career

"The four most frustrating myths about working from home."

Put the dishwasher on. Let the tradie in. Pop your daughter in front of Peppa Pig. Then start a meeting with senior executives to determine your company’s strategies for the next six months.

All in the space of 15 minutes.

I know. It sounds like an urban fantasy, right? But this is becoming a reality for an increasing number of career women who are working at home. With the rollout of the NBN across Australia providing access to office-like internet speeds and technology to homes across the country, more people are able to efficiently carry out their roles on their own terms than ever before.

And it seems employers are behind the push for this. According to the Telstra Work Life Index, nearly twice as many employers (48%) say it’s feasible for their staff to work at home, compared to the number of employees actually taking it up (25%).

I do consider myself lucky to be part of that statistic. I work from home three days a week, because I have a three-hour round-trip commute that would be a total punish if I had to do it every day. But when people hear that I work from home, they sometimes assume that I’m bludging. Well, let me share four myths about working from home that can be instantly busted.

  "I work from home three days a week, because I have a three-hour round-trip commute." Image: iStock.

Myth 1: You get to watch Netflix all day

The Crown. Game of Thrones. House of Cards.

Some people assume I have the flexibility to multitask with my favourite shows on in the background as I go about my work. Ummmm, no.

When you work at home, you need discipline and that means you’re actually more productive. The Work Life Index revealed that more people feel productive at home compared to the number of people who feel productive at work. After all, you’re not interrupted by constant meetings, or people dropping by your desk to have a chat and you don’t have to stop everything just because there is a birthday cake for Jan in Accounts (who you haven’t even met).

Myth 2: You get to wear your PJs and trakkie daks

It’s true that I don’t have to wear heels as often or do as much ironing as I used to. But that doesn’t mean I get to loll about in my PJs all day.

When I first started working at home, a friend of mine told me: “Whatever you do, just get out of your pyjamas first thing in the morning.” It gets you into the right mindset and puts you in work mode. Plus, as tempting as it might be to hang out in your favourite onesie, trust me, it’s not a good look when you’re videoconferencing with your CEO.

ADVERTISEMENT
I'm not bludging. And I'm not wearing pyjamas. Image via iStock.

Myth 3: You miss out on promotions because you’re not in the office

You’re career driven. You’ve got your eye on a promotion. And you reckon that working at home will be a career limiting move. You’re not alone in thinking this. The Index revealed that 30% of respondents say they're worried their manager will think they are not doing enough work, 27% are concerned what their colleagues will think, and almost 1 in 4 (24%) agree they are worried that they miss out on opportunities at work. Promo FOMO. It’s a thing.

These are valid concerns. But let me let you in on a little secret. I manage a team. And, for me, Promo FOMO is a myth. In fact, we should call it Promo POINTS. I’m far more impressed by a team member who takes the initiative to work at home than one who doesn’t. Let’s say you need wait for your sofa to be delivered, or you have a sick child you want to watch over. Rather than “come in late” or take annual leave, I’d be far more impressed if you decide to work at home instead.

Watch: What Mia Freedman wishes she'd known before starting a business. (Post continues after video.)

And it’s important to remember there are always ways and means for anyone determined to progress. One thing the data shows we don’t do enough of is video conferencing – only 18% of us use this tool. Why not harness that technology to get quite literally in the face of your boss and remind them how valuable you are?

Myth 4: Your cat becomes your best friend

Okay, that’s not a myth. It’s actually true. One of my greatest joys is hanging out with my cats Rex and Rocky when working from home. And I secretly love the fact that the last major deal I brokered with a global corporation was done with one kitty sitting on my keyboard and the other sleeping on my lap.

Welcome to the new world of work.

Tags: lifestyle , work
00:00 / ???