5 disadvantages of working from home and proven strategies to overcome them

Gina Schumacher

Working from home, also known as telecommuting or home office, is a way of working where you can carry out your professional tasks from the comfort of your own home without being present in the traditional office. This form of working has gained popularity in recent years and undoubtedly offers many benefits. However, it is also important to understand the challenges associated with it. This article takes a look at the disadvantages of working from home and provides practical tips as well as an interesting alternative.

What are the disadvantages of working from home?

Woman in front of laptop has her head in her hands in a frustrated manner.

Some of the disadvantages of working from home are limited communication, loneliness, technical problems, distractions at home, and a poor work-life balance. The following section takes a closer look at these points.

1. Limited communication 

A major disadvantage of working from home is the limited face-to-face communication and spontaneous interactions that are common in traditional office environments. Team members working from home often struggle to achieve the same level of information exchange as when physically present. This is because, for many, the hurdle of calling someone via communication tools is greater than quickly walking to the other person's desk. In addition, in offices, you only get a lot of information in passing, e.g. at the water dispenser, in the kitchen, or the corridor. In addition, the lack of personal interaction can lead to misunderstandings because micro-expressions, gestures, and facial expressions are lost over the chat.

2. Loneliness 

Another disadvantage of working from home that ties in with the previous point is the lack of personal contact and social support. In the beginning, this aspect may seem relaxing, but after a while, it can significantly affect motivation and mental health. The limited informal exchange with colleagues can lead to feelings of loneliness and worsen team dynamics.

3. Technical problems and lack of equipment

Working from home is heavily dependent on modern technology and a stable internet connection. Technical problems are very annoying because productivity and communication suffer as a result. Slow internet, unreliable software, or device failures can of course also occur in the office, but in most cases, the IT department can quickly resolve the problems. In the home office, this process takes longer and cannot be remedied by replacement devices. Another point is the home office equipment, which is not provided by every employer. An ergonomic chair, a height-adjustable desk, and an additional monitor can quickly lead to high costs.

4. Distractions at home

Asian woman looks frustrated working from home while her kids are running around in the background, which shows a poor work-life balance.

The home environment brings with it numerous distractions that can make concentration and productivity difficult. Family members, domestic duties and non-work related activities can easily distract from work tasks. Especially if you don't have your own self-contained office space at home, concentration, discipline and time management can suffer. The double burden of, for example, childcare or caring for relatives can cause additional difficulties.

5. Poor work-life balance

Maintaining a good work-life balance is difficult for some, even with a traditional office job. Remove the daily commute and possibly even a dedicated workspace in your own home, and the distinction between work and private life becomes even more blurred. In addition, a feeling of constant availability can arise if you don't introduce a routine and set clear working hours.

How to organize your home office?

An effective work-from-home routine with clear working hours, a dedicated workstation, and regular preparation promotes a structured working day. It is important to keep the workplace away from the bed and to maintain a work-life balance through physical activity, regular breaks, and maintaining social contacts. These points are discussed in more detail below.

1. Introduce a routine

An effective routine in the home office is crucial for a regular working day. In addition to clear working hours and a dedicated workspace, it also helps to get ready for the working day every day as if you were going to the office. Staying in your pyjamas all day may sound tempting, but it doesn't necessarily help to start a regular working day.

2. Stay out of bed

Avoid working from your bed or sofa. Define a dedicated workspace to draw a clear mental boundary between your professional and private life and increase concentration. A separate room would be ideal, but specifically allocated areas in the living room or bedroom can also be sufficient. This area must be used exclusively for professional activities to promote separation and focus.

3. Maintaining a work-life balance

The constant presence of work-related tasks can interfere with personal time and lead to stress. To avoid burnout and maintain productivity, it is important to maintain core working hours and take regular breaks. Also, close the working day consciously. This could be switching off the computer, leaving the office or taking a short walk. Also, try to do non-work-related activities such as laundry after work to create a clear boundary and avoid distractions.

4. Keep in touch with colleagues

As already discussed, working from home can quickly become lonely. If you still live in the same city, meeting up after work, perhaps over a beer, is a good idea. If you live in a different city, you could still occasionally travel to the office for a few days to work from there so that you don't lose the personal connection completely. If your company doesn't have a physical office, co-working spaces are a great way to socialize.

5. Get active

The loss of the daily commute to work can lead to a reduction in exercise, so it is important to make sure you get some exercise. Be it through home workouts, walks or other physical activities. This does not have to go to extremes, 30 minutes of exercise per day has been proven to be sufficient to increase well-being.

Alternative to full-time remote work: Hybrid Work

As described above, a pure home office job is not suitable for everyone. The hybrid working model offers an alternative. With hybrid working, employees have the flexibility to decide whether they want to work in the office or at home. The days on which employees can work from home are often specified by their superiors. This allows employees to benefit from the advantages of working from home without neglecting the team dynamic. The hybrid working model has proven to be a good solution for taking into account the individual needs of employees and the requirements of employers.

Flexopus - The hot desking solution for hybrid working models

Hot Desking Software Flexopus on different screens.

One increasingly important aspect of hybrid working is "hot desking". This means that employees no longer have a fixed desk and can instead use any available workstation when they need it. This allows office space to be used more effectively, especially when on average half of the workforce is working from home anyway.

To avoid chaos in the daily desk search, Flexopus was developed. Flexopus is an intuitive hot desking solution that allows you to book workstations, meeting rooms and parking spaces in seconds. You can also see at a glance which of your colleagues are in the office or home office. To get an even better overview of office utilization, our Smart Analytics feature helps to get clarity. The software is therefore an ideal tool for employees and employers who are looking for simple work organization.

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Markus Merkle
Sales manager