When it comes to technical writer positions, the ability to work from home is the perk of all perks. The positions are rare and the competition is fierce. But are these coveted positions all they’re cracked up to be? Over the past month, I’ve been working entirely form home. And now it’s time to bust some myths and lay down some facts about what these remote positions are all about.
Myth: “I don’t even need to be in the office anyway. No one would miss me.”
Fact: That’s only half true. You’re not going to hear me preach about the importance of being on-site to get your work done. I’ve once had a phone conversation with someone who was only a floor above me. Most of what I do is through emails. But you will be missed. Don’t underestimate the importance of office politics and interoffice relationships. Not being around puts you at a disadvantage on that front.
Myth: “It will be so awesome to sleep in all the time.”
Fact: You still have to work an 8-hour day. You want that 8-hour day to end at a reasonable time. The earlier you logon, the earlier you can logoff. See where I’m going here? I’m not saying you have to get up with the crack of dawn. But I am saying that in this past month, I’ve worked the same hours I would have worked had I gone in.
Myth: “I can’t wait to just sit around in my sweats.”
Fact: Sweatpants and “I woke up like this” hair loses its appeal around day 2. You will miss having a reason to get dressed. Besides, you’ll find out very quickly that getting ready for the day will set the tone for your work. You’ll have a clearer mind and less distractions if you get ready to walk out the door, even if you’re staying in.
Myth: “Plus, I can get so much done at home while I’m there!”
Fact: You are still working. You are on the clock and presumably have things to do. Run a load of clothes through the wash? Sure. Take you dog out? Of course. Make yourself a homemade lunch? I would expect it. But if you have visions of dusting your whole house and finally baking that three tier chocolate cake, you have another thing coming.
Myth: “I won’t go stir crazy because I’ll have so much to do.”
Fact: You will get sick of your house. You will miss seeing other people. These are inevitable regardless of how busy you end up being. But there are ways to fight it. Try to set up a separate work area. This will give some semblance of coming in and leaving the office. That mental separation would do worlds to help. Socially, reach out to friends or run a short errand over lunch. Even an hour out of the house or socializing can revive someone who feels completely withdrawn.
Myth: “I will love working from home all the time.”
Fact: This will come and go. Some days it’ll feel like the greatest blessing ever. Other days you’ll want to jump into your car and climb into the next office cube you find. Do the pros outweigh the cons? That’s for each of us to find out on our own.
About the Author
Greta Boller is a technical writer located in the Washington, D.C. area. For more information, please visit her bio page.