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5 Myths About Working From Home

Heidi Shenk

5 myths about working from home

I'm finally out of my Valentine's Day card making stupor, doing daily life things again that normal people do, and going to bed before 2am. It feels pretty damn good. Admittedly, I may have lazed around the house once or twice the past couple days, and we did take a quick trip up to my alma mater, Syracuse University, this past weekend. However, despite my admitted breaks, I've worked incredibly hard and most definitely deserved them. During this past month, a few situations arose in which it was clear that some people just didn't get this whole working from home thing. In fact, some may have even assumed that I could drop everything in a matter of seconds because they may have thought I wasn't really working.

After a quick tweet about my frustrations, I knew I wasn't alone. Many of you wrote back to me about your own frustrations. And thus, I thought I'd break down a few myths that some non-work-from-home people may think my daily life is like. Because newsflash-- it's not at all what some may imagine.

1 // You're not really working. Yes, believe it or not, some people have actually said this to me before. Don't mind me, I'm just sitting at a desk filling orders, making cards, and designing shit all day long. And don't forget the customer service I provided, the many emails I got through this morning, and the errands I ran to the post office, bank, and art store. Also, I may have forgotten to eat lunch because I spent that time filing my sales taxes instead. No, I'm not really working.

While I'm being slightly facetious in the previous paragraph, it isn't too far from the truth. My typical day is filled to the brim. Rarely does my to do list get finished. Often I'm still working when Andrew gets home from work at 6. Just because I don't clock in at an office or sit in a cubicle does not mean that I don't work all day.

2 // You can do whatever you want whenever you want. This false notion bothers me the most. I realize that I am mostly on my own schedule. However, I still have to work within the hours of a normal work day because that's the schedule all of my clients are on. And during busy seasons my work extends well into the night. My most recent frustrations come with people assuming that I can attend meetings or events whenever suits them because I must be available since I work from home.

The reality is that just like those who work a 9-5 job, I cannot simply get up and leave my work mid-task. I have deadlines that must be met and vary immensely depending on the season and day. Retail is unpredictable, and because of its unpredictability, it's hard to walk away at times when there are new, unexpected order deadlines constantly popping up.

Additionally, there are some people that have told me that it must be fun to have a schedule that allows me to go shopping or run errands whenever I'd like. Again, this is not the case. Is there some flexibility? Absolutely, but not the kind that allows me to do grocery shopping for an hour instead of doing work. The flexibility is within my work day-- when I can get certain work related tasks done, when I can take my 10 minute break, when I can take my lunch, and when I can use the bathroom.

3 // You sit at a coffee shop drinking coffee all day. Again, false. While I'd love to be able to do this, it just isn't possible. Sometimes, during slower seasons when there is less production going on, I have a blogging heavy day or I need to get a lot of drawing done. Those are the days where I can afford to head to the coffee shop for a few hours and get some work done there. The last time I did that was probably this past September. The reality is that there are too many other tasks that need to be finished that I can't do in a coffee shop. In addition, if I worked from a coffee shop every day, that would become expensive. See my next point.

4 // You must make so much money if you have the freedom to work from home. Recently, I had a neighbor tell me that the only reason why I must be working from home was because I made more than Andrew. When I told him that that simply wasn't true, he stated, "Nah, you just don't want to let on that that's how it is. I get it." The reality? I took a ridiculously HUGE pay cut in order to work from home, and I wouldn't be able to do what I do if it weren't for Andrew also working a full time job. We aren't wealthy, and we've had to make a lot of sacrifices in order to make it work. And yes, part of the feminist in me hates admitting that I depend on my husband so much, but in the end it's all about happiness for us, not money.

5 // You can get all of your household chores done while you work. I learned very quickly that this was an impossibility. The first load of laundry I attempted to wash while I was working from home ended up sitting in the washer for two days before I realized I had never put it in the dryer. Some days I need to start dinner in the crock pot, and don't realize until dinner time that I forgot to make dinner simply because there wasn't enough time in the day. While my brain is thinking about work, it's hard to also focus on what needs to get done around the house. While I may work from home, I have still managed to separate my work from my personal life to some extent. And even thinking about what I need to do in my personal life during the work day is tough. Finding the time to get the personal things done during a work day is even tougher.

Do you work from home? What myths about working from home would you like to bust? If you're not a work from home person, what assumptions do you make about those who work from home? And what myths would you like to bust about working outside of the home?



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