The worst advice about working from home

Working from home isn’t just a benefit many people want. Thanks to the pandemic, many people learned it’s a benefit that can help them achieve work-life balance and be more efficient, productive employees.

Once you have a work-from-home job, though, it’s not something you want to lose. And if you start asking for advice on working at home, you’re bound to hear some of the best—and worst!—advice.

Highlighted below are five of the worst tips you will hear about working from home, along with better advice that can help you achieve remote work success!

5 of the Worst Working-from-Home Tips

1. Who needs a babysitter when you work from home? You can work and watch your kids!

The pandemic likely dispelled this myth, but there may be those that still think you can mix working at home with watching the kids.

While it’s not impossible to work at home with kidsit’s best not to skip childcare. Whether it’s a spouse you trade off with, a family member that pitches in, a hired babysitter, or dropping the kids at daycare, having childcare helps you focus on work when you need to and the kids when you want to.

2. Meetings and conference calls are a great time to sit back and relax. Chime in occasionally and then go back to watching TV, working out, or doing housework.

While meetings are not everyone’s idea of a good time, it’s crucial to take virtual meetings seriously and behave just as you would in the office.

Eliminate distractions by closing down other tabs on your computer. Help yourself focus on the meeting by not engaging in other tasks, whether that be writing a report that’s due in an hour or washing the dishes.

If you find your attention wandering, take notes or use headphones. Or ask a question. You never know when you might miss a key point and find yourself “volunteered” for a project.

3. You will be home all day, so you can help out friends, family, and neighbors and catch up on television shows, social media, and housework.

When you’re a remote worker and can work from the house, the backyard, or a coffee shop, it’s easy for people to think that you’ve got tons of free time. And while flexible hours are often a perk of remote work, it’s essential for you—and others—to remember that tasks for your job come before anything else.

It’s okay to have lunch with friends, start a load of laundry during an afternoon break, or help out the neighbors. But you can’t attend to non-work activities all day every day. Establishing and sticking to boundaries will help others understand that when you’re working at home, you’re working and not always available for non-work tasks.

4. Fake working by creating a digital presence, especially when you are not at your computer.

Faking work no matter where you are is always a bad idea.

If you fake getting the job done, you’re setting yourself and your coworkers up for failure—or worse! Avoid faking any part of your job and always perform to the best of your abilities.

5. When you work at home, you can work all the time and really get things done.

Working from home can make you more productive. For example, instead of spending time in traffic and not working, you can spend your “commute” getting a head start on the workday.

However, it’s easy to “turn off” when you work in an office since you can leave it all there (even with 24/7 access to our work email). Not so when you work at home. When you’re sitting on the couch and you spy your work laptop, it’s easy to think, “I’ll knock out one more thing.” But, over time, “one more thing” becomes a lot of things, and suddenly, it feels like your home is no longer a respite from your job.

Working around the clock isn’t good for anyone. So in addition to setting boundaries with friends and family, make sure you set and enforce boundaries with yourself.

Make it a rule that you won’t start working before a certain time and that you won’t work after a certain time or on weekends. Take breaks that get you away from your desk and out of “work mode,” or eat lunch at the kitchen table instead of at your desk.

Working from Home the Right Way

Sure, you can take a nap on your lunch break or even work out when you feel best, but working from home and having a flexible schedule takes self-control and dedication.

If you want to be a successful remote employee, it is best not to burn any bridges and tarnish your reputation by skimping on your work or portraying any of these worst work-from-home stock photos. Keep yourself accountable,  be present, and remember that you work in a very casual office that just happens to be in your home.

This article was originally published on FlexJobs.