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When I first imagined working at home, I thought about how I’d be able to take my kids to the park, keep a clean house, and …oh yeah…do some work. The reality of working at home has been a little different. There were more challenges and some bubbles burst, but I will say, I still prefer to it to a traditional job.
However, the reality is that your expectations and perceptions of working at home likely will not turn out to be the reality. To have success working at home, it helps to know and anticipate some of the issue you may need to confront. Our experts this week share some of the misconceptions about working at home. Hopefully you can take these stories and use them to make your journey to work at home success smoother.
As a work at home mom, I often get treated as though my schedule is 100% my own. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m a triple business owner and mom to two girls. It’s as if people believe my work happens by magic. I use to try and point out all the things I do to keep the house running and business booming, but that seemed defensive. Now when people make assumptions about all my free time I laugh and state the next 3 biggest priorities I have in the works. Working from home doesn’t mean others don’t depend on me to complete things in a timely manner.
You can do what you want, when you want for more work-life balance: This can be far from the truth, if anything you will work more than you did at the office. Early morning meetings? Booked. Late emails that mean you jump back onto your PC happen frequently as well.
Its easier than working in an office: While there are some perks to working from home like no peak hour traffic to sit through in the morning and evening. You will often find you are not taking as many breaks as you would in an office or you are cramming your errands and chores into your lunch break. This is because when you work from home you must be very disciplined so you don’t fall behind in your work.
“As work-at-home professionals who serve a freelance audience, we have a lot of experience of this issue,” says Rob Palmer of GoFreelance.
“Unbelievably, there are still people who think anyone who works from home is lazy and skiving off real work. My response to this is to remind people that unlike most office workers in salaried jobs, I don’t get paid if I don’t produce. My income is directly linked to the number of hours I put in.
“Another issue occurs when friends and neighbors think that if you are at home, you must be available for a leisurely coffee and chat. I have learned to tell such callers quite bluntly that I am busy working right now, but would love them to call back at 5.00pm when I knock off. I have lost a few friends this way, but they are the kind of friends I could do without.”
One misconception is that they think you don’t actually work and are able to sip wine and watch TV in your PJ’s all day. I tend to respond by emphasizing that we still have to ‘work’ while at home, and sipping wine while working or watching TV is not something I am able to do while staying productive.
1. A more relaxing environment. – Working from home is even more stressful. You have to manage both work and personal life in one setting.
2. More vacation time as in working from the beach.- This is how the Internet depicts the typical digital nomad / remote worker. Managing time when working from home is actually a challenge which if you don’t get to do well, you’d end up working even in your bed at night!
Note From Leslie:
Working at home is awesome! But as our experts point out, it’s not without its issues. Common misconceptions I run into include:
- I can drop work at anytime to take care of something: Theoretically, this is true, but to drop work because of a phone call to chat doesn’t really respect my time. While I can work whenever I want, and take a break whenever as well, I try to work a set schedule during the day so that I have time for my family when they’re home.
- I’m lazy and watch TV: I probably watch more TV and YouTube than I should, but that’s not because I work from home. And I don’t do it when I supposed to be working. As far as lazy, I feel like I work harder and put in more mental energy into my work than I did before. The only difference is that I’m more productive, which means I do more in less time and therefore can work less.
- It fixes all work-life balance hassles: I still had to use daycare with my kids, although less of it. While working at home can help with work-life balance, it doesn’t automatically eliminate issues that make it hard to do both.