英语学习杂志 2015-04-21 17:15





Everything You Thought You Knew About Working from Home Is Wrong
By Lana Winter-Hebert 柒月 选 李梦珠 注

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With the rise of telecommuting, more people are working from home than ever before. It’s not uncommon to see words like “remote” or “offsite” in job listings, and it’s estimated that in the United States alone, approximately 16 million people work from their home office at least one day a week. There has also been a massive influx in self-employment, as sites such as Etsy allow folks to make products and sell them online without having to worry about overhead costs for a physical store.

That said, it’s important to remember that just because someone works from home doesn’t mean that they’re either slacking off , or working any less than you are. Those who have never done so may have some misconceptions about what working from a home office is really like, so let’s put those to rest, shall we?

“You work from home? How do you get anything done?”

People who work from home tend to work a LOT more than those in offices, as there’s no real delineation between work time/home time, so work hours spill over into what many would consider to be “personal” time. Distractions such as TV, dirty dishes and such really don’t come into play, as home-based workers realize that their income depends on one thing and one thing alone: how productive they are. As such, they’re not exactly sitting around in PJs all day, especially if there are regular video Skype meetings happening. (Of course, they might just be in PJs from the waist down, but it’s impolite to ask.)

Although you may be tempted to tell people how lucky they are that they get to stay home all day, keep in mind that they’re probably working 12+ hours a day. Sure, self-employed folks may not have to commute for an hour either way, but they’re likely using those extra hours for work. Most self-employed people (including freelancers who telecommute), don’t have things like medical/dental coverage, paid sick leave, or other types of health/personal insurance that’s often covered by full-time employers, so a couple of hours’ worth of extra work may mean that some savings can actually be squirrelled away.

“Since you’re at home anyway, I figured I’d just stop by …”

It’s very bad form to just “drop in” on someone who works from home, as they are WORKING. We wouldn’t just show up at someone’s office for a chat, and the same goes for the self-employed. While you may be tempted to stop by to see a friend/relative because you miss them and you figure that they can make time for you if you just show up, ask yourself if you would do that sort of thing if they worked in a standard office setting—if the answer is “no”, don’t do it.


If someone drops by for a visit, most workers will be gracious and polite and try to make a bit of time to socialize, but that really throws off the entire work day. Think about a situation in which you’ve settled into a groove, and were then interrupted by a co-worker, a phone call, or an impromptu meeting. When that happens, one’s train of thought derails and falls into a lake, and it’s really difficult to draw it back into working order, doesn’t it? Please be considerate .

“Hey, I know you work from home, so can I get this done tonight/this weekend/right now?”

People who work from home need down time as much as office workers do—possibly more, considering that whole working 12 hours/day thing—but many folks assume that since the person telecommutes, they’re always available. I’ve heard countless freelancers mention clients who have asked that they work on weekends in order to make the client’s life “easier”, and texts/emails are often sent at all hours of the day or night, as clients assume that freelancers and such are perpetually chained to their desks.

I once received a text message from a client at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, asking me to have a piece edited and polished for 6 a.m. so they could review it before going in to work. When I explained that I had been sleeping and had no plans to get out of bed until 7:30, they didn’t understand: I worked from home, right? Why couldn’t I do this?

“Wow, you must have so much free time! Let’s go to_____ today.”

Uh, no.

Working from home does not mean that one’s schedule is malleable . There are often online meetings to attend, deadlines to meet, etc., and it’s no more viable to skip off for an afternoon of frivolity as it would be if mired in an office environment. Sure, sometimes work can be rearranged so that excursions can happen, but those have to be planned well in advance, not just on a whim. If you’ve asked a self-employed friend to do something in the middle of the day and they turn you down, please don’t try to coerce them into it or guilt trip them for not going, unless you plan to reimburse them for the time they won’t be spending at work that day.

Working from home can be incredibly rewarding, and the majority of people who do it find they are much more satisfied with their jobs.

1. telecommuting: 远程办公;offsite: 界外,厂区外;estimate: 估计,判断; approximately: 大约,近似地。
2. influx: 汇集;Etsy: 美国一个在线销售手工工艺品的网站,该网站集聚了一大批极富影响力和号召力的手工艺术品设计师。在Etsy,人们可以开店,销售自己的手工艺品,模式类似中国的淘宝;overhead costs: 营业成本,管理费用;physical store: 实体店。
3. slack off: 放松,懈怠。
4. misconception: 误解,错误的认识;put sth. to rest: 终止。
5. 在家办公通常比在办公室工作的时间更长,因为办公时间和家庭时间没有明确的界定,因此所谓的“个人”时间往往被转化为工作时间。delineation: 描述,解释;spill over: 溢出。
6. distraction: 干扰;come into play: 开始活动,起作用;productive: 富有成效的。
7. PJs: 睡衣;Skype: 一款即时通讯软件,具备视频聊天、多人语音会议、多人聊天、传送文件、文字聊天等功能。
8. waist: 腰部。
9. be tempted to: 受诱惑做……,忍不住做……。
10. self-employed: 个体经营的,自由职业的;commute: 通勤。
11. 大多数个体经营者(包括远程办公的自由职业者)都没有医疗/牙科保险、带薪病假以及全职工作者所享有的种种健康/个人保险。因此,额外几个小时的工作量其实意味着无形中省下一笔开支。freelancer: 自由职业者;coverage: (保险)承保范围;squirrel away: 储存。
12. stop by: 顺便拜访。
13. bad form: 失礼的行为;drop in: 偶然拜访。
14. gracious: 亲切的。
15. groove: 最佳状态;impromptu: 即兴的,即席的。
16. 这种情况一旦发生,思路都便如列车脱轨,坠入湖中,而将思路重新拉回来却是相当困难,不是吗?derail: 脱轨。
17. considerate: 考虑周到的。
18. 在家办公的人和在办公室上班的人一样,也需要休息时间。考虑到每天工作12小时,他们需要的休息时间可能要更多一些。但是很多人都认为,既然这些人远程办公,那么他们肯定可以随时工作。down time: 停工时间。
19. countless: 无数的;perpetually: 永久地;chain to: 拴在……上。
20. polish: 改进,润色。
21. malleable: 可塑的,可变化的。
22. viable: 可行的;skip off: 偷偷溜走;frivolity: 无聊的活动;mire: 使陷入。
23. excursion: 短途旅行,这里指在工作时间外出;in advance: 提前;on a whim: 一时兴起。
24. coerce: 强迫;guilt trip: 使感到内疚;reimburse: 偿还,赔偿。
25. incredibly: 非常地。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:许晶晶)

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