Busting myths about 'work from home'

work at homeInnovations in communication technology have prompted an increasing number of women to join the work at home brigade today. Urban women in India now work as transcribers, translators, writers, editors, software developers, data entry operators, sales representatives, and customer care executives – all from the comforts of their homes. The practice of working from home has evolved from preparing pickles, tailoring, knitting winter clothes, or running a beauty parlor to managing full fledged businesses or giving back office support to multi national companies using sophisticated equipment. The scenario can only get better and bigger.

This is the appropriate time to bust a few myths surrounding the practice of working at home.

There will be no paucity of time.

It is not true. The long commuting hours may be absent in the daily schedules, but working at home does not provide the luxury of squandering time. It is estimated that an average American spends 348 hours on commuting each year (source:1). The travel time for workers in urban India will be close to this. Telecommuting will definitely make this time available for work or other pursuits, but time will still be scarce if not managed properly.

Working fewer hours doesn’t help in building a good professional career and this applies to home based workers or business owners as well. Work at home professionals will be expected to work for more than 40 hrs a week and even on weekends, if they truly want financial and professional success. Uncertain work schedule could make time scarce unless managed efficiently.

Home office always provides a more peaceful working atmosphere than a typical office set up.

Not true, again. It all depends on the kind of atmosphere a family has. While office gossip and politics will be at bay, home based workers will only have as much tranquility that prevails in their homes. Attitude of family members makes a considerable difference to the productivity of home based professionals. Other members of the family should respect the need for an unobtrusive and tranquil working atmosphere to optimize productivity. Mothers may find it tough to explain infants and small kids about this though. A busy work at home mom (WAHM) from Mysore concurs, “It gets difficult to work when the kids have holidays. They would barge in to the office room with some complain, an exciting breaking news, or a genuine need.” This however, can be managed with some patience and tact.

It’s not possible to make it big working from home.

Facts point out otherwise. Diligence and determination have sprung billionaires working from their homes, back yards, garages, and basements. Microsoft took birth in a garage and Jawantiben Popat started Lijjat papad from her house with six other women.

Hundreds of women continue to take giant leaps debunking various myths surrounding working from home. They may have to work harder at it though.


- Chandra Kishore Patro  (views expressed in the article are that of the author)




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