Work from home seems like a sweet concept, right? Just lounging about in your previous day’s clothes, lugging your laptop from one room to the next and generally having a swell time.
This is the case until reality sets in. The inability to work through your housemates’ endless noise and your neighbour’s noisy generator and the screaming megaphone somewhere nearby (worse, if said housemates are kids who know next to nothing about quiet play). The impossibility of working for at least 30 minutes without going to your phone or getting up to find something to munch. The constant late nights spent trying to catch up with deadlines. The burnout from the monotony of sitting at a desk. The unhealthy habits that sedentary living can cause.
Should we continue? We’re sure you can add to this list.
This style of working has come to stay, and the future of work is fast becoming remote. The typical Nigerian workplace is preparing to have a hybrid workplace- where some staff work from home and others work on-site. If you fall on the end that stays home to work, the social, psychological and physical aspects of working from home are something to pay attention to.
So, we’ll examine the benefits of working from home and the aspects that need to be consciously tended to.
The Benefits of working from Home
Focusing is not too difficult if you’re majorly alone. It’s easy to get much done if you’re a person who is self-motivated and doesn’t need constant supervision. You can tune out all the noise of work and social media and get things done faster than you would in an on-site location with other workers. The ability to focus varies from person to person. Obstacles to achieving concentration are both internal and external. Externally, working from home is an advantage. But internally, it depends on your personal abilities. All this is to say, understand your capabilities before deciding to work from home.
Working from home, you have more time for other aspects of your life. You can spend more time with friends, spouses, children, and even yourself. You also have the time to focus on sports, a hobby, a second income stream, reading, a club- the list is endless. All these improve your productivity.
You have greater time to focus on your mental and physical health. Workplace pressure is greatly reduced, the stress of commuting vanishes, lowering your stress levels and blood sugar
You spend less fueling the car, buying lunch or transport fare, or miscellaneous expenses. More money to spend on other things.
These are just a few benefits of working from home. On the flip side, there are productivity issues to working from home and here are helpful ways to overcome them and work successfully.
Challenges when working from home and how to overcome them
This is a stage everybody-even those in the office- tries to avoid. Burnout is that stage of exhaustion because of prolonged and often unresolved stress. Such things can be physical, mental, emotional. And many times, it can greatly affect your productivity at work. The solution To burnout is balance-where you adopt healthy habits and lifestyles to balance out the hours you spend working. At home, this is a challenge because now your home and work lives are in danger of being moulded together such that you are not too sure where one starts and ends. In 2020, studies show that there was a 24% increase in online searches for “signs of burnout”.
A way to avoid burnout is not just a one-time approach. Building better work habits like setting definite times for starting and ending work, reducing interferences in your schedule by setting targets and pushing away distractions. Many productivity tools exist that can help with productivity such as the Pomodoro technique.
Working during your most productive hours, taking regular breaks to either nap or do other things help to refresh your mind on the job. Cultivating healthy work habits encourage productivity and make your working hours less tedious. These suggestions are general ones. More specific solutions can be derived by studying yourself and discovering those habits that affect your productivity.
Organization seems like a far-fetched thing when one works from home. But a schedule can save you from trouble with deadlines and quality of work. The following tips can help with getting you organized;
Setting up a workstation;
It is difficult to stay focused working in front of the TV or everywhere in the house. Not having a definite corner where you can concentrate on work means that this is a space everyone can come into, disrupt your files and other important gadgets, and conversation can just float around your ears. Usually, the distraction makes it difficult to get any work done. You need a quiet corner where you can go into, concentrate and work effectively. You may be unable to have office furniture, but just ensure the ambience is conducive for you to work in. Ensure your workstation is clutter-free and you can work through it
Have a daily plan- and stick to it!
Ah, our old enemy, the To-Do list. The list where we write a bunch of things to do that never get done. We know how hard that is, working from home ourselves, but we have noticed that the satisfaction of crossing an item off as done is unparalleled. Having your tasks arranged according to priority will help you do the urgent ones first and tackle the not-so-urgent ones later. Using apps such as Trello, todoist, etc. can help achieve organization online.
Yeah, there is room for little uncertainties, but always come back to the list and do your utmost to cross off as much as you can.
Set a start and closing time and stick to it
Not much to say here, but having these set hours can save you the unnecessary stress of doing the right things at the wrong time.
Take regular breaks
Remember when you were in secondary school and you had break times? Some had long breaks and short breaks, others had only one break period. Can you remember how you felt after such breaks? Relaxed and ready to continue learning. Breaks are really important, so take them often while working.
3. Social & Health Challenges
These two are really defining challenges that can negatively affect your productivity while working from home. It helps to ensure that you cultivate and maintain healthy habits. The need for healthy lifestyles was highly ignored. Thankfully that narrative is changing and many are starting to realize the need for mental breaks from work and other stressors. they either do this by exercising or participating in a relaxing activity, and this is a laudable health improvement. If you haven’t got the money to register in a gym and other things, then a brisk walk around outside for at least 10 minutes will do a world of good in resetting your health.
Socially, taking time off work to interact with family, friends and neighbours proves to relieve your head of tension. And your mental outlook improves as well. If staying at home all the time proves detrimental to your health, consider a co-working space, or sharing a space with a buddy who also works from home. You could break up the drudgery by going out to exciting places once a week, or for two weeks. This helps with refreshing your mind’s eye and it could make great inspiration for work sometimes.
The above three are in no way exhaustive challenges to surmount in successfully working from home, but they have the heaviest impact of successfully working from home. Many of the successes you will achieve while working from home rely on your ability to make a schedule or a plan and stick to it. This does not mean flexibility is not a good idea. But allow for flexibility within certain boundaries. Have work times you will not compromise on, or certain distractions you will not entertain, or certain routine relaxations you will not skip. Staying the course is not the easiest thing, but it is the most rewarding in the long run. Talk to us about any issues you have getting organized here, let’s support to you!