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Will working from home work against you?

 

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My friend has worked at home for six years. Recently, she was interviewing for her dream job when the interviewer asked her "Won't it be hard for you to work from an office again?" My friend responded that working in an office setting isn't foreign to her and she could easily adapt again.

After the interview, my friend called me concerned. "Is the fact that I've been working from home going to work against me?," she wanted to know.

It's a good question, and worth asking. For all the benefits of working from home, doing so comes with challenges. There are managers who are convinced you are lying on the couch watching television all day or overlook you to spearhead a project because "out of sight, out of mind." There are co-workers who are jealous of your work from home arrangement or who think they should earn more than you because they work harder. 

So yes, sometimes working from home will work against you. And, I suppose when hunting for a new job, having worked from home could be viewed as  negative, unless you emphasize the skills gained from working a flexible or remote job.

For example, such an arrangement takes discipline, organization, communication, adoption of new technology and a conscious effort to stay connected  -- skills you might get in the office but put into practice much more in a work-from-home arrangement. If you find yourself in a job interview, you likely will need to address this.

The good news is that working from home is becoming increasingly more common -- which hopefully means the stigma around it will fade. A 2017 Gallup survey found more American employees are working remotely, and they are doing so for longer periods. Indeed, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to the survey of more than 15,000 adults.

We all know about how some companies have struggled with how much to embrace remote work. Yahoo and Aetna are very public examples of companies that received attention when they brought workers back to the office. But recent news stories have reported that in the best job market in a decade, employers are adding more remote workers. Online job board FlexJobs.com has listings for remote workers for large companies and small employers in cities across the country.

As someone who works from home, I have experienced the benefits and the challenges of the arrangement. I miss schmoozing with co-workers but I love making my own schedule each work day. I can firmly say most of us who work from home thrive upon it and will even argue that we work much harder than our counterparts in the office. Yes, in some instances working from home can work against you. But as flexible work arrangements become more utilized as a way to fill positions, more managers will experience the talents workers can contribute regardless of their location.

What are your experiences with working from home? Have you been penalized in any way for it?

 

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