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4 Challenges Working From Home and How to Solve Them

09 November 2021

Not too long ago, working from home was a privilege afforded only to a lucky few. Over the past few decades, remote work has become far more accessible thanks to the many breakthroughs in personal computing and communications technology. As a result, remote work has increasingly grown in popularity over the past decades.

This shift towards remote work has of course been massively accelerated by the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, as many workers found themselves suddenly thrown into the world of the home office. While there are many unique benefits to home office - more flexibility, no commute, the ability to cook a proper meal in your own kitchen - not everyone finds the transition 100% smooth. Here are four of the greatest challenges that home office workers find themselves facing up against, and how to beat them!

1. The challenge: All the distractions

When your bed is less than a minute’s walk from your work desk, it’s not hard to see how getting into focus during home office could present a challenge. Lots of workers find it difficult to tune themselves out of all the creature comforts that surround them at home. All too often, tasks or curiosities around the home become fodder for distraction and procrastination, and the flexibility of home office suddenly becomes more of a liability than a benefit.

The solution: Divide work and life

With all the autonomy offered by working from home, it’s important to take personal responsibility for how you get into focus. It helps to draw clear boundaries between work and the rest of life, especially when it comes to your working space. If you find yourself easily distracted by goings-on around the house, set up a workspace specifically allocated for your working hours. Ideally, this workspace will be located in the corner of the room and free from any passing distractions. And once you’re done with work for the day, you can pack up your desk and disconnect from the working day, so as not to carry any stress from work into your recreational space. 

2. The challenge: Becoming too sedentary

One of the disadvantages of working from home is that it cuts out a lot of our daily excuses for movement. Those who once walked or cycled to work find themselves getting a lot less physical activity in their day to day lives once they make the transition to home office. In the long run, this loss of physical activity can have detrimental effects on overall health, including weight gain and weakening of the cardiovascular system. Without even realising it, remote workers can find themselves quickly developing an entirely sedentary lifestyle.

The solution: Make time for movement

Rather than sliding out of bed only to immediately sit at a desk all day, remote workers are encouraged to actively find time throughout the day to incorporate movement into their schedule. Whether this be yoga in the morning, a walk at lunch, or even some simple stretching after a long day of work - every little helps. Staying fit and active not only prevents negative health repercussions, but also improves mental focus and creativity. Maintaining an active lifestyle while working from home is guaranteed to keep both you and your work in tip-top shape.  

3. The challenge: Feeling isolated

As empowering as it may be to be able to pack up and work from any location in the world, it’s certainly not for everybody. While some people are more than content to work by themselves, there will always be those who are energised by a collaborative environment and thrive off interaction with others. For the latter type, transitioning to home office can present a real challenge to their work process and leave them feeling isolated and unsure of themselves.

The solution: Reach out and connect

Luckily, the same technological advances that have made home office possible in the first place have also borne a vast selection of communications technologies designed to allow us to connect meaningfully with others from a distance. Whether it be online conference platforms like Zoom or Google Meet, or digital workspaces such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, there really is no shortage of platforms that can help bridge the gap and allow a team to reconnect. If you’re feeling isolated from your colleagues due to working remotely, it’s important to take initiative and voice this. Together, you can find a platform that works to bring you all together to dispel any feelings of isolation.   

4. The challenge: Lack of work-life balance

One of the most widely reported challenges faced by home office workers is an inability to achieve a healthy work-life balance. This can happen in a number of ways. Some people may use their added freedom and procrastinate to the point of having to work odd and uncomfortable hours to make up for lost time. Others can’t separate themselves from work and end up finding themselves slipping into workaholism. Both can have equally damaging repercussions on both mental and physical health.

The solution: Take back control

The key to achieving work-life balance is to establish clear boundaries. These boundaries should be for both yourself and others. Something as simple as promising yourself that you will not work past a certain time can help you stay on-task and simultaneously prevent the bad habit of overworking. Drawing boundaries for others is also hugely important to maintain a work-life balance. Just because you work from home now doesn’t mean you should be expected to answer work calls and emails at any odd time of the day! Create healthy boundaries for yourself and make sure you stick to them.

 

Although the home office can present its challenges every now and again, they can all be easily overcome with a little bit of focus and readjustment. Taking a hands-on role in developing your home office lifestyle will see you thriving and making the most of your newfound freedom in no time!