By Zeldi Smulders
Although working from home can provide some extra comfort and reduce certain stressors, it is not as simple and care-free as it may appear. Basically, it’s not all sleeping in and watching TV. You still have a job you need to do.
There are common challenges that are bound to appear when working from home. And people all over the world are talking about them.
Some enjoy this time of being at home, while others cannot wait to get back to the office. But is this just a phase or will there be more people working from home in the future?
Working from Home Is Probably Here to Stay
An article from iAfrica shares the thoughts of Michelle Baron-Williamson, CEO of Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE).
She says that the concept of working from home is not new to South African employers. Although some companies were previously not too eager to put it into practice. The national lockdown has nevertheless provided an opportunity to see whether it’ll work or not.
This movement can also be seen internationally. And she believes that the possibility of working from home isn’t taking its leave in the near future.
There are however a group of people who are not too happy with this idea.
Working from Home Is Not for Everyone
You moved your office to home and some challenges decided to make themselves at home there with you. Maybe you are the one who reads this and gives a sigh of relief at the thought of going back. Don’t feel bad if you do.
There are indeed some disadvantages to working from home. Some experiences include developing bad eating habits, feeling cut off from the world, and not being able to switch off, to name a few. Working from home may even just not be suitable for your line of work.
Occupational Health and Safety Online shares some mixed views regarding the idea of working from home permanently. Some companies are happy with it and others want their employees to return to the office as soon as possible.
In the meantime, while you still have to work from home you can make the best of it. If you find that working from home is a good fit or even just necessary, then you will have to know how to overcome the challenges.
Overcoming the Challenges
As with most challenges in life, it probably won’t go away unless you deal with it.
If you think about it, the challenges you face at home now are similar to the challenges you commonly faced at the office. Admittedly, they may have taken a different form. The office challenges may have even been less… challenging. Still, we can take some wisdom from dealing with previous situations to help the process of overcoming the current challenges.
In both cases, the bottom line is- what is taking up unnecessary time and decreasing productivity?
Here are five common challenges of working from home and how to overcome them:
There is less structure
You won’t get far if you are feeling lost and don’t know what is expected of you. Communication is key. It’s easy enough to make a quick phone call or send an email to shine some light on the situation.
Some employers don’t mind what your working hours are as long as you get the job done. Still, it is easy to create the impression that you are not doing your job if your employer isn’t able to see any results. Let them know how you are progressing or if you need more time to work on something.
You work too little or too much
Know your goals and tasks for the day. The idea that you are not doing enough may creep into your mind. But if you know what you need to do you will be able to manage it better. This is where communication comes in again.
Be “on time” for work and “leave” when you are done for the day. Just like you would at the office.
You don’t have what you need
Gear up. That means obtaining whatever equipment or training you may need to get the job done as quickly and painlessly as possible. Earphones, pens, note pads, coffee mug, you name it. Eliminate excuses and discomfort. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your employer for what you need as you would from the office.
There are too many distractions
It’s comparable to that one co-worker who is always taking their coffee breaks at your desk. Set boundaries. Close the door (if you have one). Tell friends and family to only contact you if necessary. Likewise, the chores at home have a voice of their own. Leave them for when you know your work is done.
Mental health problems occur
Take care of yourself. You’re at your most valuable when you prioritise your mental health. The stressors you experience at the office may differ from the ones at home. But working from home may entail that there is no escape from either of them. Take breaks and focus on maintaining your work-life balance.
As you continue to work from home you will become better at identifying the challenges that affect you the most. With that, the solutions will also become clearer.
What are your biggest challenges of working from home and what are you doing to overcome them?