I’ve been working from home for a while and it is truly my favourite way to work. But, I would be lying if I didn’t say that there are working from home challenges to consider.
I love many things about my day now, there is no commute (1 hour to drive 6 miles is not my idea of fun!). I’m my own boss too so no unreasonable behaviour from someone on a power trip. I pick what time I have lunch and I get to move around more. But, it’s not all easy, there are some challenges that come with working from home too.
Whilst it was on the rise anyway the global pandemic has clearly had an impact. According to Finders, Working from home statistics report the figure has risen by over 800,000 in the last decade which isn’t a surprise.
It’s of note that some of the benefits of working from home have been reported as being:
- Increased productivity
- Financially beneficial
- More time
- Less stress
Using my own experience, conversations with friends and family and of course the many statistics and reports there is a clear pattern of the biggest issues. Here they are:
Not switching off, the great working from home challenge
Surprisingly to me many people I know who had to work from home hadn’t been allowed to before. Convinced they would become lazy or slack off, bosses were reluctant to allow it.
Interestingly, the opposite seems to be true. With many businesses noting an increase in productivity and it seems that remote workers not only boss the workload, they in fact seem to overwork too.
When your office is just in the other room it can be hard to switch off. There is no definitive line, no physical difference between work time and home time and this can become a problem and lead to burnout.
What you can do to avoid overworking
- Take regular breaks (schedule them if necessary by setting alarms or reminders)
- Physically leave the house at the end of your day. Going for a walk after you’ve finished can help create a boundary
- Make plans with your friends or family (even if it is a Zoom call)
- Have a separate workspace if you can
- Do not check work emails/texts on your phone out of hours
I consider myself an introvert and though this makes working from home a glorious thing it can mean I find it difficult, awkward or uncomfortable to reach out without reason. Whereas in an office environment you may find it more ‘natural’ to come upon a conversation oftentimes, working from home means you need to start that chat.
If not you may feel disconnected from any others that you’re working with. Your team, boss, staff or even clients.
Here is my advice for feeling connected
- Communicate often, yes about projects or jobs but in general too
- Make sure it’s clear amongst you all how to communicate. There are great tools that can help keep communication quick and easy. I prefer to use Slack for it’s chat room, direct message and groups/topic functions
Lack of motivation – working from home challenges 101
Although productivity appears to be higher, being self motivated and self disciplined can be really difficult.
Time management is key to successfully navigating the working from home challenges but it’s hard. It’s easy to put an extra load of laundry on or sofa surf whilst watching Netflix for an extra decadent lunch break!
How to make sure you get motivated and get work done
- Limit distractions – simple but highly effective. Not sure how? Download my free 10 Ways to stop getting distracted checklist
- Work when your energy is high and schedule rest time for when it’s not. If you have a monthly cycle you’ll understand this, if not then just think of it as working at your optimum time to achieve the best results
- Get better at to-do lists, make sure your top 3 priorities are there and then just a handful of smaller tasks too
- Get the most important most crappy job done first and you can feel satisfied knowing it’s done and this will boost your motivation
Whilst you will notice the fewer distractions simply by not being in an office environment (no boss sitting on the edge of your desk or a nosy well-meaning co-worker trying to catch up) there are a whole load of other interruptions to your day that will become a challenge of it’s own.
I’m talking about people knocking at the door, salesmen, delivery drivers, friends who are in the area. It will happen more than you realise and every time it does you will be thrown off your game. Or there’s the well meaning relatives that think since you’re working from home they can pop by and keep you company for a while.
Don’t even get me started on the dog!
How to manage interruptions
- Be honest with the people in your home about when you’re working and explain what this means
- Be firm but fair with your friends and family. It’s OK to turn people away if you’re busy
- Don’t let yourself become the neighbourhood parcel taker in. This is an easy habit to fall into but can be avoided
- Stick to your workspace if you can (I also sometimes wear noise cancelling headphones, no music just quiet)
Isolation a sometimes crippling working from home challenge
I must admit I don’t generally experience loneliness yet, it’s arguably one of the biggest issues raised. I wrote a little about it in an earlier blog pot. Read it here.
According to that Finder, working from home statistics report I mentioned earlier, 5% of Brits can be categorised as ‘chronically lonely’ (this is specifically related to lock-down too) with, I think somewhat understandably, most of these falling into the living alone category.
Here are a few top tips to reduce loneliness and isolation
- Make a point of scheduling time to meet with people. Friends/family/colleagues on a social basis. Even if this is via face time or in a socially distanced way.
- Join groups that relate to your hobbies and interests. At the moment with the pandemic raging, many have gone online and become virtual so you still can.
- Talk to people. Share your feelings. You would be surprised how many people feel exactly the same but don’t want to burden you
What do you thing? What challenges have you experienced?
Catch you later,