Rainbows and unicorns. That’s the vision most have of working from home. Do you also dream about working from home as an employee or an entrepreneur? I love the freedom and flexibility it has provided to me and my family over the past 9 years. However, there are a few key myths to debunk before you take the plunge.
The 5 Myths about Working from Home
- I will spend my day eating bon-bons on the couch while watching Oprah: Nobody really thinks this actually, but some will comment about how fabulous it must be to get the laundry done, have the house cleaned, and be able to do all of the weekend chores during the week. Perhaps they missed the first four-letter word in the phrase, “WORK from home?” Better plan to DVR Oprah and save those easy-to-grab bon-bons for lunch (see next myth).
- Bring on the custom salads! I will finally eat healthfully every single day: Sure, I had dreams of healthy living, of making fresh meals from scratch every day during my lunch hour. But at home, I have the same time-management issues I had at traditional offices: getting up from my desk to leave. I am still the same “on-the-go” lunch eater I always was before coming home to work. I just get to eat fast-food in pajamas. (Thank goodness for the pajamas. Those bon-bons are doing a number on this sedentary lifestyle.)
- Look out, world! My fit, exercised body will knock your socks off!: If you don’t work out at the office now, it is unlikely that you will work out from home. You are the same you—just officing from a different location! It is harder for me to exercise during the day when working from home because my goldfish never stops by my desk, tapping his foot impatiently while insisting that I finish that last email up so we can get outside and use our lunch hour to exercise.
- The laundry will always be gloriously complete, folded, and put away daily: In reality, here’s what happens: I start a load before I go to work (in my home office). I forget to move the load from the washer to the dryer for days. I then have to start the same load again. So much for daily housekeeping. (But isn’t a clean house a myth anyway?)
- I will finally write that novel/read that book/finish that project: You will save a bit of time from commuting, sure. But if you are an employee working from home, there is a general impression that you should be available more since you have no commute. Don’t expect to store up hours of extra time. In fact, you’ll find yourself checking emails while eating breakfast, just to get caught up on what is happening before you get into the office–which is 50 feet away. (Tough commute, though. Legos may or may not be highway obstacles on my daily commute.)
Working from home will be more prevalent in the near future as more and more employees request it and millennials require it. Be informed about all of the advantages as well as the myths.
Rebecca Barth, a work-at-home entrepreneur for 9 years, speaks to and consults with groups and companies about social media and about how to work from home efficiently and effectively. She can be reached here or on Twitter at @RebeccaRejoices.