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What are the disadvantages of telecommuting?


Question: What are the disadvantages of telecommuting?
Working moms often imagine working from home is the solution to sick kids and horrendous commutes. But there are disadvantages to telecommuting. Before beginning to work from home, you'd be wise to think through the disadvantages of telecommuting.

The disadvantages of telecommuting are tied to the main advantage -- you don't have to go into an office every day. But while it sounds great to avoid rush hour, consider the downsides.

Becoming isolated. Loneliness is the number one disadvantage of telecommuting. If you're working from home full-time, you may start to time your coffee break to the arrival of the mail man. That's how desperate you can become for human contact!

Missing out on shop talk. You're so much more productive when you telecommute because you don't waste time chit-chatting with co-workers. But the gossip serves an important purpose -- building relationships and allowing for casual brainstorming and information sharing.

If you telecommute, make sure to regularly call colleagues and stop by the office to keep your network strong. Identify the important meetings and events to attend in person. You want to avoid being blindsided by layoffs, being unaware of a new corporate strategy or missing an opportunity to participate in high-profile projects.

Becoming the fallback child care provider. When you're working from home, people sometimes forget the "working" part. You run the risk of neighbors, teachers and even your spouse taking for granted that you will be in the home during work hours. While it may be simple to let a repair person in the house now and then, you don't want to be called on for multiple errands and child care when you're supposed to be doing your job.

Feeling work-family conflict. If you have young children at home, it can be hard for them to understand that you're physically present but unable to care for them. They may refuse consolation from their babysitter if they know you're only a few feet away. Some work-at-home moms even pretend to leave for work and sneak back into their home office! Older children and even spouses may fail to respect your work time or space and interrupt for just a "quick question."

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