If you think working from home is the purview of underpaid Millennials, think again. The typical remote worker, according to Global Workplace Analytics, is actually 45 or older and making $58,000 a year.
That’s just one of the many debunkable myths about remote work. Even though the number of people who work from home grows every year, misconceptions prevail.
But remote work is likely to be the future of many industries. It’s good for employees: it reduces stress, saves time, and can boost productivity. It’s good for employers: it saves on office rent, and lets companies hire from a global candidate pool. The sooner people understand the truth about remote work, the sooner we can all reap these benefits—so let’s debunk some of the top myths about working from home.
For many people, the office environment seems to help them get through the day. Even at a job that you hate, a favorite coworker or free catered lunches can liven things up. Without the bustle and drama of an office, won’t things get boring?
But working from home isn’t boring—unless you let it get boring. When you work remotely, you’re in charge of everything, from where you set up your office to who you see every day. You can choose to befriend other remote workers at a nearby cafe, or to design a cute home office stocked with inspiring art and books.
And, if things get dull, you can always switch it up. Take a 10-minute yoga break or take the dog for a short walk to get your mind revved up again.
Without the constant stream of water-cooler chat, an extroverted worker might expect to feel lonely. However, working remotely doesn’t have to mean you’re isolated, either.
For one thing, there are plenty of ways to find new “coworkers.” You can sign up for a coworking space, or invite friends who also work from home to share your home office on some days.
For another, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with your work team. Your job’s remote crew might have a lively Slack chat or Facebook group where you can always find someone to talk to. If it doesn’t, why not start one?
If home is where you Netflix and chill, bringing work home might seem challenging. How can you possibly stay focused on what you need to do?
However, working from home doesn’t necessarily mean working from your couch or bed (unless that’s where you do your best work!). No matter how small it is, a designated “office space” will put your brain into work mode so you can focus.
With experience, you’ll find out what else helps you focus while working remotely. Some people need to put on real clothes instead of comfortable athleisure. Others need a strict morning routine. But there’s no reason working from home is harder than working in an office. In fact, without a stressful commute and disruptive office politics, you might actually find it easier.
That said, remote work is still work. Another common myth is that working from home is easy—but that’s just not true.
It can be easier than working in a stressful office. However, you’ll still need to do your work and do it well. And if your boss isn’t sure about the idea of you working remotely, you might find yourself working extra hard to impress them at first.
Not only that, but remote workers are never away from their jobs. Working can become as simple as opening up your laptop. This can make it challenging to know when the workday truly ends. You might find yourself fitting in extra tasks well after you’d usually be off work.
Over time, you’ll learn how to develop a healthy work-life balance. But you should know that working from home doesn’t mean you can binge-watch shows and take naps all day. You’ll still need to put in the effort to get your job done.
It Doesn’t Pay Well
Remote work, just like any work, spans a spectrum of income levels. You can find low-paying jobs and high-paying jobs, and your industry and experience will affect what you can make. The idea that remote work doesn’t pay as much as other jobs simply isn’t right.
Don’t believe it? Check out Entrepreneur’s list of work-from-home jobs that pay well above average. You might just find something that’s in your industry.
It’s Hard to Find a Job
The number of remote jobs grows every year, as more companies learn the value of letting people work from home. Five years ago, it was harder to find a remote job than it is today. Five years from now, it will be even easier.
You might be surprised at the number of industries that offer remote jobs now. New communication and tech solutions have made new remote jobs possible. You can work from home in all kinds of fields, from science to cinematography.
In fact, you might even be able to turn your current job into a remote position. With just one conversation to pitch it to your boss, you could find yourself working from home with no job search needed.
It Doesn’t Provide Benefits
It’s true that if you decide to become a freelance or contract worker, you’ll have to give up benefits like employer-provided health insurance and 401(k) accounts. However, you can also find full-time work-from-home jobs that offer attractive benefits packages. It might take a little longer to land one of these desirable positions, but they are out there.
It’s a Scam
In the past, most work-from-home jobs involved scams and pyramid schemes. But today, technology has made working from home a viable option. Real remote jobs are more common than ever before.
Of course, there are still some scams out there. You’ll need to pay close attention to job listings to avoid getting duped. But chances are, most of the remote jobs you’ll find are completely real.
As remote jobs become more common, the myths are slowly dissipating, but these particular myths have held on longer than they should. Knowledge is power—and this knowledge will empower you to get out there and find a great remote job. We can help you with the application, too: check out our guide to writing cover letters next.