5 Real Challenges of Working From Home (and How to Overcome Them)
Working from home? We know what that’s like.
Getting to sleep in till 11, waking as slowly as you want, whipping up some terrific Dalgona coffee, eating a real breakfast, sitting on the couch in your pajamas, and working like nobody’s looking over your shoulder… because nobody is.
Not only can you be flexible in how you work, but you can be as comfortable as you want, while enjoying the time you have to yourself or with family, and appreciating the little things. At first, this new life is great for your health, happiness, and productivity.
The problems show up.
How to Overcome Common Remote Work Issues
From household distractions to uncertain work hours, the challenges of remote work can hurt both your happiness and work. Facing uncertain times are hard enough, and thinking about the tasks on your plate due yesterday doesn’t help.
Well, rest easy, because here are our easy-to-follow, fail-proof tips to a happier and super-productive work experience at home.
The ideal picture of work-from-home productivity would be you, on the couch with your feet up, listening to your kind of music, and working in a state of flow – without colleagues apparating in front of you or noisy sounds and visuals distracting you.
But you soon find that there are plenty of distractions at home, even if you live alone.
There are chores to do, meals to make, groceries to buy, and tons of other household and leisure activities that demand your time, energy, and attention, preventing you from truly focusing on work.
If you live with friends or family, your partner may need something, your roommates might annoy you, or your kids will want entertainment.
How to overcome this:
Make peace with the fact that you won’t be able to follow a truly uninterrupted 50-hour-a-week schedule of work at home. Instead, allow yourself to schedule time for personal life into the middle of your professional workday, and include your chores, meals, and social time for a healthy work-life balance.
During the designated work hours, ensure your family or friends at home are aware that you’re busy and not to be disturbed. Practice social distancing with your smartphone to avoid digital distractions too. Get a focus app to help you out.
But remember to take breaks and follow the leisure hours in your schedule to avoid letting burnout, unfinished chores, and annoyed family members affect you during work hours.
If you worked in an open office before, you probably had to do so under the watchful eyes of your boss and colleagues. Now, working from home is so freeing.
But without feeling some of that pressure, it’s easy to slip into unproductive and lazy habits and it becomes difficult to find internal motivation to actually work.
Plus, without your colleagues or boss around, you’d have to type out an email or schedule a Zoom meeting if you want to ask them for feedback or guidance. The last thing you want is to redo work due to lack of clear direction.
How to overcome this: Set goals to motivate yourself. Something like – “Complete at least three tasks today, and at least one before lunch.”
Even though you want to make the most of minimal supervision, maintain some of your old habits by pretending you’re going to an office, like waking up early, wearing something that’s not pajamas, and following a decent schedule.
Communicate regularly with your colleagues and supervisors so that you can receive feedback, get guidance, and be held accountable.
If they’re too busy, you could type out an email to your boss promising a deadline for your tasks. That way, you’ll have no choice but to follow through. (And maybe win some brownie points for looking like you’re taking initiative. Good going!)
Communicating and collaborating
Long-distance is never easy. And the same holds true for your professional life.
You could be in the middle of a big meeting when you suddenly lose your internet connection. Or, you could get a series of emails with tasks that seem to be completely out of context.
When you’re in the office, these issues aren’t there. You get to enjoy streamlined communication and it’s easy to be on top of all the projects you’re supposed to be working on. If you’re an introvert, what was supposed to be a comfortable remote experience suddenly turns on you when you realize you’re going to have to communicate a lot more now.
How to overcome this: You and your colleagues need to figure out a better way to streamline communication while working from home. Whether it’s a project management tool or a process document, find something that fits your group’s working style, and that everyone can easily follow.
If you are even vaguely confused about something, you need to get it clarified. At the same time, let everybody know that you are open to questions so that they can get clarity and do their jobs well too.
Regarding dropped calls and internet connections, invest in better networks and upgrade your tech to prevent any future glitches.
Transitioning in and out of work mode
When you worked at the office, no matter how your day was, you would ‘come home’ at the end of it. But when you’re working from home, the lines between personal and professional are blurred.
There’s no concrete feeling of an ‘end’ to the day. You’re still answering emails on your phone during a movie, typing something out while microwaving leftovers, and still stressing about the day when you turn in for the night.
That’s because when both your home and office come under the same roof, it’s hard to find your work mode’s ‘on’ and ‘off’ switches.
How to overcome this: Our advice is to have a dedicated workspace for yourself – one that’s solely for work, and work alone.
An ideal home office workspace is more than just a flat desk and a moving chair. The great thing about working from home is that your office manager doesn’t dictate how you work now.
This is your space, so make it yours.
Get home office furniture that’s best suited to your decor and working style, so you can put on your headphones and easily allow yourself to slip into work mode as soon as you sit down; and ‘come home’ as soon as you leave it.
Loneliness and cabin fever
One of the biggest remote work challenges we face is the feeling of isolation. Humans, even introverts, are meant to be social beings. From conference room meetings to watercooler conversations, making the shift from a social environment to a closed one can be difficult, even if it’s home, and even if you’re with family.
And studies show that people who live in an enclosed space for a long time can go through some mental health setbacks. You might find yourself feeling more irritated, sad, or anxious lately, in a way that has nothing to do with the current global situation.
How to overcome this: Remind yourself to breathe and take stock of what you have. You get to set your own schedule, work in comfort, avoid distractions, enjoy quality time again and more. Use this situation to focus on getting better by doing what makes you happy.
Take up old hobbies you never had time for, reconnect with your loved ones, finish an online course that will boost your resume, try learning a new skill, cook yourself a real breakfast, or take care of yourself physically with at-home workouts, yoga, or meditation.
You’ll soon find that investing time in yourself and taking a break from work, will actually make you more productive and successful both personally and professionally.
The Struggles of Remote Work are Real
You’re not alone. People celebrate the idea of working from home, but we know how challenging it can be.
Remember that your mental health is as important as your physical health, so prioritize it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Here at CasaOne, we can help you make your new, temporary work-from-home life a little bit more comfortable by providing safe furniture and setting up home offices you’ll like, quickly and affordably.
So whenever you decide to treat yourself to a nicer desk, a comfier bed, or a fluffier couch, we’ll be right here, ready to set it up for you.