The reality of working from home (like the reality of anything) isn’t quite as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Sure, youwork in your PJs, and not having a boss peering over your shoulder every second can be lovely. But the lack of a commute and fridge full of snacks nearby doesn’t mean remote work is easy.
Work is still work, wherever you do it from. And working from home poses its own unique set of challenges that traditional office workers may not be prepared for. If you’re currently working from home—or have a friend or loved one who is—you may have noticed that the following notions about working from home are all decidedly untrue:
1. It’s easier than working at an office
Certain aspects of working from homeeasier. You aren’t faced with the constant distractions of ringing phones, your cubicle neighbor’s annoying pen-tapping habit, or coworkers wandering into your office to chat. You can take a break if you start to feel drained without worrying about getting in trouble. You can even run out for a quick walk around the neighborhood or stop to make another pot of coffee at any point.
But being on your own requires more discipline and determination than being accountable to an ever-present boss. Sure, youspend the day browsing Facebook or catching up on laundry, but if you don’t keep yourself on task, you’ll pay for it later by having to pull an all-nighter. And if you aren’t sticking to a disciplined work schedule, you could have some unhappy clients wondering why their projects aren’t getting done on time.
Sticking to a schedule when you’re the only one responsible for enforcing it means you need to be very good at resisting temptations and adhering to a schedule (even a self-imposed one).
2. It’s not really “working”
Many traditional workplaces measure productivity using the “butt in chair” method: If the boss sees you parked at your chair at 8:50 a.m. and still there at 5:10 p.m., they’ll think you must be working hard. In reality, this can be far from the truth.
Plenty of people can look like they’re being productive by surfing the web, shuffling papers whenever the boss walks by, and stayinga little longer than anyone else. But what really matters is results, and when you don’t have that “butt in chair” accountability holding you hostage, you can actually find yourself working a lot harder. When you have control over your own hours, why would you want to waste your own time?
In addition, many people who gravitate towards working from home (freelancers, entrepreneurs, and the like) are naturally self-starters who take their jobs very seriously and challenge themselves to produce their best work. This can translate to lots of late work nights and weekends because when someone else isn’t turning the lights out at 5:00 p.m., there’s nothing to force you to stop working.
3. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want
While it’s true you’ll be able to get those coveted midday doctor’s appointments you weren’t “allowed” to take as an office worker, that doesn’t mean you can throw your to-do list to the wind and binge Netflix whenever you feel like it.
If you’re a savvy scheduler and able to keep yourself on task, you might be able to get away with the occasional free period to play hooky, but for the most part, your business depends on your dedication, so too many absences can come back to haunt you just like they would in the corporate world.
4. It gives you a better work-life balance
When I worked a traditional nine to five, as much as I hated it I could at least take comfort in the fact that I could turn off my “work brain” the instant 5:00 p.m. hit. My evenings and weekends were a completely different world in which my work played no part. Now that I work for myself, however, I find myself working more hours than ever.
5. Working from home isn’t an option for me
While there are several vocations that require the physical being in a space in order to get the job done, many people are surprised to see just how many jobs can be performed from home. With the mandatory shelter in place orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, employees and employers alike are taking their work to their own homes and finding that it actually works.
As you may have learned by now, working from home is not a cakewalk. If you’re the type of worker who needs a little handholding to make sure you stay on task, then working remote has likely been a challenging transition for you. However, as long as you see the above as challenges to rise to then you are likely going to thrive in this new age of remote work.
Work from home resources
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