“You work from home!? Wow! I bet you sleep in and wake up whenever you want to! I’d love that. I’d probably work a couple hours a day and lollygag the rest.”
I’m already giggling as I type this because there are so many “idealistic” perspectives about what it looks like to work from home. Some funny and some actually frustrating because there have been more than a few occasions where an uninformed person has accused me of hanging out on the couch all day.
But I get it; for those whom working from home isn’t a reality, it can seem like a surreal situation that allows you to do whatever you like, whenever you like. Please, allow me to rundown the REALITY of working from home.
1) Waking up in the morning
Expectation: There’s no alarm, no set time to wake up, and no rush to begin anything. Is it the middle of the week or Saturday? Who knows and who cares! Working remotely allows me to wake up when I’m good and ready. And even then, I’m not pressed for time because I work from home. What’s the rush?
Reality: My alarm goes off at 6:30am. I’m still tired because I was working late, but I gotta get up because I have to send some emails before my meeting at 9am. Then, I have several other things on my work to-do list – some from the day before.
Expectation: When you work from home, you don’t have anyone watching over your shoulder. So, you can work a little, take a break, and then pick back up where you left off. It’s no biggie because no one is around. Who’s gonna check me?!
Reality: Even in remote jobs that allow you to make your own schedule, you’re still required to produce and meet deadlines. In my experience, I’ve found remote work requires more work than a traditional job because you’re actually working during the times you’re scheduled. There’s no water cooler to get caught up in chit-chat at or an impromptu birthday celebration with cake in the breakroom – which can easily turn an 8-hour work day into 6 hours of actual work. An 8-hour shift remotely is a pure 8 hours of work; otherwise, you’ll be penalized for not meeting your schedule requirements, and that can get you terminated.
Expectation: When you work from home, there’s no reason to ever experience work burnout. You don’t have to fight traffic, you don’t have to bother getting dressed in the morning, and you don’t have anywhere you have to be. Remote workers have too many perks to ever experience burnout.
Reality: Burn out can happen no matter what type of job you have. Yes, there are many benefits to working remotely that make it more convenient than a traditional job. But, remember reality #2 when I mentioned remote workers are actually more productive? Well, it’s this reason, I believe, that contributes to work from home burn out. Not to mention, the lack of scenery and routine schedules can be uninspiring, especially during the winter time when the views out the window are cold and gray. To make matters worse, it can be difficult getting support for remote work burnout because 1) it’s not that popular of a topic and 2) most people wouldn’t understand because it’s difficult to get it if you’ve never worked from home.
There are certainly other expectations vs realities when it comes to working from home, but these are the main three I felt worth discussing. Now, I’m interested in hearing from my fellow remote workers what are some expectations maybe you or others have had and the actual reality. Let me know in the comment section!