The life of a work-from-home worker does undeniably have its benefits. You don't have the normal distractions of a physical work environment. No "water-cooler" talks from co-workers. No commute. In many cases, the ability to work your own hours and work in the way that best suits you. There’s a definite future to be had working from home.
Whether you’ve been working from home for a while now or you’ve recently started due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll already be aware that while home working has its pros, it also has its cons. If you’re not mindful of these pitfalls, they could be costly and can easily ruin what is otherwise a truly positive work experience.
Today, we’re going to go through some of the key mistakes, dangers, and stumbling blocks all work-from-homer's need to be aware of and avoid, helping you stay happy, healthy, productive, and making the most of this modern work space.
Working Too Much and Burning Out
When you work in a physical office, it’s easy to work your assigned hours. You go in at 9:00AM and leave for home at 5:00PM. Easy peasy. However, when you’re working at home, it’s much easier to blend the boundaries of your working hours, especially when you’re working for yourself.
Just finishing a report or putting together a presentation, it’s easy to get carried away. Or tackling more projects that you’ve been needing too because you have more time to do more. Although, you should feel extremely accomplished being able to balance your mental capacity is important too.
When working from home, you need to make sure you’re creating strict working boundaries for yourself. Work set hours and remember to switch off and have some downtime. Otherwise, you’ll risk burning out. A good tip is when it’s dinner time it’s time to call it “done” for the day.
Failing to Prioritize Work
Hand in hand with the consideration above, most of the time you don’t want to work hard, you’ll want to be working smart instead. When it comes to managing your workloads, you need to make sure you’re self-motivated and tackling your to-do list in the most effective way.
For example, you should tackle your hardest jobs at the beginning of the day when you have the clearest and most focused mind with energy, and then as the day goes on, you can start completing the simpler tasks. You can also prioritize your work by only making sure you’re tackling a certain number of tasks each day, rather than managing your time, manage your energy.
Allowing Yourself to Be Distracted
Just as working in an office comes with its own range of distractions, there’s also interruptions while you’re at home (it’s just different things). Whether they come from the TV, your computer, your phone, Netflix, your partner, and children, or an Amazon delivery that needs signing for, it’s easy to get lost in it all.
“The best way to overcome this is to set up a dedicated space in your home for work. This way, people know that if you’re in this room or space, you can’t be disturbed, and you’ll be left to your work. Try to minimize the type of distractions you bring on yourself, such as leaving your phone into another room if you don’t need it and using a focus app to block potentially distracting websites like Facebook or YouTube,” shares Nina Farrow, a freelance writer at Draft beyond and Last minute writing.
Becoming Lonely (Lacking Social Interaction)
Working from home can be a very time-consuming way of working, and it’s vital to make sure you’re proactive in making sure you spend time with your family and put effort into your personal relationships. If you’re working from home, you may want to carve out family game nights, have bi-weekly chats with friends, and even set up a virtual meeting to have "coffee talk" on a weekly basis with your close co-workers. It can make a big difference.
Developing Poor Health Habits
When you’re working at home, chances are you’re working at a computer, which means it’s straightforward to fall into the trap of living a very sedentary lifestyle. For me, with the fridge only in the other room, everything I need to work on my desk, and my bedroom 23 steps away, there are some days where I can do little under 200 steps a day.
That’s a far cry from the recommended 10,000 steps, and this is not going to be good for your health.
Make sure you’re taking the necessary time to be active and live a healthy lifestyle. Try to aim to go for a long walk or two short walks a day, even if you’re only going to the mailbox and back. You can do an online workout during your lunch hour to make sure you’re using all your muscles. Also, doing yoga can be a great way to start your work mornings. You can also be creative with friends and have an activity challenge in your squad (like who can run 1 mile the fastest).
Maintain a Routine
“One of the hardest to maintain and most common pitfalls of working at home comes in the form of not keeping a routine. This is easy if you work elsewhere because you simply follow their routine, but working from home gives you the freedom to work whenever and however you want,” explains Nick Turner, a business blogger at Writinity and Researchpapersuk.
If you don’t have a routine, your day-to-day life is going to get messy very quickly. You’ll find yourself getting super tired because you haven’t got a proper sleeping pattern, and you’ll find yourself distracted, experiencing lower productivity, and getting less work done! It’s a vicious cycle and simply not ideal. So how do you break this pattern?
The best way to maintain a routine is to keep up with your daily habits. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time every time, making sure you get dressed every morning and not just stay in your pajamas all day as this keeps your brain in an unproductive state of mind, and looking after yourself, like working out regularly and eating throughout the day rather than snacking.
By looking after yourself and putting your self-care first and creating a schedule and plan that works for you, and following these tips, you can make the most out of the work-from-home experience, avoiding any potential problems and getting the most done! Also, you can use your work tools such as your Google Calendar and schedule out your days. This helps too!
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Teach Me More About Remote Work
Are you running a remote team? You can learn more about the most influential tips and tools to make working remotely work. Read A Complete Guide to Working Remotely.