Stay Connected & Committed When Working From Home
It’s commonly cited as the solution to a world of professional woes, but working from home can prove unexpectedly problematic for those enticed by its lure.
Despite affording more flexible childcare, fitness and household management routines, life as a digital nomad isn’t easy. Once the novelty of sending emails sans pants wears off, many remote workers struggle to remain motivated in the absence of their colleagues.
According to a fifteen country study by the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation, remote workers suffer from more stress than their office-based peers. It is expected that longer hours, higher work intensity and increased work-life interference are to blame for this finding.
Once the novelty of sending emails 'sans pants' wears off, many remote workers struggle to remain motivated in the absence of their colleagues.
So, what are the challenges of working from home and how do you overcome them?
Challenge: Switching Off
Solution: Whether it’s a home office, desk or quiet space under the stairs, make a conscious effort to define your workstation. Use plants, photographs and organisational aids to make it as productivity inducing as possible. Then, once your work has been completed, close the door on your office or physically pack away your desk to notify your brain that your shift has reached its conclusion.
Challenge: Working All Hours
Solution: Rather than traditional office shifts, many employers now allow unlimited flexibility in terms of schedule and deadlines for tasks each week. Get into the habit of outlining your hours in advance so that you know when exactly you will be working and when you can fit in other activities. Work the hours which best suit your personality, but do consider starting each day at the same time so you can foster a positive sense of routine.
Challenge: Meeting Expectations
Solution: Often when people work from home they are faced with requests they wouldn’t normally have to deal with. A friend might pop over for a mid-morning catch-up or a spouse might see no issue with you running errands during your shift. It’s important to allocate your time effectively when managing remote work. Make your boundaries known and enforce them.
Challenge: Getting Started
Solution: With no bus to catch or meetings to attend, settling into work at home can be difficult. Each morning, shower, dress and eat before approaching your desk. Once the basics are taken care of, consider adding a mood boosting extra like practising yoga or walking your dog to your morning ritual.
Challenge: Technological Distractions
Solution: With no one looking over your shoulder, resisting the temptations of social media is all on you. Limit the potential for distraction by placing your phone on aeroplane mode. For bonus points, try adding a site blocker to your browser during periods of particularly intense work.
Challenge: Missing Lunch
Solution: Working from home may leave you void of colleagues to dine with, but that doesn’t mean you should spend your lunch staring at your screen. Take regular breaks throughout the day to boost your productivity, refresh your mind and spark your creativity.
Solution: One of the major drawbacks of working from home is the way in which it limits social interaction. Research shows that almost 60% of remote workers find themselves craving conversation. At least once a day, make a conscious effort to get out of the house by attending an exercise class, popping to the shops or meeting a friend for coffee. Maintain a steady stream of contact with your boss and colleagues via phone, video chat and social media. Remember, they are still interested in hearing from you even if they can’t physically meet you on a daily basis.
Challenge: Feeling Invisible
Solution: If you’re afraid working from home will damage your chance of promotion, use the time you’re not making small talk with co-workers to get creative. Conduct regular brain storming sessions to explore how you could advance your skills or contribute to the success of your organisation. Once you’ve developed a solid idea, arrange a meeting with your manager to pitch your concept. Working from home means you are exposed to different forms of inspiration to other members of staff. Allow this to give you the competitive edge.