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Working from home might seem like a blessing, but it is not all that easy! Here are 5 work from home myths busted.
Tell someone you work from home and see them wax eloquent on how you are one of the “blessed ones” or the “envied ones” who gets to work in your pajamas and spend as much time with your family as you want. You can also count on being repeatedly reminded of “lucky” you are to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds, now that your schedule is not tied to the clock like the full-time office goers; and that you are your own boss! Sounds great?
Well, before you go ahead and decide this to be the best thing to do, though, here are a few myths about working from home put into perspective for you.
We have all heard and read about how people who work from home do not have to play dress up and clock in at decided times. How they can avoid the hassle of commuting to and from work. About how all they need is a laptop and the internet, and they are set! Now all they have to do is just sip on their coffee and peck at their laptops!
Any diligent professional will know, that no work happens from ‘comfort’ of any sort. Most people who work from home have a work area or office space set up in a part of their home to get serious work done. Of course it is possible once in a while, to work from your sofa, but for any real quality work to be done you need to have a place which is free from distractions, well-lit and with good Wi-Fi connectivity. If you have little children at home, or a continuously blaring TV or a music system, how much work gets done is anyone’s guess. Besides, people working from home have to devote just as much serious time to their work as a full-time office goer might have to.
Read any advert for a work-from home job opportunity; and you will find the words “work on your own time!” Sounds wonderful, isn’t it? No fixed times to start your workday, no need to finish something before the boss steps out, no reason to stay back late in office to finish something urgent and no missing out on birthdays or anniversaries, no heart-breaking phone calls back home, late, to say “sorry sweetheart mummy/daddy needs to be here for just a little bit longer…”
People who work from home do not need to ‘clock in’ technically, but they work their schedules around that of their family members. The husband who has to go to work and the children who have to go to school get priority. Then come the little ones at home, or the ageing parents who need tending to. And only then, can you start your own work-day. Add to that the fact that you still have deadlines and schedules to be met and the fact that you do not have the liberty to stay back in office to meet these.
That is the reason why many people working from home prefer to work in the wee hours of the morning or late at nights to stay on their schedule. Yes, perhaps the ones who work from home do not miss birthdays or anniversaries; but they have to make up for the time spent setting up the party and enjoying it, by burning the proverbial midnight oil.
What parent wouldn’t give anything to be with their child all the time if they can – take day off and tend to their ailing child, or just break free and have a spontaneous holiday midweek? For those who work full-time this is clearly not a possibility; but for those who work from home, this is like a piece of cake!
Most people who work from home, choose to work from home and not spend time going out to work. They may have several reasons for this such as young children or old parents to care for. But this caring and tending to, has its limitations if the person working from home plans to get any decent work done. There are times when calls need to be taken or meetings need to be attended to despite children being at home. There are also times when deadlines have to be met, for which you need to ‘shut off’ for some time when your children are right there, demanding your attention.
If you work from home, you are always at home; so if your children need you, no matter what time of the day, you are always available. Ergo, you get a lot of time with your children, and obviously, share a better rapport with your kids because you work from home! And as an added bonus, you don’t have to leave your children to be attended to by others, family or otherwise.
For all purposes, someone who works from home is as much as worker-bee as someone who works full-time out of home. So the time and attention that they can lavish on their kids is understandably limited. Sometimes, even those who work from home may need to hire help or engage family to look after the kids while they work, or may sometimes have barely any time to interact with the kids after their work and the household chores are taken care of.
Plus, children anyway have a mind of their own. There is no telling whether they will open up to their Moms, Dads, grand parents, siblings, thereby negating whatever ‘benefit’ working from home affords in terms of staying at home all the time.
Many times people complain that there are constant interruptions in office and that they can barely get any work done. Add to that extended lunch hours and frequent coffee breaks, and you have hardly any time left to concentrate on getting any quality work done. As against this, people who work from home usually work at a time when they are more likely to get calm and quiet. Ergo, they get more quality work done in less time than most full-time office goers.
People who work from home usually work on a tight schedule and that leaves them with probably half the time as compared to full-time office goers, to complete their work. Plus, they also have an obligation to ‘get things right the first time’ as “time” is clearly one luxury they do not have.
So, while it is fun to work from home and most people who do work from home, would not want to trade it for anything else; the truth is, working from home is a lot of work; much like the cliché all that glitters, is not gold!
Published earlier here.
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Image source: woman working from home by Shutterstock.
With over 200 published stories, Rashmi is a lawyer-turned-writer, who has always given
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