Three myths about working from homeJanuary 20, 2016
While working from home, or in a virtual workplace, has been known to boost job satisfaction, there are still many misconceptions! Some people might be wary of switching from a traditional office to a virtual one due to stereotypes they’ve heard. However, in the last several years as a virtual employee, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand the value virtual office life has to offer. This is why I want to take the opportunity to dispel some of the most common myths about working from home.
Myth NO. 1: You spend all day in your pajamas
The truth is it is far more productive to wake up and get dressed for the day rather than rolling out of bed just before logging on. Even when working from home, you still want to mentally gear up with a normal routine. It’s easy to fall victim to yoga pants and sweatshirts, but be prepared because you never know when you might end up on a video conference call.
The best workplaces with virtual employees take getting dressed to a whole new level. I’ve experienced fun employee engagement events where we set specific days to wear gear from our alma maters, holiday socks and fun hats. On these days, we share pictures on Yammer, our internal social media site, to show off our outfit and build team camaraderie.
Myth NO. 2: You don't get to socialize
Some employees might be worried that they’ll feel like they are on an island by themselves when they work from home. Although I do find myself talking to my dog sometimes, it isn't because I don’t have the opportunity to engage with fellow coworkers. Between regular team calls, video chats, instant messaging and internal social media sites, virtual employees are able to build deep relationships with their coworkers.
This is why it’s important to look for a team-oriented culture when looking for virtual job opportunities. It becomes especially important for leaders to take the opportunity to conduct regular one-on-one calls and companywide presentations to communicate changes and celebrate successes. With a robust internal communication plan, coworkers have the opportunity to not only communicate daily, but they also have the ability to physically meet up with others who are located close to them, or stop in to visit each other when traveling.
Myth NO. 3: You never stop working
It’s true that your work is always accessible to you in a virtual environment. However, that doesn’t mean that your personal life ceases to exist. There are steps you can take that can ensure work-life balance. First, set up a separate home office space, ideally in its own room, that will help you consciously delineate when you "go to work" and when you are "at home." Next, set work hours and stick to your schedule.
Working from home has its perks. A big one is that you don’t have to commute and can allocate your would-be driving time toward something else. Additionally, you have flexibility in hours when you need it, which can be especially helpful to employees with families. The trick is to not let that flexibility get the best of you and maximize the extra time you can get out of the day.
To successfully work from home, you need to take ownership of your day. Get ready in the mornings, set a schedule and make a point to reach out to those around you. Constant communication with your team is key to getting the most out of a virtual environment. Don’t let the myths deter you from what can be a highly rewarding way to work. It just takes some time and practice to see how working from home can work for you.
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