability to ignore your own environment
Those chores, friends, and endless opportunities for unsupervised entertainment don’t go away for anything but sheer willpower. You don’t just wake up one day as a productivity lifehacking maven. No, you have to build to that point by ignoring literally everything around you, and if you aren’t self-disciplined, then you are about to be even less employed.
You forget what you actually look like with real clothes on
So you’re not working in the nude every day, but you’re definitely not in any clothes you’d wear in public. Every time you make the effort to get dressed, you just see a giant “what’s the point?” looming in the mirror. This results in a lot of overdressing for happy hours, lunches, weekends, and dinners.
The separation between your work environment and your actual home becomes nonexistent
Oh, so you thought working from home means you have a dedicated workspace? Yeah right. Everyone who comes into your place moves your stuff around like it doesn’t matter, and why shouldn’t they? It’s not like you have a real office.
Even when you do have a workspace, your bed is like, 20 steps away, max. That just does not make for a real workplace.
You will always feel like a dick when you want to complain about working from home, because you know you should love every minute of it
OK, you know you have it made if you work from home, right? People never let you forget it. And as much as you love it, you do wish that you had other people to sympathize with, because complaining about working from home is like complaining about having too many vacation days, or too much money in the bank.
No one is going to get it, and you’ll just look like an asshole. Sigh. At least you can nap about it, right?
Disclosure: The commissioning of this article was funded by a US government program.