Few challenges of working from home and how to avoid them
During the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many companies have shifted to ‘work from home’ policy. Some of us, such as freelancers, writers, and developers are already familiar with the very notion of working remotely. But this is a very first experience for many other global teams and companies, forced by events obviously. Remote work does sound wonderful because of its many advantages such as no daily commute, no stress of work or waking up early, most of all home-made food! As good as it sounds, working from home is definitely not without troubles and challenges!
It’s important to overcome the challenges whether you are permanently working remotely or are currently a remote worker. Not only will you be happier and more productive but you will also succeed in transitioning towards this new work arrangement.
Here are a few common remote-work challenges and how to fight them.
Separating work and professional life
It’s evident when you work from home, it becomes harder to have a clear boundary between work and personal space. Ideally, your home is a place where you unwind after a long day, feel safe and secure. It’s a place when you put all the stress related to work behind you. So when you are working from home, sometimes we might lose track of the time and even after working hours we are compelled to check that one last email or slack notification or even a meeting call.
This is why it is important you set aside a separate physical space for work and a separate place for relaxing once you are done. Also, advise your family to respect your boundaries. And for you, invest your time in your family after working hours are over and avoid checking up on any work-related notifications. Eventually, the clearer the boundaries, the better you will be able to distinguish between work and personal life.
Working more than expected
One of the many reasons why managers don’t approve of employees to work remotely is because they fear that the employees might dodge work if they have no manager overlooking them. But, in many cases the opposite seems to be true; meaning remote workers over-work. Just like mentioned above, when your professional and private life is under the same roof, it becomes difficult to keep the two distinctive.
Also, sometimes we lose track of when the work time starts and when it ends, which can be pretty exhausting and we are unable to realize it even. One way to avoid overworking is to set reminders to take regular break intervals after every hour or so. Either take a walk outside the house, have a tea break, or walk to the kitchen to even fill up your glass of water can be immensely helpful and ultimately make you more productive.
Distractions, distractions, distractions!
Even if you have a dedicated working space or have a set work schedule, you can still be prone to many distractions in your environment. Staying productive can be really challenging. It can become difficult to focus on when your family and personal chores are surrounding you. So it’s crucial to remove these distractions before they get out of hand. One of the effective techniques is to move yourself to a separate home office space as mentioned above. But also making sure that your home office is too free of distractions. Moreover, you can use noise-canceling earphones to steer clear of noise.
Once you are free of distractions, only then you will be able to work efficiently and measure your daily productivity. Another way to stay on course is to use a time management software (try Staff Timer app), which allows you to log tasks and know the total time spent on them. Just the act of keeping track of your time can make you more aware of where your time is going. You can see your work patterns and improve accordingly.
Feeling lonely when working from home
Feeling lonely is one of the biggest challenges that remote workers are facing nowadays. This physical separation has made workers feel less connected to their social circle and company. Humans tend to have social needs but when people are confined to just working remotely without any socializing, it can add to declining mental health and even productivity. Meeting and socializing at work not only strengthen bonds but also connectedness between teams.
So it is important to make your remote teams feel included even while apart. There are a few ways remote employees can avoid loneliness by working outside the home once in a while. Use video conferencing tools to communicate with your team. Schedule team-wide virtual meetings that allow employees to connect virtually especially in this period of a worldwide pandemic.
While working from home it becomes super difficult to stay on the same page as the rest of the team. Instant messaging, emails, calls are just some of the ways through which employers and employees stay in touch. But sometimes people can misinterpret them in a big way. Team and task collaboration tools like Staff timer exist specifically to make it easier for companies to stay organized and easily delegate tasks to their members via voice notes.
Moreover, different time zones can add to your nightmare. You might be waking up just when your teammate is going to bed. That means you can’t always rely on your team members to be available to solve any issue when needed immediately. So it is important to keep the lines of communication open and according to schedule.