As more people embrace the option to work from home, professionals who are still stuck in the office often wonder what it's like to live the dream. Having total control over your schedule with no boss looking over your shoulder probably sounds enticing, but the reality might not live up to your expectations. Remote work requires strong focus and self-discipline. Before you make the transition, get an accurate picture of the challenges of work-from-home jobs.
Myth #1: You Can Stay in Bed
Hanging out in bed with snacks and a laptop does work for some people, but being too relaxed could weaken your work ethic. For the first few days, an ultra-casual environment helps you destress. Over time, however, it's common to lose motivation and struggle with procrastination because you don't have the same professional mindset.
Not to mention, workers who use video conferencing throughout the day need to dress professionally and work in a presentable area. Remember, your boss may stop letting employees work from home if you appear to be slacking.
Myth #2: You Gain Better Work-Life Balance
Hoping to sleep in longer or spend more time with family? If you work from home, you might end up being busier than ever. Be prepared to deal with family and friends who believe remote work means you're free to run errands and take care of their every need.
Setting clear boundaries is the only way to attain a good work-life balance, regardless of where and when you work. Take your responsibilities seriously if you want loved ones to do the same. Create a designated space and time for work to make it clear to others when you're off-limits.
Myth #3: You're Free to Make Your Own Hours
The flexibility of your schedule depends on your arrangement with your boss. If your job involves ongoing communication or collaboration, you likely need to stay available during business hours for timely updates on team projects.
Even as a self-employed professional, you might find it less effective to work from home with a scattered, unstructured schedule. Distractions in your environment can quickly cut into your productivity and make it hard to get into a steady rhythm. Keep in mind, few freelancers truly work alone. Many self-employed workers have to coordinate with clients or colleagues who prefer to communicate on a traditional timeframe.
Myth #4: The World Is Your Office
Choosing to work from home doesn't mean you should ditch the office altogether. A quiet, work-oriented environment helps to reduce distractions and provide you with all the tools you need to stay organized.
Haunting a local coffee shop or parking in front of the TV isn't the best way to meet work goals. If you're determined to work from home, carve out a dedicated space for a desk and supplies. That way, you're better equipped to concentrate for sustained periods of time.
If you're worried about feeling lonely or excluded, create a plan to check in with colleagues on a regular basis. For many stay-at-home professionals, the biggest change is learning to take charge and make constructive decisions with less supervision. Your colleagues are trusting you to be reliable and communicative, so speak up when you need support. Remote workers, what advice can you offer other professionals who are preparing to work from home?
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