5 Challenges of Working from Home (And How to Overcome Them)

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I love the flexibility of working from home.

Knowing I can drop the kids off at school and stick around to talk to the teachers without worrying about being late for work is truly wonderful.

I really appreciate being able to keep the kids home if they are sick and not stressing about taking time off work to look after them.

It’s the whole reason I pursued a home business.

We all know there are huge benefits to working from home – but there are challenges too.

5 Challenges of Working From Home

Today, I want to share some harsh realities about working from home.

One needs to weigh up the pros and cons of working from home before they make the leap. 

It’s definitely not all roses and unicorns being a work from home mama.

1. Loneliness

I’ve gotta admit, I loved working in an office. I had a great team and we had a lot of fun at work.

We’d often go for drinks after a hard day at the office.

Dropping out of that environment when I had my son was very hard on me.

I’ll go so far to say it nearly drove me to depression (combined with being a new mummy) and I still think of my corporate office days as some of the best days of my life (is that weird?).

Solution: What has really helped me is finding my tribe online. I’m in lots of Facebook groups for bloggers, digital marketers and other parents who work online.

These groups have been a lifeline for me and allowed me to build genuine connections with people who understand the business.

One blogger buddy who lives just down the road from me and another one of my blogging besties lives in Tanzania (but funnily enough was actually born in NZ – small world, huh).

2. Being at home

Haha, I know what you’re thinking.

This crazy lady writes about working from home but one of her challenges of working from is being at home – she’s lost the plot.

Hear me out. I love my wee house.

But being in the same place day in, day out can get tedious.

Since I’m so obsessed with growing my online business, I’ll often sit down at the kitchen table to work immediately after school drop off, and not leave my chair until 2.51pm.

Solution: I’ve taken to working away from home at least one day each week.

I’m not quite ready to pay for a co-working membership, but the library, a café or even a park on a sunny, wind-free day works fine.

We’re very lucky to have a free co-working space in Christchurch (check it out here if you’re in the area) that I have used occasionally.

I find it much easier to focus on the work when I’m surrounded by other people working.

3. People just dropping in

Some people seem to think working from home means not working at all. These people often knock on the door for a cup of tea at random daytime hours.

I don’t really have a solution to this, but I reiterate that certain days are my work days and that I’m not available for chats during these times.

I’ve considered parking my car around the corner so no one can see that I’m home, but that seems drastic.

Setting very clear boundaries (or even leaving a work timetable with your loved ones) is necessary to give you the time you need to work – especially if you’re trying to build an empire in the limited time between school drop-off and pickup.

4. Distractions

If you’re the type to get easily distracted, you might struggle with working from home.

I was quite easily distracted in my office jobs but always got the work done.

Now that I work for myself, I can stay on task and get sh*t done because my income depends on it.

Solution: I like to pack myself lunch when I’m doing the kids lunches so I don’t spend 30 mins thinking about what to eat for lunch.

If I get sidetracked I give myself grace because I work hard, but I’m definitely aware of my limited time now.

5. Never being able to switch off

You never really stop working, when you work from home (especially if you’re self-employed).

There is always another email you could reply to, or a webinar you could watch while prepping dinner.

I don’t think being obsessed with your business is a bad thing, but there have been times I’ve had to check myself. I might be ignoring the kids so I can get one last image uploaded.

Or sitting them in front of the iPad while I wrap up a project. That is not OK.

I’m now trying not to work when the kids are home from school and less on the weekends.

I know working less will slow my growth, but kids grow up fast and I want to remember this time fondly.

I hope I haven’t put you off pursuing a work from home job or business idea. It’s absolutely worth pursuing, but just remember that working from home in itself won’t give you the freedom you crave.

But the long game of passive income from an online business is definitely worth all the struggle and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Do you work from home? Any challenges you’d like to share?


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About Emma Healey

Emma is a recognised family finance and budgeting expert and founder of Mum's Money. Her advice has been featured in Readers Digest, Yahoo Finance, Lifehacker, The Simple Dollar, MSN Money and more.