Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are slowly becoming a nation of practiced home workers. Whether we prefer it or not, there are pros and cons to working from home.
However, for this blog we will focus on the cons of home working, and what home workers can do to overcome obstacles that are blocking the path to happiness, efficiency, productivity, and maybe even good health.
We are going to be using the most accurate and real data we could possibly source… by asking our very own team what issues they’ve faced whilst working from home, and what they’ve done to solve this problem!
I guess my biggest problem (and sometimes still is) is to remember to take my breaks. Life at home is such a casual enviroment that I forget to stick to my balanced work routine. I was starting to feel really worn out by the end of the day; eyes strained and definitely feeling more tired than I probably should. I started to change this by making sure I ate breakfast before I started the working day, writing a daily list of things I need to action and incorporating my breaks around them this seems to work much better than setting a timer. I've also started putting a few bottles of water at arms length to ensure there is no excuse not to keep hydrated.
My biggest problem was the distracting noises that were coming from every direction of my home. My dad would be watching TV, my sister was having video conferences all day, and my dog would bark at various delivery drivers at the front door. This is when I learned that headphones were a blessing. I could drown out background noise with my favourite Kanye West songs… a perfect situation!
After a week or two, I began feeling quite "out of the loop" and maybe a little demotivated and insecure. So, to combat that, I've been keeping more in touch with people. I've been sending emails to various people, I sent a book review to David, for example. I chat to people a bit more on Slack and have been saying "Hi" in the morning to the group slack. Just little things so I don't feel quite so "away" from work.
We had to change around the furniture a little so the table I now work at is in the living room where I watch TV in the evenings. I initially found myself almost not being able to switch off as easily and relax in the evening because my work desk was in the corner of my eye, but I found if I shut everything off properly and tidied away my desk it made it a bit easy to switch off in the evenings and on the weekends!
I've found that routine and structure have been key in this period. I've tried to match exactly what I would do if I was in the office - getting dressed as you would to go into the office, short breaks every hour (even if it's just making a coffee) and frequent meetings to replace that face-to-face contact you'd get in the office! A walk either side of the working day also helps replace the daily commute!
As a working parent, the biggest challenge for me is trying to achieve the ideal work-life balance when there is no office to go to! With a long to do list each day it is very easy to feel overwhelmed but staying open and honest with everyone around me, including my colleagues and family, has helped me keep on top of things and add greater flexibility into my working day.
On a side note, another common issue among organisations who have employees working from home is communication. But what if you flipped the issue round and your organisation was trying to communicate too much at once? In the following video, we put 70+ members of staff in a video call to see what would happen! WARNING: HEADPHONE USERS TURN YOUR VOLUME DOWN!
So, that’s a few ways that iHASCO employees were able to navigate the pitfalls of working from home!
We’d love to know if there have been any situations where you needed to overcome an issue or disturbance since being made to work from home. If you’d like to share this with us, put it in a social media post and tag us! We’ll share our favourite posts!