Updated May 31, 2023
Working From Home
Working while enjoying the weather and homemade tea without hesitating about the break timing is awesome. Do all these things fascinate you too? I am sure they do. Working at home is overwhelming. No traffic hosh-posh and certainly no formal office wear. You don’t need to get up according to the alarm clock, rush to the transport or probably your car even you do not need to remember about all the things you probably have forgotten to shut off while leaving your house in a hurry.
Many organizations, big or small, and new start-ups, offer their employees to work at home. It is the third way and one of the most convenient options employers can give their employees. By opting for this, employers don’t need to be worried about hiring extra staff such as an office boy, a guard, or other supporting staff (this is completely applicable to the people who employ all freelancers, not regular employees). Considering all the benefits and employees’ interests, few of the world’s top companies offer their employees to work at home, permanently or partly. A few of the best US healthcare companies, such as Aetna, Humana, and United Healthcare Group, and MNCs like Amazon and Convergys, also allow their employees to work from home.
I understand how comfortable and cool it sounds when you hear that somebody operates their work at home. It is luxuries, but on the flip side, working outside a traditional office environment creates many challenges in front of the employee. We will discuss in detail how to cope with these situations; however, let’s first discuss what kind of consequences we face while working from home and why?-
Consequences of Working From Home
Working out of the office environment is one of the major issues that even sometimes becomes a nightmare for people working from home, which is quite understandable. Many people fight this issue by staying connected with their colleagues. When we work from the office, we follow a basic routine such as getting dressed, meeting new people (applies to some), greeting office members, and enjoying Fridays, etc. Though it does not affect our lifestyle entirely, for some, this routine is a part of their day, which makes them feel alive.
2. Bound to work even after working hours
Professionals are working from home, often likely to exceed their work hours. There can be multiple reasons behind it, but one which is considered is we don’t have to hurry to get back home and meet the family as we are already around them, so it doesn’t matter for us to exceed the working hours. However, it is only good when you are not making a habit of it. This way, you will also exceed the false expectations of your office.
3. Being overlooked for promotion
How many people do we meet in a day, and out of that number, how many do we remember by face or personality? Executives working from home are often overlooked for promotion, especially when only a few works from home in the office. This is not you don’t work hard while working from home, but when you start working from home gradually, your PR skills go down. You are not around people; neither shake hands, do not ask about their wellness, or hang out in free/break time. We don’t consider it, but these habits play a major role in your promotion.
4. Need to self-discipline
One has to be highly self-disciplined while working from home. Remember, you are surrounded by distractions or an environment where working from is not considered working for the office. Self-discipline is the only thing that can keep you up and help you be consistent. It would help if you motivated yourself to avoid distraction and keep self-control. The best way to do it is to connect yourself with your colleagues, especially your boss/manager/supervisors. You will be under the impression that they are watching. It is the easiest motivation you can opt for to keep yourself disciplined.
5. Avoiding distractions
Distractions will always be there whether you are an office worker or work from home. However, office distractions often seem easy to avoid. When you are home, you face distractions from non-avoidable sources, such as children, parents, wife/husband, pets, neighbors, and friends, among which family is something you cannot ignore under any circumstances. The only way to avoid these is to make them believe you are working. Take your break as you take in your office, let’s say, for an hour exactly. Be unavailable for interruption within work hours despite your physical presence at home, and avoid watching TV during work hours.
6. Difficulty in separating work from home duties
The temptation of being engaged in household matters. You are in front of your family, and you can’t avoid a few things, such as responding to doors when the bell rings, answering the telephone, picking up kids from school, taking care of your pet for a while, cooking something instantly and all other necessary and urgent work you can think of. These come under responsibility, and you can’t avoid them. Also, when working from home, you start realizing to do household and socializing, which is common. You must be thinking then, what should we do to avoid these? It is complex, but you must draw a line between your household, family time, and work hours. Always remember both are important, and both deserve your full attention.
Working from home is certainly not as a piece of cake as it looks. It is not for anyone. Unfortunately, you don’t understand this until you start working from home. There is one more thing I have noticed in years. Once you have worked from home for a long time, you can’t just go back to an office environment and start working. You hate wearing formal wear; you don’t like eating from your canteen’s limited menu and start avoiding traveling. Working from home is unhealthy for single people as it increases your introverted personality and creates an isolated you. That is not bad, but it is not the best either.
Tips to Boost your Productivity While Working at Home
1. Get Started Early
Starting your work early is one of the best things you can use for yourself while working from home. If you are a morning person, this will help you boost your productivity. Start working as soon as you get up or after your gym, and take a break after a few hours to prepare breakfast for yourself. This way, your mind will stay productive without interruption, at least for these beginning hours, and you can finish your work early to enjoy some time with your family.
2. Pretend like you are going to the Office
Our home is designed to provide all comfort to us, which is great for breaks and relaxing but not suitable for work. If you start your career in your pajamas, you would most likely feel sleepy or start having a feeling of weekend mornings. I am not saying here to get up strictly according to your alarm clock, go straight to the shower, and wear a formal shirt, pant-tie, etc. this way, you will miss the advantage part, but the best way to start your work hours is to take a shower get into the semi-work dress code and flip your mind switch from home mode to work mode.
3. Organize your Work Space
Organizing your workspace is one of the most important things when working from home. Remember, you can work from home, but that doesn’t mean you can work from your bed. Stay away from all the possible furniture that makes you lazy. Design your work area with some manuals, pictures, memos, etc., whatever gives you the feeling of office. Keep essential items like a table and chair, table lamp, pinboard, and a poster full of motivational quotes. It would help to keep yourself out of your home’s comfort zone. One more thing, design your workplace a bit away from the living room and TV.
4. Communication is Essential
Communication with your colleagues is essential. Since you are not in your office and stopping by your colleague’s desks to learn about the new projects and updates about your office, you need to stay in touch with them to be updated about these. You can use many professional and casual tools, such as email, messaging, calls, and video calls, to give them a nudge to ask about the latest updates about the office. Messaging and video call options are best for discussing meetings and group conversations.
5. Stay Focused
Minimize all possible distractions. I understand you are home. You have all the liberties like creating a rock playlist or unlimited surfing on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and using all other restrictive websites. Still, you do not want to become a Dj or a social media manager, would you? Make conscious efforts to limit the use of these tools during your work hours. Apart from that, there are some uninvited distractions that you can’t possibly avoid at an early stage, like pets, children, and a visitor.
A quick chat with children is always fine or pat, but a dog in your lap or your family standing behind your desk and probably making plans for dinner or next weekend will surely impede your productivity. It would help if you made your family, especially children, understand your work’s seriousness and be free to attend to only some visitors you have.
6. Eat Healthy Stay Healthy
Eat healthy food. Your kitchen will be close at hand, but nobody gets time to cook lunch during work, but that doesn’t mean you need to survive on chips. You won’t have your colleagues to remind you or take you out for lunch, so it is your task to remind yourself to drink water or have food. You can make a schedule and set a reminder for lunch. Enrich your lunch with salads and natural energy drinks instead of caffeine drinks. You can also divide your lunch into three sections to eat in short intervals.
7. Take Necessary Breaks
You will read a contradictory sentence with whatever I have discussed above. It is very much important to take a break during your productivity time. This way, you will increase your concentration on your work. Research has shown that the most productive workers focus for 52 minutes and then disengage for at least 15-17 minutes. It works as a mind refreshment, and you start working with a less tired mind when you return to work. By saying ‘take a break’, I mean leaving your chair, laptop/computer, and phone at your desk for 15 minutes. Stretch your body, drink plenty of water, and walk around, then come back and start working.
8. Don’t Forget to Enjoy your Liberty
Despite all consequences, there are also many advantages to working from home. One of the most interesting things about working from home is you do not need to limit yourself to office space. You can work in a café or beach, somewhere in the mountains, from your terrace, or from a friend’s home you did not visit for a long time. It would help if you were adaptable to the changes. You are working from home doesn’t mean you need to be a couch potato. Plan your office and work from there. Be happy about your surroundings; I am certain this will increase your work productivity.
Here are some articles that will help you get more detail about working from home, so just go through the link.