Working from home is becoming much more common nowadays due to the pandemic. On the surface, it may seem ideal. You can work in your pajamas while you talk to your cat. You might even have your favorite music in the background.
However, working from home has its disadvantages, too. It’s not as easy to get things done from home as you might think. There are some key things that might trip you up, so be careful!
Solution: Stick to a schedule.
Make a schedule and stick to it.
2. Problem: Feeling sleepy, sloppy, or disorganized for work
Solution: Dress effectively.
Some people can take care of business just fine in their sleepwear. Others might need to dress in their normal work clothes in order to get things done at a high level. Dressing in office clothes may get your mind back in work mode and prepare you before-hand for the occasional online meeting.
3. Problem: Home is distracting or noisy
Solution: Deal with the other people in your home.
Your spouse, kids, friends, neighbors, other family members, and pets can all be a distraction. Set boundaries in your workspace for time and usability. Be strict to enforce them and not let anyone come in when you’re at work.
If kids are there for homeschool, enforce rules for engagement only during emergencies or adjust to get help for supervision. Friends can also distract by phone calls and social media. Get zoned in and only communicate outside normal working hours.
4. Problem: Feeling disconnected from the “real world”
Solution: Put in face-time.
Use video conferencing tools for meetings, brainstorms, and planning sessions. Avoid only relying on the phone and emails for communication. It’s beneficial to visually see people from time to time!
5. Problem: The desire to connect with others/community
Solution: Communicate more.
Communication can be less effective when you don’t have face-to-face contact. That means you’ll likely need to communicate more to make up for the lower quality of physical contact. Communicate as much as necessary to ensure projects get completed.
6. Problem: Using odd areas as your workspace.
Solution: Have a dedicated workspace.
It can be tempting to spread out in the kitchen area. But are your papers going to stay where you put them or worse get dirty and wet? Can you have a decent phone conversation there? Are there too many distractions?
Find a decent desk and a normal area to set up your home office. Ensure there is proper lighting, and that you have adequate computing equipment and internet.
7. Problem: Feeling bogged down, unclear, or tired from sitting for too long
Solution: Plan breaks.
Part of sticking to a schedule includes taking regular breaks. A break is a good time to clear your head, check on the kids, or let the dog out.
8. Problem: Need for exercise or fresh air
Solution: Get out of the house at least once each day.
It helps both your mental and physical health to get out of the house for at least a little while each day. You could run to the store, take a walk, or do anything else that takes you out of your home for a bit.
9. Problem: Getting sluggish
Solution: Get some exercise.
If you are new to working from home, you may realize that you are “moving” less than when you used to go into an office.
In an office setting, you have to walk further to the bathroom. You have to walk from the parking lot to your office. You might go out for lunch regularly. You have to walk to your boss’s office or take files to another department. The coffee pot might be at the other end of the hallway.
At home, everything is close and convenient. It makes a difference regarding how much movement you experience each day.
Make sure to factor in time to “move” as much as you can throughout the day.
Enjoy your time working from home but understand the potential drawbacks. It can be more challenging to get things done, and it’s much easier to waste time if you’re not cautious. Working from home can have more distractions. It can also be psychologically more challenging if you’re alone all day.
Although there are some challenges, working from home has many advantages with many outweighing the challenges. It is up to you to develop a process that works for you.