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8 Signs that you are not suited for working from home

August 26, 2020

As much as we love working from home, we know that working from home is not for everybody.

For myself, I think my personality fits the work from home lifestyle – though it still took time to be completely productive at home. I even began missing my work from home days when I started working from an office.

For Rin, the process wasn’t as smooth. Rin had trouble adjusting to working from home on a full time basis, and she never felt truly comfortable.

There are some surefire signs that a person isn’t suited to work remotely or work from home, and here are some of them.

1. Your house is completely not suited for working

One of the main reasons for not being able to work at home is the conduciveness of the environment you are working in at home. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to control or change their home environment, and it’s not their fault.

For example, some people don’t have enough space at home to have a proper workstation. Some live with a large family with little space of their own, and little peace to get work done. Some might live next to an unbearably noisy place, or they might live in a place that doesn’t get good Internet connection.

Don’t beat yourself over this.

dress up for work

2. You feel the need to dress up and commute to work

For some people, the act of dressing up and commuting to work puts them into their “work mode” every morning. Likewise, the act of commuting home after work allows them to mentally knock off work and go into “relax mode”.

For Rin, dressing up for work helps her feel more confident and empowered. I guess that’s why she has such an extensive wardrobe? 😉

3. You have no self discipline

Working at home without the constant supervision of your manager might be great for your freedom, but if you lack discipline to get tasks done, it might be detrimental to your career.

It’s not a shame to say you lack discipline either! Plenty of people would easily slip into “relax mode” at home. I did too, when I first started running my own business from home.

If you absolutely need the presence of a supervisor to make sure you get work done, then perhaps working from home isn’t for you.

4. You lack self motivation

This is somewhat connected to the point about a lack of discipline.

If you find yourself having to drag yourself to the computer, or when you start looking at the time even at home, you probably lack motivation to work.

This problem isn’t as big if you are an employee hired to do a fixed amount of tasks with a fixed salary. If you are running your own business or are a self-employed freelancer, a lack of motivation can mean the difference between staying in business and not making ends meet.

If you are the type that requires constant external motivation (like a nagging boss, the threat of losing your job, or seeing your co-workers working hard), then working alone at home might not be for you.

5. You need someone to tell you what to do

Some of us need more guidance than others when it comes to work. For example, you may need someone to tell you exactly what are the tasks you should be doing today and to complete them by what time.

If you are not good at keeping up to speed with your to-do list or you generally need a lot of reminders, then working alone at home may not be the best arrangement for you.

6. You are too easily distracted

Do you find yourself constantly having to check your social media apps on your phone? Do you always have the urge to switch to another browser tab to watch videos, and end up watching them for too long?

Do you walk to the fridge every 15 minutes to check whether a fairy godmother has magically refilled your beers?

If you are, you might be too easily distracted to be productive at home.

At work, you’ll get judged if you are constantly away from your desk, and prying eyes may stop you from reading the online manga on another browser. But at home, you have too much freedom!

If you are able to keep yourself from being distracted long enough to finish some work, good for you!

interacting with colleagues

7. You need human interaction

One of the most immediate things a person who switches to working from home notices is the lack of people around you.

You either love it or hate it.

Introverts like me have the easiest time adapting to the quieter environment. Most of us actually enjoy it more when we don’t have to engage with people the entire day.

Extroverts might find it jarring when they aren’t able to see their peers around them. (Parents, siblings, kids, and pets don’t really count.)

One of the things extroverts enjoy about working in an office environment is that they get to hang out with wonderful colleagues, exchange ideas, and collaborate on interesting projects. When you work from home alone, you lose a lot of these opportunities.

Some people report feeling depressed when they are cut off from their friends, and being alone for a long period of time. If you think you are potentially one of these people, then try remote working in a co-working space instead of working from home.

8. You get depressed when you are cooped up at home for long periods of time

Do you get “cabin fever”? The phenomenon of cabin fever traces back to people who get sick of staying in their log cabins in snowstorms.

Signs of cabin fever include having trouble concentrating, feeling unmotivated, having difficulty waking up, feeling the need to nap or even craving for certain food.

Some people are more prone to cabin fever, while others are more than happy to stay in the comfort of their home for extended periods of time. If staying at home makes you feel depressed easily, you may not be suitable for working from home.


It is not the end of the world if you find yourself not suited to working from home.

You can read our tips on how to enjoy working from home, to see if they help you. You can also choose a half-half arrangement, where you work at home half the week, and work in a nearby cafe on other days.

There are also co-working solutions you can consider. Ultimately, you need to decide what makes you happiest and most productive in order for you to lead your desired working lifestyle.

Do you feel like you are suited or not suited for working from home? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Marc

Marc has worked from home for over 10 years, started as a freelancer, then a consultant, all the way up to being a marketing agency owner. He's an entrepreneur at heart, and is passionate about helping others find success in remote working.

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Marc & Rin

We are a husband and wife team that are both working from home in Singapore. We share our experiences working from home and to impart our knowledge to others who are seeking to do the same. Learn more about us

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