Working from home can be both beneficial and incredibly challenging. Here are 5 common misconceptions about remote work and how it may affect your team.
For many of you, the benefits and challenges of working from home have become your reality over the past month. You may feel like you’ve really gotten the hang of it; you have your routine of waking up, heading straight to the coffee pot, then getting right to work in your own little office space you’ve created. However, your boss, coworkers, friends, and family (or maybe even you) aren’t fully convinced that working from home is a potential path to success.
The reality of working from home (like the reality of anything) isn’t quite as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Sure, you can work 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:
- It’s Easier Than Working At An Office
Certain aspects of working from home are easier. 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, you could spend 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).
- 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 staying just a 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.