The Challenges of Working from Home
- Thursday, January 24, 2008
This is Part II of a two-part series on working from home. Click here to read Part I: Is Working from Home for You?
It’s really hard work.
When I first worked at home, my youngest son was only four. Little Robbie definitely preferred my company to playing alone. He loves physical touch and wanted to be held often. Consequently, when we were together, my concentration was on him. Because of his personality and needs, on most days, it would have been easier to work outside my home than to get something done at home.
Having children to care for is only one reason working at home is challenging. It’s also difficult to know when to stop;
to separate work and home;
to put in all the extra hours you need to start a business;
to work when you’d rather watch the Food Network;
to learn aspects of the business world that were formerly unknown to you;
to lovingly explain to children, parents, friends, and family that you need to work, even though you are home;
to say no to volunteering at the school carnival because you have a deadline to meet;
to fight the guilt when you say no because you’re sure everyone is wondering why you don’t have the time since you work at home.
When I start feeling overwhelmed by the demands, I force myself to take a break. I refocus on God and His promise to never leave me. I remember that God offers to give me wisdom, protection, strength, and encouragement if I only ask. Then I remember I haven’t asked God lately for those things, and go to Him in prayer.
Yes, working at home is difficult, at times overwhelming, but we have a God who is able to help. The author of Hebrews encourages us with these words when we are weak:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15–17).
There is a danger of workaholism.
Psychotherapist Bryan E. Robinson, author of Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them, calls workaholism the “best-dressed addiction in the United States.” It’s depicted by the worker who feels a compulsion to work and who finds it hard, if not impossible, to engage in her personal life. Let the warning bell sound now, because if you have trouble with workaholism working outside your home, it will increase at home.
John Maxwell, in an article entitled “Work Addiction” in his enewsletter Leadership Wired, warns about this problem: “The work addict has lost the fundamental ability to disconnect and disengage from the demands of the office. Aside from personal health concerns, workaholism negatively affects job performance by depriving work addicts of rest and rendering them powerless to meet new challenges with the necessary energy reserves to solve complex problems.”
The unfortunate aspect of workaholism is that many see it as something to be desired rather than avoided. In the workplace, the workaholic may rise to the top of his or her profession and be envied or admired by others. However, this obsessive need to work often masks deeper emotional issues. While the workaholic may succeed in the short-run, there inevitably will be some type of breakdown—whether relational, physical, spiritual, or emotional.
Robinson, whose private practice is in Asheville, North Carolina, conducted research at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and found the divorce rate among workaholics is 40 percent higher than the rest of the population. Workaholics also suffer physical ailments, such as headaches, exhaustion, and muscle tension.
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