Working from home sounds like heaven to most workers who crave flexibility.
The thought of waking up at your leisure, working in comfortable clothes and having a relaxed breakfast while you crunch numbers sounds ideal.
While it may have seemed like a dream come true at the time, reality quickly sets in and many people find that working from home was not as good an idea as it once seemed.
Here are some of the challenges.
Security and Setting Up
Setting up at home is a challenge for remote workers having to upload and download data while working away from company servers. Many desktops have to be replaced with laptops to ensure remote productivity. Security becomes a big issue as the remote connections create loopholes for hackers to exploit.
You’re Always Available
When you’re in the office, there is some pressure to come in a bit early and stay a bit late to catch up on work, but working remotely means there is no leaving work.
Working from home goes beyond working through lunch or clocking in an additional hour in the evening. Remote workers are finding that their employers are calling on them to work at night, early mornings and on weekends. There is an expectation that since they are locked down at home, they are always available. This creates a stressful situation in which workers can never separate time at work from time at home.
Work hours may surpass the standard 48 hours/week set by international labor laws.
Working from home brings with it a different social dynamic that can induce feelings of loneliness. In an office setting, there is always chatter and social interaction. Not so at home. While you can chat with your co-workers on email or see them in a video meeting, there is no substitute for the face-to-face interaction that traditional offices bring.
The problem with blurring the lines between work and home is that each comes with its own set of distractions that are counterproductive when trying to work. At home, you may be tempted to throw in a quick load of laundry before you start working or take the dog for a walk between meetings. A quick lunch can turn into lunch, then a nap, then a quick walk, and before you know it, it’s the end of the day and you haven’t accomplished anything.
One of the ways to combat these distractions is to treat your home office like your work office. Designate one room of your house as your workspace and close the door when you are working. Take a regular lunch break for 30 minutes to one hour, just as you would in an office setting. “Leave” work at a regular time and don’t return until the next day.
Some remote jobs require a quiet work space, which can be impossible with a crying baby or a barking dog in the background. Many people who work from home don’t enjoy the savings of childcare costs because they still need childcare while they work from home.
Lower Job Security
There is something about going into a physical office and seeing your boss every day that makes you feel like a valued part of a team. In a virtual office setting, it can be hard to convince your boss and your company that your work is just as valuable than the members of the team who are physically present. Of course, in a lock down setting in which everyone on the team is working remotely, this is less of a concern.
Working remotely means that you may get some face-to-face time with your boss via video chat, but none of the personal relationship that makes all of the difference when it comes to critical decisions. If you are the only one working remotely when it comes time to evaluate the strength of the team, you may come across as the weaker link. In addition, if you are working remotely while the other team members are physically in the office, it can create resentment and friction on the team.
Despite all these challenges, according to Artisan Talent, 83% of employees feel that they don’t need an office to be productive.
Here are some advantages to working from home.
No Need for Commuting
Businesses are estimated to save up to $11,000 annually if workers do not commute daily.
An average of 30 minutes is spent by every American while commuting, cashing out on fuel, car maintenance, and repair.
74% of North American office workers indicated that they would change jobs depending on the work from home policy according to a study done by Artisan Talent.
Over 50% of software developers reiterated that working at home was important while conducting a job search.
Telecommuting gives a worker the ability as to when and where they want to do their work. Not a morning or evening person? You can now choose if you want to start your day, depending on what works for you. Of course if the boss want to hold a 7h30 daily zoom stand-up, there is not a lot you can do about it.
Working from home ensures that there is a minimum to no distraction, especially from co-workers.
Telecommuters are more likely to take fewer breaks or even days off even when they feel under the weather.
Working from home makes developers happier and more productive, making them put in more hours totaling to an additional three weeks per year, according to the Air Tasker study.
Reduced Employee Turnover
Employers lose approximately $10,000 to $30,000 by losing a valuable employee and further spend thousand in training recruits.
46% of companies that embrace telecommuting say that they have encountered a reduction in employee turnover.
Physical and Spiritual Tool To Enhance Your Productivity
Deciding to work remotely may be encountered with many challenges. As such, you need to have the necessary tools and the know-how to tackle them and remain productive.
Set a schedule and be disciplined enough to follow through. Creating a routine and sticking to it as a worker will enable you to get structure, making you efficient and more focused.
Designate a Working Area
Set a working space with no distraction as they can derail you. Turn off all notifications from social media text messages and phone calls.
You can use software such as Stay Focused to eliminate social distractions.
Taking breaks in between your working schedule is recommended for productive work.
You may use methods like the Pomodoro technique, Pareto principle, or Getting Things Done to relieve pressure for a moment and come back refreshed and focused.
A To-Do List
Employees should write down what they aim at accomplishing each day by setting bi-weekly and weekly goals.
Telecommuting provides a win-win situation to both the employer and employee, although without this, the challenge will be greater to curb lazy and unmotivated workers.
Communicate regularly to make sure that progress is being made and that everyone has their hand on deck.
Working from home can sound like a dream, but it comes with its own set of challenges. By tackling these challenges head on, you can enjoy working remotely while still staying productive.