I was only a few months removed from college, sitting in my “cube” during a summer internship, that I realized cube life was not for me. (Except the part where we got to cover other coworkers’ cubes in tinfoil on their birthdays. That was time well spent and will be sorely missed.) By my third gig, I was in an office with glass walls (lovingly known as the “fishbowl”), where I couldn’t even pretend to ignore people.
Nope. Nope nope nope.
Now, it’s been almost three years of working from home and I people are constantly saying, “Wow, you’re so lucky.” Or “You must be so driven. I’d just do housework ALL DAY.” For those people, I’d like to dispel a few myths about remote workers.
1. I do laundry / dishes on conference calls.
Have you ever been on a conference call while someone is typing? Of course you have. Everyone has. It’s incredibly annoying and a clear sign someone isn’t paying attention. As an account director, I lead most of the conference calls I’m on — which means I’m sitting at my desk because clinking dishes and gushing water are really loud. Like the rest of the working world, my housework gets left for after hours or on the weekends.
2. I take breaks in the middle of the day to go to the gym or take a nap.
One time, in the middle of marathon training, I noticed it was going to rain and knew I had to squeeze in a three-mile run. So I did, around 4:30 p.m. In what was no more than 30 minutes away from my desk, a client crisis had broken out and I was up to my neck in back-and-forth emails. I’m now superstitious.
3. I have a glass of wine with lunch because nobody’s the wiser.
Have you ever tried to write a coherent press release after a glass of wine? Exactly.
4. I sit in coffee shops all day.
Some days, but a $4 coffee five days a week — plus the mandated pastry I obviously need to buy because otherwise my coffee would be lonely — equates to over $1,000 a year and countless pounds gained. Tack on D.C./Northern Virginia parking, plus a few parking tickets for not understanding Washington’s convoluted parking signs and … You see where I’m going here. Also, hoards of high school girls gabbing in Starbucks does not make for a quiet work environment.
5. I go outside.
There have been plenty of times when I’ve realized it’s Tuesday night and I haven’t been outside since Sunday night.
6. I wear pajamas all day.
Not true. I put on real pants to go get lunch and then I put my pajamas back on. Total time spent in actual pants: approx. 30 minutes per day.
7. I have music/dance breaks.
This one is true and everyone should do this regardless if they work remotely or not.