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Five Signs it’s Time to Stop Working from Home

Nov 6, 2014 | Blog

When you come from being chained to a desk for eight or more hours a day, working from home sounds like a dream. No office politics, no boss breathing down your neck, nobody taking the last cup of coffee without making a new pot – it has to be better, right? Flexible hours sound great and the additional time saved not having to get ready in the morning means productivity has the potential to be sky high. The problem is that unless very specific planning happens, there is little separation between work and home, resulting in a lack of balance. It’s not unheard of to go for days at a time without seeing someone, showering, or even leaving the house. If you’re starting to wonder if you wouldn’t be better served being in an office, here are a few signs that it’s time to stop working from home.

  1. You’ve been in the same pajamas for three days. Hey, no judgement here. We’ve all been there. Stuck in a rut, a bad breakup, a newborn baby – all of these things can make showering seem like a chore. When you work from home, it’s easy to wake up and get right to it. After all, if you have no meetings or video conferences, there’s really no reason to get dressed to impress your dog. If you find yourself starting to neglect your daily shower, it’s probably time to develop a little bit of a morning routine that at least involves putting on different clothes and running a brush through your hair (and teeth).
  2. You can’t remember the last time you left the house. Working from home can put you into a familiar routine. You get up, you eat breakfast, you go to your desk, you eat lunch, you go back to your desk, you eat dinner, you go to sleep and you wake up and do it all over again. In fact, if you didn’t have technology in the mix, you might have to pull a Tom Hanks and start marking the days on the wall. If you find that days are starting to run together and you’re not sure when you last ventured outside – it might be time to consider a new arrangement.
  3. You’ve put on a little weight. When you work a desk job, you already have to be sure to monitor your physical activity, but this is even truer when you work from home. Employees that work from home are significantly more stationary than those that commute to work. The added steps required to get to the office, walk around to pick up things you’ve printed or get feedback on a project, talk to coworkers, go to lunch and get into the conference room can really add up – where a trip from your home office to the refrigerator to get lunch might only be 100 feet or so.
  4. You talk too much. As a human, it’s natural to crave attention from other humans. People need regular interaction and conversation – as much time as we spend on Facebook and Twitter, it’s just not the same. If you’ve finally ventured out of the office for the first time in a few days and you find you’re monopolizing the conversation, it could be a sign that you need to find some focused office space.
  5. You’re reloading your Starbucks card too much. Many that work from home inevitably find themselves going stir crazy and have to get out of the house. The first place they go is to their local coffee shop. Thankfully, coffee shops are the perfect oasis for someone working from home. They serve to provide a nice jolt of energy, a change of scenery and a different atmosphere. But the cups of coffee can add up throughout the week. If you find yourself having to reload your Starbucks card too often, it might be time to consider getting some office space.

There’s no doubt that there can be some great perks to working from home. But staring at laundry and going too many days without showering can take a toll on your mental health. Walking around the same space may inevitably lead to an existential crisis of sorts. If you find you’re struggling to balance work and life with little separation between the two, it might be time to consider getting office space or renting a desk.

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