Since COVID-19 hit the world in 2020, the way many people work has changed. Remote working was a common solution to risk of disease, and it is here to stay. Research even shows that 70% of people work remotely at least once a week. While remote working has many benefits, it also comes with challenges. Many workers often find themselves inadequately prepared for the challenges that may arise from working from home. Have you recently started working from home? Here are some common challenges you may experience and some practical ways to deal with them to boost your productivity.
I. Inability to unplug
When working in your office, it’s easier to establish clear boundaries between working hours and leisure hours. However, those boundaries or lines can easily get blurred when you start working from your house. Therefore, it’s vital to strike a clear balance between your working hours and your personal life.
Setting clear boundaries will allow you to unplug and relax once your working day is over. This way, you can have enough time to rest before resuming work and spend quality time with your loved ones. A healthy work-life balance beats stress and improves your mental health.
Creating a dedicated workspace at home can also help you set clear boundaries between your working hours and your personal activities. Many people turn the guest room into an office. If that’s not possible, consider making one wall your work space. Below the drop-front desk below, provides a designated area for work or study. When finished, place the vase on shelf at top and the paperwork on the poof. Close the desk. See 75 Ideas for Home Offices at Houzz for more ideas. Have repair men at home? Try working outside in places like a coffee shop, library, or dedicated co-working spaces, etc.
II. Adapting to technology
In a traditional workspace, it’s easier to request assistance from the IT department or a coworker to help resolve any technical issues that may arise. However, that may not always be the case when you’re working in your house.
You can minimize your risk of dealing with such tech issues by taking basic steps like ensuring that your computer memory or drive has enough storage to run so your device doesn’t slow down. You can also take the time to delete unnecessary files, library caches, temporary files, etc., for optimum performance. Additionally, it’s best to have a reliable antivirus program running and ensure that all your software, apps, and programs are up-to-date. You can also consider having a spare wi-fi device if the one you usually use bails on you.
III. The possibility of distractions
Distractions are almost always constant when working from home and may vary depending on other factors such as your responsibilities, family size, etc. It’s best to deal with these distractions, so they don’t affect your productivity.
One effective way to minimize or avoid distractions is to have a dedicated workspace, preferably one isolated from the rest of your home. Try to find a quiet space in your home for working and remove all distractions. If possible, close the door and ask your co-inhabitants not to interrupt you, except in case of emergency. Tools to control noise distraction include noise-cancelling headphones to block out unwanted sounds and insulation to soundproof your walls and windows.
IV. Inability to follow a strict working schedule
Working from home requires greater self-discipline, especially if you work without supervision or deadlines. A company office setting usually has set working hours, lunch times, closing times. This structure may not be available when working from home, making it difficult to create and stick to a strict schedule. You may struggle to sleep, wake up, take breaks, etc. You may also struggle with a sense of work urgency.
Create a work schedule and share it with coworkers. You can try implementing the office routine at your home office, leaving a little room for flexibility. It will eventually become a habit as you remain consistent until you can stick strictly to your working schedule.
V. Working with others in different time zones and locations
Remote working has made it easier for many companies to hire workers from different time zones and cities. However, a major challenge is trying to collaborate which makes it difficult for colleagues to build cohesion, and affecting work progress.
Use instant messaging, and file-sharing services for remote workers to collaborate on international teams. Leaders should encourage teammates to set regular working hours and communicate them to the rest of the team.
In Conclusions. . . .
Working from home can be very rewarding but requires a lot of discipline to make it as productive as possible. While your working hours may be a little more flexible, you need to have the discipline to manage your time correctly.
This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own.
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2 thoughts to “5 Challenges of Working Remotely”
In March of 2020, I was sent home for “2 weeks”. Two and a half years later, I’m still there. I’m fortunate: I’m semi retired, I normally work two days a week and can control my hours (especially because of a great boss), I have a room to myself (yes, our guest room) upstairs and my husband stays downstairs during work hours (he’s retired). I even have my own bathroom! But, I had to piece an “office” together in a couple of hours (literally) back in 2020 and I am still using it. I didn’t want to invest in anything because at some point I am going to retire completely. But it’s cramped. I love some of your ideas, like the drop down desk. Hmmm….
I like that better than a standing desk. I know it’s supposed to be good for you but my old body wants to sit down.