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Dealing With Misperceptions Of Working At Home


When people discover that you work from home, you will likely encounter a handful of raised eyebrows or comments about how much “work” you actually complete.

There are many people that have the perception that working from home equates to sitting in front of the television all day while eating junk food. Or goofing around on the computer. Or hitting the golf course for some afternoon fun.

On the days that I work from home, I like to take the kids out to the bus before school and I wait for them at the bus stop after school. During this routine, I’ve encountered my fair share of “oh right, you’re ‘working’ from home” comments and oddly enough it seems that most of the time they come from other dads.

If you’re an employee of a larger company and you work at home, you may hear similar comments from your co-workers as well. In some cases these comments will come from people that are envious of your position or people that have tried to work from home themselves and not been successful.

So what can you do to deal with the misperceptions of working at home?

  • Ignore Them. To be quite honest the easiest thing you can do is simply ignore the comments and misperceptions that others have about you working at home, unless of course they are coming from your boss. There is very little to gain by worrying about what other people think about you and your work arrangement.

  • Define a Schedule. If you haven’t already, define a work schedule and stick to it. People in the office will know when they can expect to reach you. Family and friends will know when your time is off-limits and you cannot be interrupted. With clearly defined expectations, you’ll avoid confusion over when you are available.

  • Over Deliver. Working from home is not a ticket to easy street. It is quite common for the at-home worker to put in more hours than their office co-workers and you can offset any misperceptions by producing high quality deliverables that are on-schedule.

When you work from home you will avoid quite a few issues associated with working in an office, such as the commute, but you will also have new issues to manage.

As a work-at-home dad, you need to ensure that you have the ability to avoid the distractions of a relaxed atmosphere while also balancing the desire to work too many hours in an effort to prove yourself. If your neighbors see you outside all afternoon or your co-workers cannot get in touch with you during the day, you will only be enforcing their misperceptions about your work at home arrangement.

What misperceptions have you had to deal with and how did you do it?

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    On October 3rd, 2007 at 4:31 pm, lornadoone said:

    You know, one of the most interesting things I’ve done recently(in regards to others’ reactions to my work) is to just make a shift in my speech. Rather than telling people I have started “my own business,” I tell them I’ve started “my own company.” For some reason, they seem to respond better to the second phrase.

    On October 3rd, 2007 at 7:38 pm, Derek Semmler said:

    Lorna, that is very interesting to hear that you have noticed a different response with such a slight change in language.

    Thanks for sharing!

    On October 3rd, 2007 at 8:50 pm, JLow said:

    I agree with defining an off-limits schedule. When I was trying to start my own company, my wife was calling me to get me to complete some chores still..

    It was a little embarrassing as my biz partner was within earshot.

    On October 3rd, 2007 at 9:31 pm, Derek Semmler said:

    It can certainly be an adjustment if your spouse and/or children are home with you as they also need to learn that just because you are home doesn’t mean you are free to do odds and ends.

    The summer months can be challenging when my wife and kids are home all day but they have been really good about respecting the work schedule.

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    1. Dad Balance Digest :: Parenting, Surveys, And Slackers | Dad Balance on November 9th, 2007 at 6:13 pm

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