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The Disadvantages of Working Online

Updated on June 21, 2013

I recently wrote about The Perks of Working Online, but its not always about the good things. Sometimes, working online can be unfit to a person. The list of perks is quite long, but the drawbacks are the same as well. This article will list out all the possible disadvantages of online work.

Tina Fey and daughter Alice in Amex ad
Tina Fey and daughter Alice in Amex ad | Source

People or events in the house will distract you

Given that you will enjoy the comfort of your own home, you will also need to keep up with the problems in the household. There are a lot of types of distraction that one may experience while working at home.

Parental Duties

If you are a mother or a father, you will most likely have children unless you don't have any yet. A lot of mothers are trying to work at home in order to take care of the children without sacrificing employment. It is a good thing to hear that the children won't be left with a babysitter, a nanny or a relative. The love and care of parents is different from those given by other people. But this heartwarming action taken by the parents can be a big distraction to their work. The baby may cry while it is working hours. The children may distract the parents from working, resulting to unproductive work.

Being a brother, sister or the youngest kid

It is not only mothers and fathers who have responsibilities with the younger members of the family. Being a brother or a sister needs to take over some of the tasks that working parents leave once they go to work for a living. If you are the oldest or next one, you will need to look after the younger ones. Youngest members of the family also have responsibilities on their hands. Looking after the house and securing it, making sure the pets are fed, receiving packages and mails and answering phone calls are just few of the tasks that children need to act upon.

Being a member of the household

Aside from parents, the children and immediate family members living in the house has responsibilities like household chores and other events that might come up. If you are working at home while other family members and relatives are around, socializing is inevitable. When we say socializing, actions like greetings, favor and requests, assistance and even nonsense interactions are included. Socializing is not bad, it is actually a good thing for an individual. But if it keeps on coming while you are working, it might not be good for your current situation.

Unwanted events

You'll never know what will happen next, whether its about a movie you are watching or a book you are reading or about the natural disasters and incidents that might come your way. We need to face the truth that danger is lurking around, waiting for the right time to strike. And when they do, where will you be? At home perhaps, if you are a full-time online freelancer. If anything happens while you are working, it will definitely distract you from working.

Your home might be the best place in the earth for you, but it can also be the nest of distractions for your work.

Laziness | Source

Your worst enemy is yourself

Yep! You read it right. The Chinese proverb "Your worst enemy is yourself" fits the lifestyle of being an online worker. Let me break down the reasons why.


When you are in front of the computer, there are things that you regularly do every single day. In my case, I have a set of tabs on start-up. I have e-mail accounts, my employer's site, and social media accounts. After checking all those important sites, I sometimes make a hard decision between working immediately or play a game first. For most of you readers, you might end up having the same dilemma at some point but with different choices. For new comers in the online freelance industry, you might be someone that can sit down for hours just checking your facebook and twitter account. If you get easily carried away by watching one video, you might end up watching them the whole day. Productivity will greatly suffer.

I also consider one's health as something distracting to work. I don't want to sound like some workaholic or sadistic here. But if you are in the mood for work and your body isn't, then that is some kind of distraction. It is something that is tolerable but alarming though.

Maintaining the place of work

It is important to create a work-friendly environment even if your'e just at home. Your little corner where the computer and all your other needs are should be well-kept. A messy work table can be a distraction. Promote a work-friendly environment by keeping your work area clean and organized. If there are any materials that you need for brainstorming or sources of ideas, you can keep them close to your table.

External Factors


Unless you have an alternate power source at home, you won't need to consider electricity as a problem. Most of us don't have that kind of power source. Being an online freelancer means being completely reliant on you computer and its power source. Electricity fluctuations while at work will cause a lot of problems. Unsaved files, disconnected chats and calls, computer problems or restarting the progress of your work.


Other family members and relatives are considered as distractions in the first part of this hub, but there are still other people that can take you away from working. They are your friends and acquaintances. I am not saying that you need to be unsociable with friends, both old and new. Its just that at some point in your work, they might come up in your home or invite you over to hangout.

A common misconception by most people about working online is that since they are in the comfort of their own home, they can be visited anytime. For some, this might be something tolerable, but not all online work are flexible. There are jobs that requires the freelancer to work at certain hours of the day, work at a noise-free or secluded room. There are online jobs that work like a real office job, except that it happens at home.

Available Jobs and Employers

There are a lot of news nowadays that there are problems with the employment rate of a certain country. Maybe it is about the standards or the experience needed, but one thing is for sure, the same trend is happening towards specific industries online. Though a lot of jobs are posted on freelance and services sites, a certain applicant may not be fit on the position. It is still a challenge to get a job that pays good and does not compromise everything on your side.

I'm pretty sure you have your thoughts about working online, finalized already. If not, you can still check out the freelance sites on the right side. These sites are not just for online freelancers, they are also for the people who seek professionals to work for their company.

I hope you'll have good judgement of whether working online is good for you or not.


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    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Very interesting and true points. My family is grown, but when I began writing online I found I was more creative at night, and would stay up late working. My husband asked why I couldn't write during the day. But there are just too many distractions. The phone, cleaning and doing laundry, it all has to be done. I keep telling myself I will make up a schedule to get up earlier and keep to specific hours on specific days, but so far have been unable to do that, something always comes up that has to be taken care of.. We have to be tough on ourselves, and so far I'm still writing at night!