SURVEY SAYS: Negatives of Working From Home

I feel blessed to be able to work from home, but there are some downsides to it also.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “If you worked from home all the time, what do you think would be the negatives of doing so?”

The biggest negative chosen by responding readers was “lack of social interaction with coworkers” (62%), followed by “lack of connection with coworkers” (55.7%) and “the feeling of not knowing what is going on in the company” (45.6%).

“Eating more because there’s easy access to food” was selected by 27.8% of respondents, while 24% each selected “not moving enough because you’re stuck at your desk” and “interruptions from neighbors, children or pets” and 20.2% chose “feeling there’s no excuse to not work when sick (unless severely sick).”

“Other” negatives, cited by 38% of respondents, included lack of separation from work and home, working more because access to work is always there, temptation to do other things such as chores (or reading or watching television), lack of social interactions (not just with coworkers), not meeting new co-workers, lack of access to office tools/technology, difficulty managing staff, and “too quiet.” Many of these were cited by a handful of respondents.

In verbatim comments, a couple of readers expressed the feeling that people who work from home don’t work as much. I can tell you from experience, it is just the opposite, and many who left comments said they also work more when working at home than in the office. Commenters also cited perks of working from home, such as fewer distractions and no commuting. There were also some suggestions for countering the negatives of working from home. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I’m an introvert. Working from home might turn me into a hermit.” 

Thanks to all who participated in the survey!


I would feel bad for my dry cleaner

Negatives are more than made up for by the ability to work in PJs until lunch and exercise every day during your non-commute time.

I definitely would need more social interaction. In a prior life we were allowed to work from home during certain phases of a project. While that was great, I found I tended to work longer hours because I had less distractions.

My office looks like a tornado hit it but I know the whereabouts of everything. If I did that at home, I'd surely, and rather quickly, be outsourced.

My commute is an hour and a half each way so I work from home 1 or 2 days a week. I get so much more done when I am at home than constantly being interrupted at the office. I get more sleep too!

"Working from home" is not the correct term -- it is "working remotely." Just that subtle change means you are "working" and not doing anything else. I have been working remotely for 6 years and I would not go back to a full time office setting. The company is getting a great deal -- I get much more accomplished, and am willing/able to work at odd hours to ensure work gets done on time. I am also easily able to keep a positive attitude about the company, as I don't get drawn into the negativity around the water cooler.

I love working from home, but one must have a routine and be disciplined. It helps me stay on track with eating healthy, saving money and I don't have to worry about catching a co-workers cold. I feel more productive. I make a point of setting my work hours and leave my office at the end of my day in order to maintain a work-life balance. Plus I get out of the everyday at some point to see people and not feel like a hermit. It's not for everybody, but it's for me!

I work from home one day a week to get a break from my long daily commute. I could not work from home all of the time because there are too many distractions and I would miss the interaction with my team. Besides, I am the boss and it would be bad form. 🙂

I have worked from home full-time for five years. Generally, it has been an easy transition for me. I don't miss my former coworkers. I don't miss commuting, but I do miss being downtown and having easy access to shops, restaurants, markets, and parks. I force myself to start work at the same time each day to maintain a routine and avoid procrastination. I also wear business casual attire to get myself in the mindset to work.

I had the ideal situation when I had foot surgery. My husband is a semi-retired teacher and works every other day. On the days he worked, I worked from home and on his off days he drove me to work. I could not work from home all the time.

I loved the flexibility to be able to schedule personal tasks during daytime hours when stores, etc. were less busy, and then making the time up in the evening. And I especially loved having lunch with my son each day.

I did it for a continuous month-long period at one point and felt comfortable with it, but I found myself working much longer each day than I usually would at the office. At the time, in-person interaction with co-workers was not too important since I was focused on a special project, for which email and occasional phone interaction was satisfactory. Working at home from time to time to accommodate a special schedule or event is a nice benefit.

Verbatim (cont.)

I actually have the flexibility to work from home a great deal of the time and choose not to. However, I may rethink that option when our office moves later this year and my commute increases from 20-30 minutes each way to 90-120 minutes.

I don't like anything about working from home, from an employer's standpoint. From an employee's standpoint, it sounds like a pretty easy ride -- little work & big money. Our remote employees are not monitored at all & I am afraid many of them don't ever put in a 40 hour work week.

It all depends on the ages of kids, but based on experience, just being in the house when kids are home after school, etc. can promote family stability. My kids were happier when I was in college and home most afternoons (and evenings) even though I had my head in the books most the time. When I started work, their perception changed (they felt I was never home). If you can juggle everything, I think working from home can be beneficial, especially for single parents.

I love it!

I've been doing this for 22 years – self-employed. Two things bug me: 1) Folks dropping by to visit as if I am retired with nothing better to do than chat & 2) My wife trying to talk to me on the intercom while I am on a phone/conference call. But, overall, I love it.

I have been telecommuting 100% of the time for over 7 years. While I love being a telecommuter, there are challenges as noted above. The biggest one I've experienced is that my family forgets that I am actually WORKING and therefore not available to pick up children or run errands or babysit. I do have more flexibility than working in an office, but I do have to be available during core working hours. However, a 1 minute commute from my bedroom to my office cannot be beat!

When most communication is done by email or even over the phone, it's difficult to read people's moods or reactions.

Not sure I'd like all the time, but two days a week (to escape my 75-minutes each way commute) would be nice.

Beats fighting the big city commuter traffic (Houston) especially in bad weather. Tend to work beyond normal business hours. More flexibility and fewer interruptions.

Two fuzzy kitty butts having to be involved at all times.

There can be downsides but there are also upsides: fresh air if you open your window, working uninterrupted when needed, flexibility when kids are sick. There has to be trust; no trust and it won't work.

Procrastinators beware - my house would be spotless all the time!

Verbatim (cont.)

Having worked from home for three years, the biggest issue I have encountered is in-office employees making comments to the effect you like you effectively don't count since you are not in the office. Astonishing since they often make these comments in meetings when I am conferenced-in.

I would definitely miss the social aspect of working with 2 legged beings. Although, at least my 4 legged kids don't constantly argue with me about everything.

Working from home is a benefit that should be earned and given to those who can prove they can still remain connected and get their work done. Consistently not arranging care for your young children should not mean that you can "work" from home.

I do work from home full time, and have for about three years. I love it, but do miss face-to-face interactions with my co-workers. The worst thing is not being able to get to know new co-workers, and there have been many. It's relatively easy to maintain ties to people I already know, but much tougher to build relationships with those I don't.

Once the laptop and desk is set up at home, it is too easy to constantly check in or continue to work into the evening. It is easier to make a mental break and focus on family and home time in the evening when the two are physically separate.

I work from home all the time. I avoid wasting time (and carbon) traveling to an office where I would be on the phone and computer, just like here. My colleagues are all over the country so working from any one office would only get me close to a small segment. My cat would miss me;-)

I'm an introvert. Working from home might turn me into a hermit.

Overall, it would be great!

I've worked from home exclusively for about 5 years. I was fine with it until I moved to a new city for my husband's job. Then the lack of social interaction at work and with friends became a much more difficult adjustment.

It would get old after a while. I like the interaction with my co-workers.

I'd get more sleep and more work done; no commuting hassles.

Even though there are a few potential negatives, I would love to be able to work from home all the time! Also, it seems like a great time to multi-task with getting laundry done.

Verbatim (cont.)

I work from home full time. I love not having a commute every day and the flexible hours.

Everyone on my team works from home at least one day/week, but we have one day when we're all in the office. That's the day we connect on complex items and the random items that come up that you typically miss if you're not on-site. I'd struggle to remain productive if I worked from home every day.

I work from home from time to time just for a day. One day of working at home is enough for me. As much as the noise and interruptions of working in an open environment at the office bother me, the isolation of working at home is less appealing.

Working from home one day a week is enough for me. No commute but too close to the kitchen to do this more often.

For me, productivity may decrease because I may be more easily distracted by personal things I want to accomplish.

You have to be careful to keep the work/life balance.

One of my goals is to have a call at least quarterly with my 2 colleagues who are remote workers to help keep them connected. I telecommute 3 days a week, so I get it.

Honestly, I can't really imagine any negatives, if I could work from home I'd gain almost three hours of my life back each day! (between commute/lunch)

I would think working from home would stunt one's social skills as you would lose that person to person interaction. Sometimes there is just no substitute for being present and in person.

Mainly I don't have to fight traffic

While I could sit around in my PJs all day, I would definitely miss seeing all the fashion drama that comes with the summer months ahead (those who wear beach attire to work). Some don't know that you should be covered up at work!

My household expenses will increase because my wife will not want to be around me so much she will leave and go shopping!


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.