5 Myths About Working From Home
There are a million reasons why working from home suits my #sleepygirl lifestyle, and why it’s the best decision I ever made. Having done it for this long, I don’t think there’s any way I could be coerced into taking a job in an office – even for more money! Being a remote worker has definitely improved my work/life balance and has given me a lot more time for personal fulfillment. I was even able to take my work on the road (or to the skies) and backpack through Europe for two whole months last year! It’s been a blessing to be afforded such an amazing opportunity, but it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be. That’s why I’m here to set the record straight on five common myths about working from home.
1. Working from home is easy; anyone can do it!
It probably seems like working from home is so easy that anyone can be successful at it, but it takes a tremendous amount of discipline and a self-starting attitude. I’ve worked with countless new hires that have had to be let go because they weren’t getting their work done or weren’t being communicative enough.
I’ve also worked with a lot of people who found they didn’t like working from home as much as they thought they would! It can be incredibly isolating not being around people all day. Some people need the routine of going to the office every day to keep their sanity, and some need to be able to interact with people face-to-face in order to be successful at their jobs.
The most important thing to understand before you decide to accept a remote position for any company is that you have to hold yourself accountable and responsible for getting your work done. Working from home is a privilege for most companies, and when it looks as though people are abusing that privilege and not fulfilling their end of the deal, it can ruin it for everyone else. Don’t be that guy (or gal)!
2. You don’t work as much from home
Not having set hours can be a double-edged sword. When you’re a remote worker, your home becomes your office. You basically never leave the office. Without the need to commute home, it’s hard to remind yourself to call it quits at the end of the day. There are times where I’ll work all day and through the night to get something done. Sometimes that means I have a couple free days at the end of the week where I’ve nothing left to do, because I jammed all that work into the beginning of the week… but sometimes that just means I end up doing more work. Either way, I’m definitely not doing any less than I would have done stuck in a cubicle all day.
There’s also the fact that even though you may not have set work-hours, you still need to make yourself available to your coworkers and clients during the day. I may be able to sleep in or take a long lunch sometimes, but if I miss an important email or phone call because I was at the spa all day, I wouldn’t have a job for much longer.
Another reason why working from home may not be easier than working from an office for some professionals is because you may live with other people. When I first moved to Houston and I lived with my parents, I found it extremely difficult to get my work done because most people – the whole reason why I’m writing this article – think you don’t have to do anything during the day! Mom needs to go to Costco? Guess who’s driving her. Laundry needs to be done? Guess who’s doing it. And there’s always my favorite… “You don’t look busy, can you run an errand for me?” I love you Mom, but there’s a reason why I moved out as fast as I did.
I can only imagine how much more difficult it is to manage your work schedule from home if you also have kids around you 24/7.
3. People who work from home are lazy
I might seem lazy to some people because I’m a self-identified #sleepygirl and, boy, do I love naps… but I like to think I’m just efficient with my time – and that’s a skill you need to have as a remote worker. I don’t have someone holding my hand during the week to keep me on track with the tasks I’ve committed to accomplishing. This is where being a self-starter comes in… and you can’t be lazy and be a self-starter at the same time.
4. You can go on vacation whenever you want
This one varies across different jobs, but for me it’s both true and untrue. My last job definitely had regular working hours and a lot of collaborative projects where I had people from multiple teams counting on me to be available during the day. In order for me to take a two-month trip to Europe, I had to get permission. That took proving that I was responsible enough to handle getting my work done while in another country… which brings me to my next point:
Technically, I was still on the clock. I had to be available for my daily team meeting and any other important meetings during the week, and I was in the middle of a huge project. I couldn’t just leave in the middle of the day to go explore Paris if I wanted, I had to make sure I was all caught up on work. There were many nights when I was on the phone until the wee hours of the morning.
5. You’re not as focused on the job when you work from home
I’ve worked at companies where I mainly worked in the office, but was allowed to work from home a few times a month. There’s always this misconception that if I’m working from home, I won’t be as committed to getting my work done or I won’t be able to focus. While this is true for some people – which is why working from home isn’t a great option for them – for me, it’s the opposite. When I’m at home I have less things distracting me from my work. Because of the current trend of open-offices, I always found it hard to get a few hours of straight coding time, with people around me all the time either talking to me or having other conversations amongst themselves.