The Dark Side of Working From Home

Easy access to too many comforts is not good at all for productivity. Working from home could be a disaster when you consider the potential impact on your quality of life, marriage, kids, and not to mention the overall success of your business.

Anything that makes you too comfortable is a red flag.

If you become comfortable you take less action and when you take less action you stop pushing your full potential. Working from home is dangerous because of the comfort it brings—you get too relaxed. When people get excited about working from home I feel I need to warn them.

When working at home you will constantly be walking through a gauntlet of distractions—these things can and will throw you off your game. In a 2013 article from Forbes, they reported that 30 million Americans work from home at least once a week, and that number was expected to go up 63% in the next five years. If those estimations are correct, that means there are roughly 37.5 million Americans working from home once a week today.

The level of discipline it takes to generate solid results and work from home is intense—and most people fail at home because of this fact. The home is filled with constant distractions: spouse, kids, pets, TV, your computer, tablet, your couch and your own bed to take a nap. The few who have discipline can segregate and manage their business from home, but it is only for the most disciplined.

In addition to that 3 million Americans work from home every day of the week and out of them 54% say they are happier. I guarantee they are happy because they are more comfortable but are they more productive?

When your personal kitchen is 10 feet away from your workspace and your TV is in the same room you’re going to like it better. Working from home is a bad idea and a bad business plan for 99% of people, but seeking comfort over financial freedom is what separates the most successful from the moderately successful. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough. The economy is brutal and the competition is fierce. Keep in mind that half of all businesses fail in their first year—and that number is rising. Too many people go into business ill prepared and then try to do so from home for the wrong reasons.

For the rare few elite who have strong boundaries and are incredibly disciplined working at home can be extremely rewarding and successful. The first thing these elite do is dedicate a workspace where nothing else happens but business. They create very strict boundaries where there are no pets, kids or family allowed. If you work with your wife or husband they aren’t your spouse in this workspace, they must be focused on fulfilling their work role, just as they would at an external office.

This workspace must be sacred and strictly about work. You need to enter this workspace as you would a bank you are acquiring a $50-million loan from. In your mind, if your home is like a recreation park, your home office needs to be like a battlefield.

Have family meetings and get agreements to clear boundaries from the start. Get a written agreement from everyone at home that no interruptions are allowed and your space is OFF LIMITS.

You must switch your mindset. The main motivations for those that work from home are flawed. The goal of the home office is to increase the quality of your life by producing more at work, not by being more comfortable. This ‘comfortable’ concept will eliminate any chance of a person reaching their full potential and possibly even surviving as an entrepreneur. Look at the failing companies who don’t even work at home who got comfortable and have now ceased to exist. It is vital that you understand; you work for you. You have to manage yourself. You have to wear two hats—the boss and the employee.

Those who want to work for themselves and know they are not yet disciplined enough to work from home should consider using an executive office space provider—such as Regus.com. These services provide a low-cost solution for space, boundaries and the professional setup without an intense capital outlay. This is what I did when I started my first company until I trusted my discipline and had developed very strong boundaries.

Now that you know the warnings, having a home office setup can be great. It certainly has benefits saving time and money, which can be reinvested into the business. Just make sure to take and honest look at your goals for the business and your work style. Make sure all decisions are goal-oriented and not comfort-oriented.

What successes have you had working from home? Let me know in the comments below.

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