“I work remotely.”
Three magic words that can make someone you just met totally envious of your life.
If you work remotely, you know it’s pretty incredible. But you also know the pros and cons, and that most people don’t have the full story.
Here are 5 myths people believe:
Myth #1: You work in your PJs all day.
It’s funny, because this is the question I always got when I was homeschooled. Somehow it managed to follow me into my career, and my answer is the same as it was ten years ago: yes, working in your PJs is awesome.
However, like many things, PJs are best in moderation. They’re a no-go on video conference calls. And they’re not always ideal for productivity. It turns out that “dress for success” is actually backed by scientific research – people perform better when dressed more formally. So by all means, enjoy your PJs, but if you really need to be productive, consider dressing up a bit – even if it just means throwing on your workout clothes.
Myth #2: You’re basically a hermit.
Some people seem to think if you work remotely you never see/talk to another living human being. While that isn’t true, not having a physical, collaborative work environment can certainly be isolating. According to a 2018 survey by Buffer, 21% of remote workers say their biggest struggle is loneliness.
If you have co-workers, call them. Yes, talking to someone is a great way to prevent loneliness. But also on a practical level, phone conversations are often far more effective than emailing or texting. There are even some brave humans who prefer video calls. I’m not there yet – I avoid video calls like the plague. But find out what works for you. The key is to have real conversations with people.
If you don’t have co-workers, get a cat. Actually, even if you do have co-workers you should get a cat. They’re adorable, they’re low maintenance, and they’re great company!
Myth #3: Your home and life are perfectly organized.
When I first started working remotely, I thought I was going to dominate the cooking/cleaning/laundry game. The problem is working from home involves, well, work. And those other tasks all take time. Some people are naturally gifted at juggling work and home/life organization. If you’re one of those people, you inspire me. But don’t feel bad if you’re not – I’m still figuring this one out.
Myth #4: You never stop working.
One of the most amazing benefits of working remotely is the flexibility. But when you don’t physically leave your office behind you, it’s harder to leave your work behind you. If you haven’t read Boundaries yet, you should! Now, boundaries do look different when you work from home, so you have to figure out what works for you and your job. But taking practical steps like structuring breaks into your day and not checking emails during certain hours is really helpful. Last year, I discovered the Do Not Disturb function on my phone (I know, I’m late to the game), and it’s drastically improved my sleep quality. Now my alarm wakes me up, not my work notifications.
Myth #5: You wish you worked in an office.
Working remotely isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s pretty great. And the majority of remote workers think so too. According to Buffer, 90% of remote workers plan on working remotely for the rest of their careers.
And companies are responding to the demand. In a 2018 International Workplace Group poll of managers and business owners, 78% said an increasing proportion of companies are choosing to offer flexible workspace.
Given the practicality, flexibility, and appeal to employees, more and more businesses are embracing remote work. Remote offices are awesome – and they’re the future of the workplace.
So you rock those PJs.