8 Myths About Working at Home (That Are Mostly True)

1) People who work at home wear pajamas all day.

Neighborhood dog foot warmer – a home office necessity

Status: Mostly true

While I prefer the term “home office lounge wear,” the fact is that many of us wear pajamas until we actual need to do something, even if it’s just taking the garbage out. They’re comfortable. Deal with it.

2) You need to be highly disciplined to work at home.

Status: Sort of true

I’m not particularly disciplined but I charge by the hour, which enforces a degree of discipline: if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. With the workloads most people face these days, I suspect that almost anyone who wants to work at home will have more than enough to do to keep them from slacking off.

3) People who work at home are unproductive .

Status: Mostly false

You’ll find ample studies about the increased productivity of remote employees. Just consider how much time is saved by not having to commute and you’ll get a sense of where some of that productivity comes from. There are also far fewer distractions: no one talking outside your cubicle, no hallway conversations.

That said, I’ve known a few people who sure didn’t seem to produce much from their home work assignments. I had one colleague in particular who really left me quite mystified as to what it was she actually did.

4) There are too many distractions at home.

Status: Mostly false

Sure there’s the TV, the kitchen, that book you’ve been wanting to read, but these distractions are much easier to ignore than the conversation outside your office I mentioned above, or the invitation to go grab coffee.

5) People who work from home take naps.

Status: True

When you’re working at home, you’ll find yourself falling into a natural human rhythm and suddenly realize why certain cultures take siestas: afternoons are unproductive, especially if your job involves thinking and/or detail work. So, yes, if I don’t have a meeting and I feel tired, I’ll take a short nap, wake up refreshed and get back to it. I start early (sometimes as early as 6:30) but take breaks—maybe even a whole afternoon—and then get back to it in the evening.

6) People who work at home spend time on personal tasks.

Status: True

And people in the office don’t check their bank account balances, pay their bills, arrange personal appointments, check their social media accounts, etc.? Of course we spend time on personal tasks—because it’s efficient. My washer/dryer are 10 feet from my office. If I’m making lunch, I might as well put away the dishes and clean up the kitchen. If I need to run out and do a quick errand, I do it and am back home in minutes.

7) It’s lonely working at home.

Lonely at home? Miss human interaction? Visit a local coffee shop or communal space.

Status: Somewhat true

Working at home can be difficult for extroverts. Telephone and conference calls, even with video (which I’ve found fails more often than it works between bandwidth and software issues), simply do not take the place of real human interaction. It can be lonely.

I’m an introvert by nature so it doesn’t bother me. And I have a dog. I talk to my dog. A lot. Maybe more than is strictly speaking healthy. (At least she doesn’t talk back.)

If you don’t have a pet, try the coffee shop route. Even if you’re not actually conversing with someone, just being surrounded by people and noise can help. Also check MeetUp and LinkedIn. I‘ve found groups that meet in local coffee shops or other types of communal space to work together.

8) Career development is more difficult for people who work at home.

Status: Mostly false (I‘d guess)

I stepped off the corporate ladder ten years ago so I don‘t have great insight into this one. That said, I‘ve worked for a lot of companies in my contracting life that have strong remote work policies, and I‘ve seen tons of people get ahead from remote positions. It appears to be a matter of using the available tools (many of these companies have sites for remote employees to connect), picking up the phone, and (as with any career move) having a good relationship with one‘s manager.

Leave a Reply