Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, a path chosen by many (including myself) in the modern workplace, and it’s not hard to see why for those of us self employed, but also in employment.
From an employee perspective, the benefits of avoiding commutes is obvious, and for us self employed, keeping costs of office space down is vital, and especially helped by the acceptance to hold meetings in hotel receptions, coffee houses and locations outside of the traditional office space.
The benefits are there for employers too – not only to equally keep overhead costs down in provision of desk space, and also time and resource in commuters, but it also shows a significant amount of trust to your employees that the work will be done.
As someone who has worked form home both as an employee and now with my own company, there are naturally misconceptions and myths that always need to be countered.
Here’s a few I’ve heard:
So you just work in bed in your pyjamas:
Whilst there will be days that you may not see anyone, being in the mindset of work is important to getting the work done. I have known some who still get suited and booted to work from home.
You can be just as productive working on the couch as at a desk or table. While you should make yourself as comfortable as possible, the couch should not serve as your primary place of work. Save your neck and back! But also the distraction of a television in your face is not always the best motivation (even if it is not switched on – is the temptation there?)
It’s hard to separate work from life if you’re in the same place.
Perhaps the hardest battle, but one that is workable by having a room dedicated to work and being able to shut the door at the end of the day. Out/summer houses are also a great idea as then you have room to grow and have a meeting space for clients outside the house – plus there is the psychological side that you are actually ‘leaving the house.’
Meetings aren’t productive because they’re not face-to-face.
In our experience, meetings in the virtual space can be more efficient and productive than in office. We are all extra sensitive to everyone’s varying time zones and don’t feel the need to waste time. We also greatly value the in-person meetings and tasks throughout the day, since they are not the norm.
But it’s important to keep a balance with real ‘face to face meetings too, no one likes a hermit!’
“Work from home” strictly means working from home, as opposed to other non-office settings.
We work from hotels, parks, cafes, restaurants, airplanes, libraries, pools, beaches, rooftops, nail salons — the list goes on and on. Essentially, as long as I have an internet connection and a mobile, I can work anywhere!
You can do your work anytime, night or day, without deadlines.
Because business thrives upon other people’s deadlines and needs, we work when everyone else does — and then some! Plus in PR you are always working to journalist deadlines.
You work more than people who work in the office.
It’s possible. It often becomes hard to draw the line when your home becomes a place for work and everything else, but it is very important to insist on a disciplined daily routine that involves having a break – eating, relaxing, taking a walk, etc.
There are too many distractions at home to work efficiently.
It does take discipline, there is no doubt. You become extremely good at cutting out all the noise and focusing on the task at hand. Like anything, it takes practice, but we all remain so grateful to be able to, e.g. write a report or take an important call from the park, that we work even harder than we would from inside a cubicle.
Anyone can work from home.
It is certainly not for everyone (my husband freely says he couldn’t), but I firmly stand behind the idea that work is something that you do, not a place that you go. As my old boss used to say, as long as the work is done, on schedule, does it matter where it is completed?
What’s your experience of working from you? Have I missed any myths to be busted?