You don’t have to work from home to qualify as a web worker, but if you do, your work habits may be misunderstood by those who work in an office. There are a lot of widely held beliefs about web workers who work from home that simply aren’t true. My favorites?
1. You’re “working” at home…nudge nudge, wink wink. No, actually I’m really working. If you call me, I answer. Need something before day’s end? Consider it done. I’m not “working” (read “doing laundry and watching E! all day”). I’m working (read “kicking out the jams”).
2. You’re wearing pajamas, or are perhaps naked from the waist down. I don’t know what kind of operation you think we run around here, but I assure you I would never do either of these things for a variety of reasons. The most important reason is that I need to feel like I’m going to work, and to that end I must shower, clothe myself, and otherwise do things that the typical office worker ideally does on a daily basis.
3. Home-based work is great because you get to spend more time with your family. I refer you back to item one, regarding the difference between “working” and actually working. I do not spend my days doing glitter projects with the kids in my home office. Any extra time I get with my wonderful family is likely due to the fact that I’m not driving anywhere to get to work and not working from home. If I could walk five minutes to a job down the street, I suspect I’d experience the same boost in family time.
4. You must get so lonely. Well, if the phone stopped ringing and the IM and email stopped flowing, I suppose I might have a chance to experience that loneliness. Of course, your work may be different, but most of the home-based workers I know are very in touch, albeit virtually.
5. You must be involved in some kind of bleeding edge technology work to be able to work from home. In reality, home-based workers are doing all kinds of old fashioned jobs (writing, radiology) as well as the more groovy Web 2.0-type stuff. There’s no telling what kind of job you might could do remotely, if you put your mind to figuring out how it can be done.
What myths and misconceptions about home-based work have you encountered among your colleagues, neighbors, or significant others?