In the crisis that we are facing currently, working from home has suddenly become the new norm. Whereas a lot of companies were reluctant to let their workers work from home, they are now urging them to do so.
Lately, it has come to my attention that there are a lot of prejudices around ‘Homeworking’ and I have heard a lot of misconceptions that I find a bit astonishing. As someone who has been working from home for quite a long time now, I did not at all relate to these strange misconceptions.
Therefore, I’ve decided to write a blog post about four ‘ myths’ that you often hear about working from home and try to debunk them, as I am a firm believer in the benefits of this work style. I’ll also try to add some tips here and there while I’m at it, as for many people, working from home is a new thing 😉
And before I want to begin, I just want to point out that working at home with kids is a bit of a different phenomenon, that I might address in one or two of these points. But I’ll mostly be talking about working at home with no kids.
So, here we go:
Myth 1: “I am less productive as there are too many distractions at home, I can’t focus on work”
Pardon me, but if you are that distracted at home, I don’t want to know how distracted you are at work, with all the colleagues checking in, asking for coffee, people talking on the phone and many other things happening around you!
But of course, I don’t want to be an ass, it totally depends on your home situation of course, but for me personally, the quiet at home helps me focus so much more. I used to go crazy with all the people around me talking on their phones when I was working from an office. As you may know, open-plan offices are proven to be actually pretty bad for productivity and fostering communication between co-workers.
I assume that the person who says this is distracted by other things at home, like household chores, recreational stuff like gaming or even food.
If you’re so keen on doing these chores (like me) then why not do them instead of a coffee break with a colleague for example? I like doing the wash or loading the dishwasher as a sort of ‘mental break’ from work, which is great in my opinion, as then I don’t need to do them after work! It’s anyway good to divide your work into ‘tasks to do’ and then small breaks or even rewards.
Additionally, try to have a dedicated space just for working. If you already have an office, great! If not, try to find a spot where you can leave your laptop and your all your work stuff, so that you can create sort of a ‘ work-space’ while the rest of your place is ‘ living/relaxation space’.
And now I want to touch on the subject of working from home with a kid. Now, being a parent in itself is a full-time job itself, so juggling both of these jobs at the same time I can imagine must be pretty tough. I’m not a parent so unfortunately, I don’t have any tips for you regarding this situation. And in this case, the myth kind of becomes reality, I would say. That being said, I am sure there are ways to keep your kid entertained while you can do some work!
Myth 2: Stuff gets done quicker at the office because you’re next to each other
It might make sense that being around your colleagues physically makes it easier to communicate with each other, and granted, there is definitely less of a barrier. But if you have a good remote set-up as a company, communication can actually be more efficient, if you have a company culture in place where people communicate prolifically. For example, at the company where I work, we use Slack and each team has their own Slack channel. It’s encouraged to post all of your communication in the team channels. This means that, if you want to know what is going on in a totally different team, you can just open their channel and read what’s up! In an office, this could never happen, as you would have no idea what other teams are talking about usually.
So, in a way, having everyone work remotely and using one platform as a communication tool can actually foster better intra-departmental communication as well as better documentation! What a crazy world we live in 😉
(And as a side-note, again I want to point out how research showed that open-plan offices decreased face-to-face interactions by 70%.)
Myth 3: Everyone working from home is working from their bed and in pajamas
Whilst that is perhaps fun for a day or two, you will find that working from your bed or couch is not the most comfortable position as it’s really bad for your back and body.
Instead, try to invest in a monitor and a good office chair if you can, as well as a dedicated space to set up your office. And when you start your day on a work-day, try to have a routine before you get to work, like putting on some (comfy) jeans, having breakfast or even doing yoga before starting the workday.
Don’t try to work in pajamas, because it will be hard to separate your relaxation time from work time.
Of course, always do what works best for you, after all that’s the beauty of working from home! You can decide yourself where and when you are most productive, and you don’t have to be productive at the office from 9-5.
Myth 4: Employers: “I don’t have control over my employees when they work from home!”
What do you need control for, really? If your employees have clear deliverables that they deliver on time, then how much more control do you want?
It’s in itself an illusion to be afraid that employees won’t do the work at home, because if they don’t do the work, there is no result and so, that in itself is already an indication that these are not the right people for the job. Whether this happens at the office or when they work from home, it doesn’t make a difference.
Anyway, if you don’t trust your employees to do the work, then that is already a bad sign. If you want to hire good people, you need to trust them, otherwise the good people will not be attracted to come work for you in the first place, it’s as easy as that.
I hope that this blog post has helped you understand the benefits of working from home a bit more! Also, read my blog post on why I think remote working is the future of working.
Do you have any tips for working at home productively? Please share them in the comment section below 🙂