Working from home sounds like a dream for many people — you can work from the comfort of your duvet, no-one’s looking over your shoulder (at least, not physically), and you can snuggle with your cat/child/cushion of choice as much as you like. Sounds amazing right? That’s what I thought, but it’s not all unicorns and mermaids! There are lots of things you don’t think about until you’re officially working from home. Here are a few myths I’m destroying, not to ruin your dreams, but just so people know I’m not gallivanting around my house all day in my PJs!
- Working in your pyjamas is great
Working in your pyjamas sounds great when you have to wear a suit every day. But after the first week or so of waking up and plunging straight into work (or waking up and procrastinating), you’ll realise that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Working in your pyjamas is a sure-fire way to make yourself feel demotivated, and maybe even a little bit stinky. It’s much better to get up, shower and put on proper clothes before you start work so that your brain’s in work mode, you feel good, and just in case you have to take an unexpected Skype call, you won’t have to scramble to find your knickers. It’s so easy to forget that you need to get dressed.
Of course, the perk of working from home is that you can wear what you want compared to having a uniform etc. But that does mean more washing and time thinking about what you’re going to wear. My current favourite outfit is this really relaxed but comfortable look from Fashion World. The plus size roll neck jumper is so soft and comfortable and the snake print culottes are so on trend that it hurts BUT are so comfortable they feel like pyjamas! Oh, and they come in different lengths #winning
- Working from home means that you have a better work-life balance
Working from home means that you no longer have to factor commuting into your day, sure. But if you’re not self-disciplined, your working hours can easily carry on well into the night; it’s much harder to switch off when your office is in your house. Even more so when you have kids. I’ll often send emails at 1 am and forget that normal people are asleep. Most of the time I think people feel sorry for me and ask how I do it. Truth be told, I don’t even know!
- Working from home can decrease your productivity
This is a common fear; if no-one’s checking that you’re working, it’s harder to resist the temptation to catch up on your favourite TV shows, or browse Facebook. However, in reality, it’s generally the opposite. Working from home means that there are fewer distractions — no water cooler talk, no cake to tempt you to frequent staff room trips, no noisy co-workers — and there’s pressure to meet targets rather than simply show up to work every morning. Add to this the fact that people who work from home are often happier, and you’ve got a recipe for increased, not decreased, productivity.
- Working from home makes it harder to communicate
Working from home can actually lead to better, more focused communication — Skype meetings and (maybe) in-person meetings are great for touching base and checking everyone’s on the same page. They tend to be shorter and less frequent than those scheduled for in-office personnel, freeing up time in the week for doing actual work — no more sitting through long housekeeping meetings. For everything else, email means that you can be constantly in contact with managers, clients, colleagues, and anyone else.
- Working from home will make you lonely
Depending on your set-up, this doesn’t need to be the case. If you’re a remote employee, many workplaces set up remote ‘break times’ where you can chat with colleagues or non-work related chat groups where you can socialise online. If you’re a freelancer, there are lots of ways to prevent loneliness. Joining a co-working space is a great way to meet other freelancers, as they generally run lots of social events on a weekly basis (even if you only use the co-working space for a couple of days a month). If you just miss the hubbub of people around you, you can head to a café or library to get some work done. Even if you don’t do either of these, working from home can actually help to prevent loneliness, as it frees up time to spend with your existing family and friends.
Beware though, people expect you to respond to WhatsApp messages instantly, even if it’s just asking how you are. People definitely have the expectation that you couldn’t possibly be busy if you’re working from home!
- Working from home = working whenever, wherever
When you work from home, your schedule might be flexible — but it isn’t that flexible. Remote workers still have deadlines, targets, and they’re expected to be available during normal working hours to talk to clients or your manager. Although it would be nice, you can’t just take the day off when you feel like it. Plus, if you’re freelance, sick pay kind of doesn’t exist!
- Working from home isn’t really working
Working from home takes self-discipline, a proactive attitude, and lots of determination — which is why people who work from home tend to excel at what they do. It cuts out all the fluff and can make you more efficient, more productive, and happier overall. And it’s definitely a ‘real job’ — even if you do it in your pyjamas (I won’t tell).