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7 Realities About Working From Home That Will Surprise You

Topics: Work Culture
working from home
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Flexible work arrangements are increasingly popular these days. However, there are some things about working from home that will come as a surprise, especially if you’re telecommuting for the very first time.

So many things in life aren’t exactly what they seem. Eighty to 90 percent of the workforce say they want to work from home at least some of the time. Would they still feel that way if they knew what telecommuting is really like?

Whether you’re a freelancer or an employee with the option to telecommute, it’s always good to know a bit about what you’re getting into — the good and the bad. Prepare for the following new realities:

1. You’ll probably be more productive

There are a lot of distractions and obstacles to contend with when you work from home. Still, most people find that despite these temptations, they’re still more productive than they are when they work in an office. Seventy-seven percent of workers say their productivity improves when they work from home.

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Of course, your mileage may vary. But it’s good to know that increased productivity is a possibility … especially if you’re trying to convince your boss to let you give telecommuting a try.

2. It requires a lot of discipline

Being disciplined about attending to your work responsibilities is crucial for any professional’s success. However, when you start to work from home, you should keep in mind that certain structures no longer exist to help you to get your work done. You have to develop them for yourself.

You may no longer work a regular 9-to-5. It’s up to you to determine when you start working, when and how you take breaks, and when to call it a day, at least more than it would be if you worked in an office. Working from home tends to come a little easier to folks who are disciplined and self-motivated.

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3. Family and friends won’t always be understanding

If you’re working from home for the first time, prepare for the reality that family and friends might not always understand that you’re really working. They might expect you to be more flexible than you actually are and ask you to do more of the errands for the household during the day, for example. Or, they could misunderstand how difficult the work is and underestimate your stress. Either way, you’ll likely have to spend some time explaining the reality of your day-to-day to some of your loved ones. There can be a bit of learning curve for everyone involved when you’re new to working from home.

4. You’ll could become super protective of your time

When you work from home, you have to manage your time and schedule a little differently. Otherwise, you could end up spending your days picking up the dry cleaning, meeting with the electrician and walking the neighbor’s dog, without ever getting your work done. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself protecting your time more closely than ever before.

5. You’ll probably become protective of your workspace, too

The home office takes on a whole other dimension of meaning for people who work from home all or most of the time. You could find that you’re able to be more efficient and get more work done in less time when your space is neat and organized. Therefore, you might find you’re not as comfortable letting the kids play on your computer or do their homework at your desk. It’s natural to get a little more protective of your workspace when you telecommute.

6. You might find it’s harder to take time off

It can be challenging to schedule a vacation when you work remotely. For freelancers, this happens because time away means time without pay, and that can be hard to swing.

For employees, it can feel a little extra challenging to ask for time off when you work from home. You want your boss to know that you’re committed and working hard and that the arrangement is to everyone’s benefit. You might find it’s tempting to skip a few vacation days in an effort to maximize your reputation as a telecommuter. (But don’t do it. Vacations are important!)

7. You’ll probably be healthier and happier

Working from home can make a big difference in the overall quality of your life. Research supports this premise. Telecommuters report that their stress levels dropped by 25 percent after starting to work from home. And, 73 percent said they ate healthier than when they worked in an office.

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