Your Work-From-Home Life: Expectations vs. Reality

What did you expect when management told America to go home and work last spring?

Were you one of those employees who was hoping to roll out of bed around 10 AM? You’d brew a cup of fresh-ground java, crack open your laptop, and connect with other bright-eyed teammates from around the globe?

Or did you dread trying to fill out spreadsheets around the chaos of tattling children, whining pets, dinging kitchen appliances, and a spouse who could not find their head with hands unless you helped them?

Either way, we’ve all learned a lot about working from home this past year. At ScaledOn, here’s some of what we’ve discovered about remote work’s expectations vs its realities:

Expectation: You can work in your pajamas.

Reality: You can (and we do), but not one of us looks as glamorous as a pajama model lounging in freshly laundered sleepwear and gently tousled hair. If you’re like most of us, though, you just look frazzled and frumpy wearing your day-old nightshirt and your partner’s boxer shorts.

Pro Tip: While casual wear is fun — and it’s hard to top the thrill of conducting a work meeting in your undies — try dressing up when you feel yourself getting a case of the blahs. Smart duds and hard-sole shoes can do wonders for your sense of focus.

Expectation: Building a team-oriented culture will be tough.

Reality: (See “expectation” above.)

Pro Tip: If you’re a team leader, make sure you’re putting in the effort necessary to keep your team’s culture humming even while you’re separated. Communicate everything people need to know across a variety of channels. And have fun. A virtual murder mystery game on Slack can help keep people engaged and seeing the best in each other.

busy mother freelancer engaged in online work at computer

Expectation: You’ll have more time for yourself.

Reality: The lines between work and play, family and facility can grow awfully blurry when your work laptop sits next to your kid’s art project. Most of us are tempted to put off work tasks in favor of household chores. Or else to check just one more email long after our family needed us to shut off the laptop. Both are hard habits to break.

Pro Tip: Set a sensible schedule and stick to it.

Expectation: You can’t possibly lead a team, manage a house, maintain your sanity, and HOMESCHOOL your kids (for the love…)!

Reality: Okay, we might have found the place where expectations and reality converge. Sociologists tell us that this pandemic has been especially hard on working moms. Still, school districts, teachers, publishers, and homeschooling experts came through for us in a big way.

Pro Tip: If you’re a working mom or dad who’s trying to do it all, check out the podcast Emergency Homeschooling for a trove of helpful tips.

Expectation: You’ll go nuts.

Reality: Here again, the reality apple fell close to the expectation tree. America does seem a little crazier than we were a year ago. According to Gallup, between 2019 and 2020, almost every single demographic in the country saw drops in mental health. The solution? More community, family, and friends.

Pro Tip: Make time to savor the mental health benefits of sharing your life with a close-knit community of friends and family. Whatever you do, don’t isolate. Stay engaged. Your mental health depends on it.

The kitchen-table office is the new normal, and for a lot of us, it’s here to stay. Whether that’s a fact you greet with grace or apprehension, it’s definitely doable with the right attitude and resources.

We know because at ScaledOn, we’ve been working from home since the early days of our company. Today, our fully remote team stretches around the world, and we’re still killing it. Contact us to learn more about how our global team can help you crank up your business.