Working from home misconceptions

April 22 2017

When I tell people that I work from home as a remote employee, most say one of two things:

That would never work for me!

Certain lines of work simply cannot be done working from home, I understand that. Large-scale construction is one example which comes to mind.

For some who’ve said that, they mean it in a different way. In the hypothetical scenario that their job could be done from home and their company permitted it, they’d still go about their day the same as what they do now. These people prefer to leave the house, endure the commute, work from 9-5pm, and then come home in the early evening. The act of leaving the house and commuting enables them to make the context switch from home to work mode and they prefer that there is a physical separation between the two. It also plays to people’s desire to have a purpose in life, their place of work is where they’re needed so that’s where they’re headed. The social side of work life is important too and they wouldn’t want to forego that.

With the exception of the social aspect of work life, the rest are things that people have been conditioned to believe and do just because that’s what everyone does. The narrative that these workers like to tell themselves is “I’m at work so I must be working” simply isn’t true. If you’ve ever worked on a project that required time tracking down to the minute(awful I know) you’ll know this is the case.

Being able to work from home effectively is something that must be learnt over time. It’s no different to your first few days in school(though you probably can’t remember it). The regimented 9am start and 3:30pm finish is a shock to the system for most kids here in the UK. They simply aren’t used to concentrating for long periods of time so they end up leaving looking like zombies and just want to crash out on the sofa as soon as they arrive home. Though they soon get used to it and working from home is no different.

Funnily enough, some people say the following:

It must be piss easy to work from home all the time

Well, I’ve got a newsflash for you, it isn’t! In fact it’s harder than working in an office because you constantly push yourself harder!

To be able to succeed working from home you need the confidence to be able to do your job, and with that confidence comes self-imposed pressure you put on yourself. Things you once found challenging become trivial and mundane, as a result, you feel guilty for not working as hard as you once did, so you try to push yourself even harder. This is a vicious cycle that can potentially lead to overwork and burnout which isn’t good for you or your company. If you want to have a healthy work life balance the key is to know when to push and when to back off, and only you can know that.