Since the pandemic, work strategies and practices have all shifted to our homes. For some, this has been a welcomed change. For others, not so much.
Working remotely has many benefits that are enjoyable. Dressing up for work is optional. You can go to the bathroom or to the dentist for a quick checkup, with no one really noticing you’re not “in the office,” and you can often set up your own work schedule.
However, the freedoms that come with working remotely can become very challenging for some. Even though they’re home and it should technically feel like a more relaxed setting, sometimes people feel like they end up doing more than they would have at the office.
Working remotely means that there’s less of a traditional structure to the workday. It’s also difficult to stop working because there is no longer a separation between work and home. If there are connectivity issues with the Internet, there’s no IT department to contact.
Despite all the difficulties that may come with working remotely, it doesn’t look like this option is going away soon.
Here are the most common challenges of working remotely and how to overcome them.
Managers are often weary about employees working remotely because they fear their employees won’t be as productive when they’re in such a relaxed setting. Not having to deal with phone calls, walk-in customers or seeing a manager sporadically throughout the day can make the work day too relaxing.
In actuality, employees often overwork when they’re working from home because it’s hard to turn off “working mode” when you’re already home. There’s no clear separation between being home and finishing the work day. Technically, you could continue working into the night and not notice at all.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a phone call or an important email from a client, you’re already home and in front of a computer or cellphone. Chances are, you’re more likely to respond to your work obligations more often than not when maintaining a completely remote schedule.
Ultimately, nothing will fall apart if you don’t get to that last email or take that last phone call. Set boundaries. If you’ve been working for eight or nine hours, then it’s best to put everything away once the workday is officially over. You can resume everything the next day and have dinner with your family.
Sure, you’re home and still getting your work done. But if your kids are also home and your dog is sick or demanding a walk, then day-to-day distractions can become incredibly overwhelming while trying to maintain a productive work schedule.
The reason this is such an enormous challenge when working from home is that there’s no traditional structure set up. When you’re home, you can make your own schedule, which leaves freedom to do things around the house in between meetings or deadlines.
It also doesn’t help that you don’t have your manager or boss breathing down your neck about something. You’re an adult, you should be able to come up with your own schedule to finish work on time. Except it’s a snack o’clock again and that chocolate cake is calling your name.
Know your triggers and deal with them before commencing your work day. It’ll be much more satisfying and easier to get everything done on time while maintaining complete focus.
While inevitable distractions, like having children or pets at home, can be detrimental to finishing work for some, for others, the isolation can become a challenge.
When you’re in an office, you’re surrounded by people. There’s always someone talking in the break room, someone in the cubicle next to you that can relate to the stresses you’re going through with a certain project, or someone to banter with about the latest episode of The Bachelor.
And because you’re spending most of your time at home working, there is a tendency for people to become “hermits” and still not really socialize even when the workday is over. You’ll find yourself forcing yourself to get up, close the computer, and go get dinner with other human beings.
Don’t let the challenges of working remotely ever stop you from enjoying the perks of it. Remember that working in an office day in and day out can also become tiring and add to the burnout feeling everyone inevitably goes through at one point or another.
As long as you’re able to find a delicate balance between work and maintaining some type of normalcy after you close up the computer for the day, chances are you’ll end up enjoying working remotely more than you’d think.