The abrupt closure of many offices brought a new era of remote work and it seems this trend is here to stay even after COVID-19 becomes history.
1. How Coronavirus Has Changed The Workplace
Companies realized that they can function and operate digitally, saving a lot of money from rent and utilities as their employees work from home. After Covid-19 started its relentless march across the globe, 71% of those workers are now doing their job from home all or most of the time. More than half say, given a choice, they would want to keep working from home even after the pandemic, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Teleworkers are relying heavily on video conferencing as a substitute for in-person contact as they keep in touch with co-workers and clients, and there’s no evidence of any “Zoom fatigue”.
However, 42% of workers ages 18 to 49 say this has been difficult for them compared with only 20% of workers 50 and older. Half of parents with children younger than 18 who are working at home all or most of the time say it’s been very challenging for them to be able to get their work done.
Employed adults with higher educational attainment and incomes are most likely to say their work can be done from home, but that doesn’t mean that working from home doesn’t come with its fair share of struggles.
2. Working From Home Struggles,
The truth is that shifting from an office-based environment to working from home full time, even if only temporarily, takes some getting used to. Although everyone’s experience with remote work is different, here are a few of the common struggles people face when working from home.
Unplugging from work
The lack of physical separation between work and home makes it challenging for our minds to switch off the work mode and many find themselves having difficulties logging off.
This may be less of an issue for those who have other household members, but we still get to lose precious interactions with our colleagues that we took for granted. At the end of the day, even desk/lunch break chatter is a form of team-building.
Not being able to communicate an issue straight away when it arises, like when in the office, can waste you a lot of time. By having only scheduled calls, the increase of miscommunication increases significantly. You are also forced to repeat the same thing several times as not everyone is around to hear you.
You might not have colleagues coming to your desk, but you have the fridge, your TV, house chores and your household members to distract you.
Internet connection is something most remote workers struggle with when working from coffee shops or other public places. Unfortunately, it is also something that remote workers face at home as you don’t have the IT support in your buidling to come your rescue.
Increased utility bill
You will be using a lot more energy so your utility bills will undoubtedly go up. It would be wise to research electric suppliers in your area to find an affordable rate to lower your monthly bill as the deal you had might no longer work for you.
At the home office, it’s easy for you to become your own worst enemy and the best thing you can do is turn your enemy into a friend.
Get started early
The transition from your pillow to your computer can be challenging so simply getting started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day so you don’t allow sluggishness to take over. You need to pretend you are actually going the office and some remote workers do it by getting fully ready as if they truly were.
Establish a routine
When working from home, you’re your own personal manager. You can get tasks done faster at home than at work, all you need is a structure to help keep you stay focused and productive.
Dedicate a space to your home office
It could be a certain table, chair that helps you get into the right frame of mind.
Work when you are most productive
You were given the gift of flexibility so use it by tailoring your schedule around your most productive periods of the day.
Communicate boundaries clearly
Just like you need to clarify to your colleagues that you won’t be available outside working hours, you also need to ensure your household members respect your working hours.
Working remotely is great, as it often comes with the flexibility of working when you want, saving you time on your commute, and with fewer work distractions. However, remote work also comes with its own set of obstacles. But, your biggest enemy is you so all it takes is to turn yourself into a friend by maximizing the benefits of remote work while ensuring you avoid the possible setbacks.