When my Mom was just leaving high school and looking to join the working world, there wasn't this thing called working from home or a remote job with the exception of being a stay at home mom and house wife. Most people in the workforce back in the Sixties and early Seventies went off to a separate place to do work. Offices, Retail Spaces, Salons, etc no one went to a coffee shop to work or stayed in the basement to take sales calls or to write their next big book.
Fast forward to today, where you can work from anywhere, and that does literally mean anywhere as long as your phone can be used as a hot spot or can access the internet, you can work. We are ever connected to our jobs. What does this mean to the way it changes how this impacts our duties at home and the expectations people have of us when we work from home?
We thought we'd share the common misconceptions people have about working from home:
Working from home gives you extra free time to be catching up on laundry, cooking, exercising, and spending time with family. People who work from home get so much more done because they have less of a commute and can easily fill free time with home chores.
Why is this a misconception?
When you are working from home, your employer expects you to be doing just that, working. If you are working and then having to worry about laundry, cooking, and taking care of children how much are you really focused on your work? Some people can focus on only work and do it really well, but there is a vast majority of people who end up just doing a lot of house work and family stuff and very little work work.
Why is this? Chores are distracting. Dirty dishes piled up in the sink can be annoying. The buzzer from the dryer going off takes you away from your focus. Putting the tv on the background doesn't give you the atmosphere you may need to really focus and get a lot more done.
When people work from home another thing can happen, they become doormats for others who need their help. All of a sudden, spouses need calls to be made, dry cleaning to be dropped off, kids to be picked up, parents to be taken to appointments, and home repairs to be completed. I best almost every work from home person has had someone say, you were home today, so why didn't you get the laundry done.
This misconception of how to manage time kind of goes with the one above but since it belongs to other people we'll leave it out by its own. So the misconception is, when you work from home, you have all of this free time. The actuality is that you have the same amount of free time as someone who works in an office with the exception that people expect quite a bit more from you.
When people work from home, they can get meeting invites super early in the morning or super late at night. It seems as if the clock has disappeared and they now live without a timezone.
Why is this? When you are out of sight and out of mind people tend to forget to keep your location in mind when scheduling meetings or they figure you can just take the call in your pajamas. But, is this a fair way to treat someone who works from home? I would challenge that idea and say no.
You are part of a large organization, but are not included in any of the cool things they do because you work from home. You feel very isolated.
One of the misconceptions that people have around working from home is that it will be the best time ever because they won't have to be around people. What a lot of people don't always understand is that we need to be around people in order to grow and thrive. This is why you will see people work from coffee shops. It is away to get out and be surrounded by other people and to know that in this great big world that you aren't alone.
One of the biggest reasons coworking was created was to help people who worked from home find a better place to work without having to take on the major responsibility and liability of a full time lease. Coworking is first and foremost about community and belonging.
So what is your story? Does your spouse hound you about the laundry? Do your parents ask you to take them to their appointments, or are you always the constant babysitter because you work from home.
CoWorks @ Vita Therapia is a Shared Space and Coworking Center located in Westford, MA. To see how they can help you with your space solutions needs schedule a tour.