While the stigma of “the lazy work-from-home guy” is now receding, it is still prominent in a lot of peoples minds. In fact, if you mention to someone you work from home, this is likely how they picture your job:
Why is this inaccurate stereotype receding? Well, the rapid and unrelenting rise of internet connectivity means that, if you have all the equipment, working from home is only slightly different from working in an office. Your place of work can communicate with you and vice versa, and all work you do can be monitored, to show you’re not just “washing your fat guy hat”.
That’s not to say the system is perfect. Working from home still comes with its own issues. Here are a few you may want to keep in mind should you want to make the switch. Taking heed of them should mean you remain productive:
The first thing people are likely to direct at you will be something along the lines of “Oh, you’re working from home huh? Do you just watch TV all day?”. This may be said in jest, but it’s a worthwhile thing to keep in mind. It’s very tempting to skive off work for five minutes by watching TV or going on a games console, but this can be a slippery slope if you give into the temptation too often.
The best bet is to remove them completely from whatever room you are working in. The further away they are, the less likely you are to utilise them. If that isn’t possible, then at least remove the remotes and game controllers. You are combating your laziness over not wanting to do work with your laziness over not wanting to fetch the remote. It’s nearly poetic!
So you may have removed the TVs and the consoles, but one big distraction remains – the greatest procrastination tool in human history, the internet. Fortunately, there are apps built to combat this great “evil”.
One we like in particular is StayFocusd. It allows you to set time limits, either for certain sites or browsing in general, and when the time limit is up, it will block the website for a set amount of time. There is also another option, that outright bans set websites between certain times in the day for as long as the app is installed.
While you may be at home, you are “still at work”. And in much the same way you wouldn’t want your kids to run up to you with finger paints in the middle of your office day, you won’t want the same thing to happen while you are trying to work from home. The same goes for friends stopping round for a beer, or spouses popping their heads in the door to chat to you for hours.
Within the house, you need to make it clear that when you are in your office, or “at work” should a separate room not be available, you should be treated as if you are not even there (some circumstances should be excused). That way, you can remain undistracted, and feel when you finish for the day that you are indeed “going home”.
Finally, we have to return to the “lazy work-from-home” stereotype. Until you prove you are 100% reliable, you are likely to find people will be on your case during your working hours, checking in to make sure you are working. So a good habit to build is to constantly “touch base” with the relevant people at work. Let them know what you are doing, and they have little reason to pester you for the sake of it.
Keep these factors in mind, and do your utmost to minimise their impact, and you are likely to help turn the tide of opinion on work at home roles even more so!