For those who never had to deal with it before, working from home might seem like the ultimate gig. But, once you actually get down to it, you start realizing how tough it can really be. Working in a familiar and comfortable environment can be both a gift and a curse, and some people might have more trouble adapting to it than others.
Thankfully, there are some things that anyone can do to adjust themselves and get over these issues. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main challenges of working from home, and what you can do to overcome them.
Lack of Concentration
This is probably one of the most common issues for people working from home. Being somewhere where so many distractions are within arm’s reach can really become an issue if you’re the procrastinating kind. Working in a strict environment has the advantage of curtailing you with enough rules and sensory deprivation to make work an actually interesting proposition.
However, there are many things that you can do to turn the situation around. One of the options is to improve your working space. Maybe move to a more remote room in the house, or take steps to soundproof the current room you’re using. Another solution would be to choose a space outside of your home you could use as your surrogate office.
A coffee shop can be a great idea, but we suggest you try something like a public library. It’s dead quiet and most people are here to get things done, so there will be much less activity. Choosing a place that is a good distance from home will also help you get committed once you get there.
At the other end of the sector, you have people who end up overworking themselves and never taking breaks. This is one of the worst things you can do both for your mental and physical health. You should never spend more than an hour and a half in front of a screen. As a matter of fact, data from Desktime, a productivity app, seems to suggest that their best performers spent an average of 52 minutes working followed by short 17 minute breaks.
Also, make sure that you disconnect completely during your breaks. This means turning your phone and computer off and taking some time for yourself. Working too hard will eventually affect your work as you’ll get hit by brain fatigue. This could also lead to burnout after a while.
Getting Good Sleep
Getting quality sleep becomes a challenge for many people once they start working from home. One of the reasons is that they can’t make a clean break between their work and home anymore.
If you decide to work from home and not an exterior spot, you could engage in a specific activity after your day is over to clear your headspace. You could take this time to go to the gym, for instance, or go for a bike ride. Or, you could treat it like any other day at the office and go get a few drinks. You will then be able to come back refreshed and ready to get to bed.
Another thing you should do is invest in a top-quality bed. You could get one that’s adjustable, for instance. These are not for hospitals only, and adjustable beds have tons of benefits for everyday people. You can position them for sleep or for work, or they can be used if you need relief or support in a specific area. Investing in a good bed and mattress could be one of the best decisions you can make if you’re trying to increase productivity at home.
Collaboration and Communication Issues
It’s already tough to keep in-person meetings productive, so imagine when you have to deal with moving parts all with their own tools and possible technical difficulties. This is one of the biggest obstacles and challenges of working from home, and one of the reasons many are still so reluctant to adopt it.
The only way to mitigate that if you’re a supervisor is to have scheduled weekly meetings with your main teams. You have to make sure that you check their progress and if they’re meeting deliverables. At the end of the meetings, you should also make sure to give new objectives and deliverables. Team members should also let you know what their main tasks and priorities are at the moment, and any changes there might be in the scope of the project.
As far as daily communications go, you should consider using a single tool like nTask and Slack. Also, look into agile project management tools that will allow everyone to keep track of the progress of everyone’s work in a simple visual format. This will also allow you to add new tasks to the pipeline without unnecessary briefings.
Dealing with People at Home
If you thought you’d love being able to spend more time with your family, you might regret it really fast once you have some work to do. Depending on what kind of support system you have around you, or the age of the children, it might seem almost impossible to manage both. That doesn’t mean it is, however.
One of the first things you should do is set clear boundaries and explain why you’re making them. You want to let your children know that it’s not because you don’t like them, but because mommy or daddy has to work to afford all the good things around the house. You could also ask your partner if they would be willing to change their schedule so they can take care of the children during the day, and you take over in the evening, or vice versa.
Working from home can actually be fun, and even liberating for some. However, it can also come with its fair share of challenges, so make sure that you’re ready for them, and know what to expect.