Due to the recent global events, more and more people have found themselves not being able to go to their workplace anymore, and so remote working was the alternative for millions of people. Sure you might not have a commute to work anymore but it’s not all gravy, so in this article, we’re going to talk about some of the challenges of working from home.
When the first cases of the coronavirus started to emerge in Wuhan, very few would predict the havoc the virus would wreak across the world.
The general feeling was that it would just disappear after a few weeks and many countries that had less than ten cases thought they had everything under control.
Looking back, with the pandemic still ongoing, how wrong were we? The worst-case scenario is now a reality, the world has been completely changed by the virus.
But since we are creatures shaped by nature, we found ways to adapt to the virus. When the highly contagious virus spread across the planet, people were forced to stay at home and maintain social distance.
The business had to adapt too, and millions of workers across the world were forced to start telecommuting thanks to the Covid-19.
While this was a welcoming change, since people can work remotely in the comfort of their homes, it is not as easy as people might think, as there are quite a lot of challenges working from home.
6 Challenges of working from home
1. Time management is difficult
Going to the office where time and schedule are structurally managed seemed like some kind of slavery. You have to set the alarm for 6 in the morning, sit in your cubical all day with only an hour of escape during lunchtime.
You wished you could set your own working hours and work whenever you feel like with a great sense of freedom.
Then came the pandemic and all of a sudden everyone has to work from home. But despite all the freedom, you are used to working under a structure, and now you are finding it hard to get work done.
Without this structure, home workers are finding themselves in hot water. They procrastinate, they sleep in, and they tell themselves they will work on it later on. But later on, never comes.
How to manage your time working from home
- Find a working space
- Manage your energy
- Take strategic breaks
- Set boundaries
- Be kind to yourself
- Dress office clothes
- Treat any free time like office lunch break, meetings
Related: Time Management Working From Home
2. Clash of professional and personal life
Working from home removes that geographic boundary between your personal space and workspace.
You were used to coming home to relax and unwind. Your home is a place to subconsciously wander into a calm state of mind, leaving your work stress at work. However, working from home tramples down that mental division and makes you feel like you are always working.
It is hard to find time or space for relaxation and turning off work.
How to set up boundaries when working from home
- Set your hours or stick to the business hours
- Take a day off
- Wear office clothes and take them off once your “office” time is over
- Lock your working space and make sure everyone reaches you through call
3. It’s easy to get distracted
You may not reach that productivity level you normally do when working from the office. This is because it is super-easy to get distracted working from home without no one to hold you accountable.
A home is a place for turning work off and it is hard to go past this mental block when you work from home. It is tough to rile yourself up when your boss is miles away.
Kids, partners, pets, TV, neighbor, and so on, are some of the things that compete for your attention in addition to how easy it is to lazy around and not be productive.
How to avoid distractions when working from home
- Work from a designated spot
- Organize your ‘office’ to enhance productivity
- Stick to your normal work schedule
- Get into a no disturb mode
4. Minimum supervision and lack of direction
While we all love to gripe about our horrible bosses, it is now that majority of workers understand the crucial function bosses in the office serve – providing supervision and direction. In addition to telling you what needs to be done, they also provide feedback about your work.
But when you work from home, there is less or no supervision as well as less sense of direction, which you need in order to stay on track.
How to avoid the sense of directionless when working from home
- Stay in contact with your boss and co-workers
- Connect with your supervisor to discuss your milestones
- Set goals for yourself
- Keep your bosses on the loops so that they can provide you with feedback on your job
5. Vague performance metric
How do you measure your job performance? Though this is a problem that has been around before the pandemic, it becomes even harder when you have to work from home. Unfortunately, supervisors measure the team’s performance by how long the staff physically sits behind their desks.
So when employees telecommute, it becomes difficult to ‘measure’ their performance since supervisors can’t tell how long they physically sit behind their desks.
While this is not the right way to measure employees’ performance, you still had to adhere to it and at the end of the day, you felt as if a lot of work was done.
Regardless of how your supervisors used to measure performance, now you are on your own and you must have a key performance indicator that reflects how well you are doing your job.
How to avoid vague performance metric
- Ask your boss what metrics you need to measure your work against
- Ask for your supervisor’s expectations
- Measure the number of calls you made in a day increased/decreased could be good/bad
6. Social isolation
We are social creatures and sitting all day by yourself can take a toll on you. In the office you were used to interacting with your coworkers, swapping jokes, and talking about last night’s game.
Videoconferencing may help to some extent, but it is not the same as face-to-face meeting and interacting with people.
How to avoid social isolation when working from home
- Focus on your daily goals
- Reach out to others
- Use video and team collaboration tools
- Maintain positive outlook
Challenges of Working from Home: Conclusion
Though telecommuting comes with a plethora of benefits – avoiding the daily commute, flexible working schedule, and being able to work from anywhere on the planet – working from home is not as easy as people might think.
Plus not to mention that Microsoft did a <ref>study</ref> and found out that employees are now working 4 more hours per week when working from home.
One of the main reasons for working more hours is because there are no people basically closing the shop or the lights or things of that nature, so it’s easy to get caught up in the work and continue working for hours on end.
So you want to make sure to set some boundaries, and that you stop working when your work hours are up. Don’t forget to also not to stay up too late to finish your work and risk having your eyes strained by the blue light of your devices.
The blue light will make it harder for you to fall asleep and will result in a poor quality of sleep and this will also impact your productivity for the next day.
There are many challenges that we all just have to deal with since things might not return to the old normal.