Working from home is not as easy as it seems. The misconception that those who work from home have it easy is just that — a misconception.
Like any job, it is still laden with challenges that don’t just go with the job and the new environment you find yourself in. It might sound strange that working at home — a place that you’re very familiar and comfortable with, one you’re in complete control of — is one of the main challenges of working remotely.
But alas, that is the reality remote workers — whether employed or self-employed — face every day.
Working round the clock
One of the main reasons why a lot of people are doubtful about remote work is they think that people will slack off and not get anything done because there are no supervisors or managers to keep a close eye on them.
The opposite is actually true. When you work from home, the risk of overworking is a lot higher compared to working in an office setting because tangible boundaries are not present. When both work and personal lives are under one roof, it is hard to distinguish where one ends, and the other begins.
The only way to get around this is to create boundaries to remind you of your limits. Set a definite start and end time for your work and log off once your workday is done. If you don’t have an office at home, put away your laptop and other work stuff and only get back to them on the next working day.
Getting work done
When one works at an office, it is easier to be productive because of several factors. You have your boss and colleagues that constantly look over your shoulder. You have a dedicated work station with everything you will need for work within arm’s reach. You have a specific time to clock in and clock out. All of these allow you to stay focused the whole day.
Remote workers find it hard to concentrate on their tasks and prioritize things because of the many distractions surrounding them at home. Remote workers tend to go around the clock because they’re having difficulty managing their time and tuning out distractions.
Just like in the first point, a dedicated office space or work area can help you get in the zone when you’re at work. Once you’ve already logged in, get rid of all the distractions and take on the most important tasks of the day first. This way, you’re left with the easier tasks for the rest of the day. You can end your shift on a high note because you came, saw, and conquered it at work.
Lack of technical support
One of the disadvantages of working from home is minimal resources on hand. This matters a lot, especially when it comes to the technical aspects of the job. Since remote work involves technology, it’s hard to work with minimal technical support. Something as simple as retrieving Office backup files might be too complicated for some people, depending on their hardware and software at home or their internet connectivity.
When it comes to this aspect of work, always have a back-up plan. Whether it has to do with your hardware or intermittent internet connection or you’re experiencing glitches with your app, make sure you have contingency plans in place for each problem. It would also be handy if you can directly call someone who can walk you through some troubleshooting procedures.
Feelings of isolation and loneliness
When you’re used to having many people around you when you’re working, you will definitely get culture shocked when you start working from home. Feelings of isolation and loneliness are not uncommon with remote workers. It gets pretty bad at the onset, but you either get used to it or you adapt.
Even with the different communications tools and platforms that you use for work, cabin fever is inevitable. But you can do something about it to minimize feeling like you’ve been cut off from the rest of the world.
You can include social breaks in your daily schedule. Take an hour or two off to go have lunch or coffee with a friend and then come back home to continue your work. Perhaps you can set appointments outside at the end of your working day. This will surely motivate you to finish your work early. You can also get some work done once or twice a week at a coffee shop where you can still interact with some folks while you’re working on your tasks.
So you see, working from home comes with the same challenges and brand-new challenges that office-based workers would not want to encounter. The next time you hear someone transitioning to remote work, give them a pat on the back and a word of encouragement instead of just saying they’ve got it easy because it is anything but easy.