A lot of us may agree that working from home provides amazing benefits to both employers and employees. Aside from having a sense of independence and flexibility, the fact that you will be working close to your family is an absolute advantage. While remote workers thrive in various industries, technology continues to be a major aid. With the majority of home-based jobs requiring an Internet connection and virtual apps to be used, such as web developers, writers, programmers, customer service representatives and others, it is crucial to stay updated with the new working trends. Can there be fewer distractions when working from home? It can be possible at some points; however, home-based workers are still not free from experiencing dilemmas while working remotely.
Working from Home: Interesting Updates and Stats You Should Know
In 2017, a post published in Benefits Canada mentioned that 47% of Canadian employees work from outside of their company offices. The post shared:
“Some 39 per cent of respondents said they mostly work from home, and 11 per cent said they work exclusively from home. Also, 54 per cent said they work remotely to remain productive while travelling to and from meetings within the same city or in other cities.”
CTVNews.ca pointed out that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more Canadian workers are now working from home. A part of the article mentioned:
“According to Statistics Canada, 40 percent of Canada’s workers found themselves working from home as pandemic lockdowns were enforced. That compares to less than 10 per cent in 2018 who had the option to work a day or two a week from home.”
Another CTV News post mentioned that more Canadians would be doing their work from home after the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because more employers have reported that their staff can effectively perform their jobs remotely.
An interesting article published by Magazine Canada (Powered by Regus) mentioned that having a flexible schedule plays an integral part in developing a work-life balance when working from home.
“Research in Canada confirms that freedom of choice linked to greater flexibility is a game-changer in work: life balance as having a flexible schedule that enables individuals to choose when their workday starts and ends is associated with slightly greater satisfaction: 79% of employees with a flexible work schedule reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance, compared with 73% of those whose schedule was not flexible”, a part of the article stated.
Common Work-from-Home Dilemmas (and how to solve them)
Every home-based worker may already be challenged by some issues while working from home. So, we’ve compiled some of the common work-from-home dilemmas and how to handle them.
#1 Working at home with children can be difficult
Just imagine having your weekly Zoom meeting with your team members. You’re already discussing your updates when your kids suddenly keep running, shouting and crying behind you. Such a situation can be embarrassing and may distract the whole team. Kids are fun to get along with; however, they can be distracting when it comes to your job.
How to Solve:
Make sure to mark your calendar for all the meetings that you will. Have a dedicated space for your workstation. This will help you keep privacy so that you can focus on your tasks. During meetings and interviews, you can have your door locked. Or, you can put a “Don’t Disturb” sign outside, so everyone knows that you should not be distracted.
#2 Keeping your workstation tidy and organized
When you are in a company office, you have that psychological thinking that you are required to follow the rules and regulations. The managers, supervisors and owners impose a sense of authority. Of course, you will not have control over what kind of office layout and workstation setup you will have. You can only have some ways on how your desk would look like. You can add some items or accessories based on your preference.
However, at home, you can be freer on setting up your workstation. You can be flexible on what kind of desk and chair you will use. Keeping your workstation tidy and organized can sometimes be more challenging. This is because you know that you are in the comfort of your own home. Sometimes, work-from-home individuals forget how important it is to keep an organized and clean workstation.
It is essential to learn how to organize your workstation to provide comfort and efficiency at work. Be aware that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the most common problems encountered by work-at-home individuals nowadays. This can lead to acquiring posture-related issues and other health problems like diabetes, cancer, headaches, cardiovascular diseases, weight issues, and musculoskeletal disorders.
How to Solve:
So, how can you avoid the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle? Choose to have an ergonomically-designed workspace. Use a standing desk that you can adjust based on your preferred height. A standing desk will also allow you to easily shift between sitting and standing, which, according to medical experts, is the main solution to the detrimental effects of sitting too much.
Consider using an ergonomic chair with lumbar support, armrest, headrest, and comfortable cushion. It is vital to use an ergonomic chair to prevent back pain and neck pain. These can lead to chronic diseases when disregarded.
You can still organize your desk- whether you want it to be minimalistic or fancy - by adding the right ergonomic accessories. For instance, an ergonomic vertical mouse can help you prevent the risk of getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, wrist pain, and other strain-related injuries.
#3 Difficulty to stay focused at work due to various distractions
Here’s the main issue when it comes to working from home. Most of us can have that ‘psychological’ thinking that we can juggle between our jobs and household chores since we are in our houses. Additional concerns are several other distractions such as animal noises, babies crying, machine sounds, and family members loudly chatting with each other. All these can make a worker fully concentrate on the tasks. Worse, when there is difficulty staying focused, the quality of the work results will be affected. The productivity level becomes lower and may even incur additional resources spent due to errors and repetitive modifications.
How to Solve:
Be clear about your tasks at work and at home. Make sure that there is a clear schedule for both. For example, if your work schedule is from 8 AM to 5 PM, make sure to work only on your work-related tasks. Household chores can be done at 6 AM and before 8 AM or after your working hours. It’s all about dedication and discipline. Learn how to set aside some tasks that are not significant and urgent.
It will also be helpful if you can inform your family members about your work schedule. Help them understand that you need their help as you adjust to the ‘new normal.’ Then, you can organize the household chores and delegate tasks among them. A sense of cooperation, unity, and industry must also be promoted.
#4 Lack of boundaries
Since you will be spending most of the time at home, some friends and family members might think that you will be very much available for gatherings and going out anytime. They might also believe that you will always be available now for emergency requests and activities. If you fall into such invitations, you may end up struggling to complete your tasks and beat your deadlines.
How to Solve:
Learn how to say “No” to sudden invitations and requests if you still have work to complete. Explain and discuss to them why you can’t make it and that you will be making it up to them once everything at work is completed. You can tell your friends and family members the days you are off at work when you are available.
#5 Technology issues
Let’s admit it. Even though digital innovations and technological breakthroughs surround us, there are still times that technology makes us down. There can be poor connections in some rural areas. A reliable and fast internet connection is a vital factor to be considered when working from home. Home-based workers can also experience power interruption and extended brownouts.
How to Solve:
Choose to have a reliable Internet Service Provider. Evaluate their plans and other services offered. Always have a backup for your Internet connection. It can be prepaid or pocket wi-fi, to make sure you will not totally lose Net connection while at work.
You can also utilize an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) device in case the power interruption happens. You can also invest in a generator to make sure you’ll have a backup power supply.
#6 Lack of communication
Unlike in the traditional office setup where you can deal face-to-face with your colleagues and managers, working from home can be different. If there’s an urgent problem or clarification about the task, you still need to send an email or chat to the team members. There are times those messages are not acknowledged earlier that you need to wait several hours or days. This instance can put your task at risk.
Although the team can conduct virtual meetings, there can be some issues that require urgent attention. There will be a feeling of isolation from a traditional working setup. This is one of the dilemmas experienced, especially if you’re not yet totally familiar with the tasks.
How to Solve:
Use project management software and turn on the notifications. Platforms such as Slack, Basecamp, Trello, Monday.com. Skype, Asana, Zoho, and others provide features for easier task delegation and communication. You can tag and notify someone regarding your concerns for prompt replies.
Conduct regular weekly and monthly meetings to update everyone about the business operations and concerns. This is also a great way to make employees feel valued, recognized, and well-taken cared for.
#7 Procrastinating may sound easy
When you’re at home, you can feel too comfortable against time. You may think you can still do some tasks later, so the tendency is you become more engaged with procrastinating. The more you procrastinate, the more tasks will be left behind—this where further issues will be created.
Besides, you may also be tempted to check your social media accounts more often. Watching videos online, reading entertainment news, and browsing over the Net can hamper productivity and work efficiency.
How to Solve:
Instill discipline in yourself to be more focused on your job. Always aim to complete the tasks earlier. Turn off notifications of your social media accounts so they will not distract you.
#8 Struggle to keep a work-life balance
Achieving a work-life balance is a usual dilemma encountered by home-based workers. There are times when they are too overwhelmed with tasks and bombarded by deadlines. It is when a worker struggles to do some personal errands and recreational activities. A work-life balance is essential to keep you motivated and inspired at work. It will also make you happier and enjoy the job you are doing.
How to Solve:
Proper time management and smart working are the keys to achieving a work-life balance. Always prioritize urgent and important tasks. There are many productivity platforms and apps nowadays that can help you become more efficient at work.
Also, it is essential to take care of yourself. The simple way of taking regular breaks at work can save you from the dangers of sitting. Have fun during your day off. Go for a trip or work on a new hobby. Your personal life also needs attention. It can improve your self-confidence and make your life’s perspective a lot better.
Establish a daily routine that will help you become more proficient in every task. However, you should not take for granted how to take care of your health. Your physical and mental health should be in good condition. Eat healthily, do exercise, meditate, and stay active.
There is always an advantage and disadvantage in everything. When it comes to working from home, aside from having the opportunity to work close to your family, you can also have the flexibility of time and workspace setup. However, there can still be issues that may make you worry. When not given ample attention, these may lead to dilemmas putting your job at risk. Make sure to identify those dilemmas, find their causes, and follow the solutions to avoid them. The tips mentioned above may seem overwhelming, but how they can help every person working from home can significantly improve results.