Myth #1: It’s easier than working at an office
Yes, it does get easier in terms of far less distractions and being able to take much more relaxing and fun breaks whenever you want. But those perks are dwarfed by how big of a challenge maintaining self discipline and keeping yourself accountable actually is.
With nobody being there and watching you, you’re going to have to resist the urges to take breaks all day long. So before you decide you want to work from home, decide whether you have enough self discipline to pull it off.
Solution: Self-discipline is exactly like muscles. You build it gradually over time. The moment you stop practicing it, you actually fall behind. Become a hardcore devotee of self-discipline. This is powerful and once you do manage to improve this critical life skill, it’ll immediately translate into all the other aspects of your life.
Myth #2: It’s better for your work-life balance
This one actually might be true in some cases, but often it is not. Especially if you are/want to become a freelancer or you want to start your own business.
When you work a 9-5 in an office, your job usually stays at the office. When you leave at 5, you can relax now that your work is over. Upon arriving home, you change the environment and you change your state of mind.
But when your home is your workplace, this distinction is no longer there. Your mind starts associating particular areas and items at your home with work.
What this can often lead to is your life and work mixing together. Since now you’re at your home office most of the time, you have that ability to shift your work past 5 PM or whatever the finishing time you’ve intended. It’s very easy to end up having your work pile up at the end of the day because you’ve taken that extra long lunch break or went to the gym in the middle of the day.
Solution: Learn where and when to draw the line between life and work. The ability to draw the line between work and play will allow you to be more effective at work and enjoy your time off more thoroughly.
Myth #3: There are too many distractions at home (so it’s difficult to work efficiently)
While offices are often notorious for distractions like phone calls, people interrupting you in every possible way, unnecessary meetings and others, working from home comes with its own set of other distractions.
Think kids, pets, family members, and household chores piling up. There’s almost always an errand to run, some stuff to fix around the house, or a garage to re-organize. It’s very easy to ignore your job when your house is messy.
‘I’ll get back to work. Right after I make the kitchen perfectly organized’.
Solution: This goes back to Myth #1 and working on your self-discipline. If you can also tame your perfectionist’s incentives and focus on simply getting the work done at the cost of your home not being thoroughly organized, you’ll be golden.
Myth #4: You can do whatever you want, whenever you want
Depending on your type of job, your schedule will become more flexible. To some extent. You will still most likely be required to work certain hours – this way your boss and your colleagues know when they can contact you.
You’ll most likely have to interact with some customers too. Unless they’re in a different time zone, you’ll want to contact them during the usual daily business hours.
So while yes, you’ll be able to pop out for that doctor’s appointment or a visit to the bank, you’ll still be tied by the boundaries of a 9-5 job world. (Unless your services are intercontinental or exceptionally none time sensitive. Then you’ll certainly have more freedom!)
Solution: Don’t let your midday periods off-work affect your responsibilities. Become a proactive and avid scheduler and plan in advance to make up for any time off work during business hours.
Myth #5: You’ll miss out on networking
There usually isn’t a busy watercooler at your home, and even if there is one, none of your colleagues would be swarming around it.
But so what? It’s not the ’90s anymore. Face-to-face networking is becoming less and less important and people are increasingly more active on social media.
Heck, there’s a separate social media service for everybody’s needs now. Facebook – for family, classmates and general purposes; LinkedIn – for your professional network; and Instagram – for anyone interested in snippets about your life. As well as Twitter – for keeping up-to-date with all the buzz in your industry and social circles. The list goes on and on.
Fill out your LinkedIn profile. Start a blog, either a personal one or on some specific topic. You probably already have a personal brand on the Internet whether you want it or not. Develop it consciously. Follow people you like, get introduced to friends of friends. You’ll be surprised how small the world nowadays is.
As to face-to-face networking? Join local events related to your field and hobbies. The results are quality networking opportunities; you’ll get to meet new people and see people you don’t have the chance to see everyday.
Myth #6: Since you’ll be home, you won’t need childcare
Sounds like the most natural consequence, right? Wrong.
Yes, you’ll be closer to your kids, but you’re still going to be working. And it’ll be much harder to be completely distraction-free in this regard. You’ll probably be trying hard to get focused and get a good deal of work done while your kid will be crying for attention.
Life shows that most successful people who do end up working from home 9 times out of 10 spend money on childcare anyway (or have some family member take care of their kids).
Solution: Put your child in daycare, hire a sitter, ask a relative to help or do a babysitting swap with a friend. You can certainly try to balance being closer to your offspring and getting work done efficiently; however, you’re probably going to need some major help anyway, just like you would if you were working at an office.
Working from home certainly isn’t for everyone, but most people could certainly do better while working from home by realizing some common pitfalls and learning how to overcome them. Much of the problem solving described here really boils down to one’s organization skills and having a robust system to keep track of all the to-dos.