There’s a lot of debate on the topic of working from home. Experts can’t agree on whether it’s the greatest innovation since the internet or the worst thing that’s ever happened to our productivity. And there’s a slew of conflicting research supporting both sides.
While the experts sort out the data, I spoke with real entrepreneurs from my virtual coworking space to ask what their personal experience was like working from home (WFH).
Here’s what they had to say and what you should know if you’re thinking about setting up a home office:
(1) People don’t believe you’re actually working
Sure, it doesn’t matter what other people think. But you’re human and we all are susceptible to the judgy eyes of our friends and family who think WFH is synonymous with “catching up on Homeland.”
It wears on you after a while. People will assume “flexible” schedule means you don’t really work that much or are available to do things mid-day. This is particularly true for extended family and friends visiting from out-of-town.
People will interrupt you, violate your boundaries, and assume you’re a hobbyist. If you were “serious,” you’d go into an office.
The good news is if you begin to refer to your home office as “the office” you can mitigate this effect. Changing your language to reflect traditional work norms helps people take you seriously. For example, if you have a Zoom call, you tell the nosy person who just interrupted you that you are “walking into a meeting” and will have to call them later.
The more you respect your own boundaries, the more others will. But expect that in general, people on the outside assume a home office is synonymous with “not really working today.”