The advent of the pandemic has transformed the way we work forever, and it seems a complete return to the office may no longer be for the best now, with remote working and hybrid work models shaping the future of work. However, although working from home is the ideal arrangement during these trying times, that does not necessarily mean it is suitable for all working individuals.
Many professionals who have taken their work back to their homes have experienced challenges with a remote working arrangement, whether or not it is to their preferences. From lack of direct supervision to the absence of social contact with colleagues, these widespread obstacles combined pose a threat to an employee’s performance and productivity. Thankfully, these problems are not without solutions, and below, we discuss 5 of the most common work from home woes and ways to overcome them.
Managing your time and schedule
At first, having the freedom to manage your own schedule may seem wonderful, but in reality, it is far more challenging in the context of working from home. This is not because one must come up with a proper work schedule for the job, but more so on the need to have enough discipline to manage one’s time correctly. Without being in an office environment or under the watchful eye of supervisors, discipline is the only thing preventing the risk of procrastination or from indulging in way too many breaks.
To build enough discipline, you can consider creating a fixed timetable for your work hours in a day and always stick to it － no questions asked. Humans are creatures of habit, and our brains and bodies work best when following a routine, which means having a conventional, albeit personal, schedule when working from home makes you more productive.
Not being able to switch off the working mindset
A glaring problem with bringing work back home is that it is all too easy for one’s working life and personal life to mesh together and blur the lines between both. As a result, employees find it far more difficult to relax than before and switch off their working mindset well after working hours, leading to their work-life balance in disarray and reducing opportunities to destress.
The quick and simple method to overcome this issue is by physically separating work from the rest of your home. This can be achieved by dedicating a small space for a home office where all your work takes place and nowhere else, or by working elsewhere, such as in coworking spaces or investing in a single office space for rent. Creating physical boundaries serves to keep your work and private life separate, just like when you still commuted to the office before.
Professionals living with others at home or in a high-traffic urban area are likely to be met with distractions day in and day out, from family members to the neighbour’s noisy pets. Moreover, signs of undone chores and other to-dos may keep you from focusing exclusively on the task in front of you.
Getting away from such distractions can be achieved by following the same solution above － working in a quiet space away from all disturbances. If working in a home office, it would be best to keep the door closed and inform your co-inhabitants to only interrupt your work in the event of an emergency. Otherwise, consider investing in a pair of noise-cancelling and noise-isolating headphones to completely block out the sounds of the outside world, whether you are working at home or in another location.
Communication and coordination problems
Communicating and coordinating productively between coworkers and clients is already challenging enough face-to-face. The addition of physical distance only makes things more challenging to get everyone on the same page. Since humans tend to rely on non-verbal communication when interacting with others, the lack of it in today’s online channels like email and even video calls often removes much of the nuances in the way we communicate and leads to confusion and misunderstandings.
To get around this issue, it is highly recommended to use the best communication platform to facilitate communication with the team. If the current one being used proves insufficient, inform your superiors about what is lacking. Additionally, it is good to always confirm tasks and priorities prior to completing them for verification. More often than not, virtual communication leaves lots of room for ambiguity, so confirming one’s work before starting ensures you get things right the first time.
Working alone at home for weeks or months on end can take a toll on some people. As social animals, we require interaction with others, even if it is just a few minutes of small talk with colleagues during a coffee break. Although video conferencing helps relieve some of that loneliness, many would agree it is not just the same as conversing with another face-to-face.
Thus, if you do not get the social interaction you need at work, it is best to get it elsewhere. Friends, family, and social groups that share your interests are only a few of the many options available to get your social fix. It might be a good idea to reach out to those you wish to spend time with after work and suggest activities with respect to the COVID-19 precautions of your area. Alternatively, you can also choose to do your work elsewhere with plenty of people, such as office spaces for rent, coffee shops, or libraries.
Adapting to a different working arrangement takes time and effort, and it cannot be achieved overnight. Given that remote working is poised to be the norm for the foreseeable future, it is best to get used to its shortcomings and find ways to solve them.
At GreenHub Singapore, we offer modern and sanitised coworking office spaces for lease that address many of the problems prevalent in a work-from-home setup. With our community of professionals to work alongside and a clean, modern, and green environment that promotes your wellness and productivity, stepping up your performance is one subscription away. To learn more details on our furnished office spaces, give us a call at +65 6692 8000.