10 Work-From-Home Struggles Only Remote Workers Understand
For most people, working from home is the work schedule level they can’t wait to attain, and that plan is valid. However, it’s all fun and games until the work-from-home struggles start popping up, like your neighbor who decides to build a rocket ship just when you need to make a presentation.
As impressive as remote working is, work-from-home struggles can come at you fast if you’re unprepared. So if you’re looking to make a switch because of office challenges, this is a gentle nudge that struggles exist remotely too.
We promised to bring you the good, the bad and the ugly of remote working, so here are ten work-from-home struggles only remote workers understand.
You never really stop working
Although you may save time and money when you work from home, it’s easy to get caught up in using up that extra time. Research has shown that remote workers tend to log in for longer hours than their peers who work in the office. Remote workers also take fewer vacations because they can travel while working, so it gets challenging to ask for time off. As a result, you may end up always working – weekends, family functions, vacations etc. To deal with this, you can set timelines that allow you to allocate different tasks to different times and stick to them.
You have to motivate yourself internally
When the interviewer asks if you’re a self-starter, they also mean self-motivated. Working from home can become so routined and unstructured that you need to motivate yourself always. There are advantages of not having a manager breathing down your neck; however, it’s easier said than done to be your boss and instil discipline into your work all day, every day. To keep yourself motivated, you can try to have work calls, breaks, work with planners, and unwind to avoid burnout.
Family and friends may misunderstand your job
While everyone may know that you have a job and have an idea of what you do, they probably still don’t understand how you achieve all that from your house while wearing home clothes. For them, working from home makes you accessible, and they may underestimate any of your work-from-home struggles. So, while you’re dealing with explaining what you do and how to do it, remember to keep an open mind, knowing that it may be a learning curve for everyone.
Your eating habits may require an intervention
Working from the office offers you the option of having lunch breaks or grabbing meals with colleagues at certain times. However, at home, you’re in charge of your meal schedule; and on the days when you get carried away with work, there are no colleagues to persuade you to come and grab a bite. You gradually catch yourself grabbing bites at odd hours or no hours at all, and this is unhealthy. Setting alarms or reminders for mealtimes are a way to settle into the life of taking care of your feeding schedule.
Dealing with distractions
Even with a dedicated workspace and to-do lists, staying productive can get challenging and may even be one of the most common work-from-home struggles. Being surrounded by comfort scenes, chores, and personal belongings can make it harder to focus. Also, you may have to deal with family members or friends who don’t hesitate to call on you anytime. Working from home is definitely not for everyone, as people have different focusing abilities. However, being able to enforce boundaries and strictly follow your schedules are ways to deal with distractions.
You start losing your social skills
Hopefully, it doesn’t get to the point where you start talking to your pets like human beings. At first, it may be ecstatic not to have to see your co-workers every day. However, habits form quickly, and comfort in isolation isn’t a great habit to take on. You may find yourself overwhelmed from seeing more than five people in your space, or you always have nothing to say when your friends show up. So, it’s okay to show up for that party or work from a shared workspace sometimes.
A blurred line between your personal & professional life
When you work from home, you may no longer have a clear physical difference between your workspace and personal space. Your worktable might be in the bedroom or beside your dining table, gradually blurring the workspace lines and rest space. Working from home erases that mental division, causing you to find it difficult to relax. There’s almost always that ‘one last thing’ to get done.
Internet connections sometimes have a mind of their own. Other times, they conspire with your laptop to act up and throw you into a frenzy. While you may have little or no control over these issues, it’s every remote worker’s nightmare. One way to solve this is to prevent it – by having multiple internet service providers for backup purposes. Depending on how demanding and time-sensitive your tasks are, you might also need a backup laptop.
Work-from-home struggles touch various aspects of your life, and sadly, sleep patterns aren’t left out. The flexibility that comes with remote working causes most people to postpone tasks because there’s no need to wake up early to commute to work. However, this means that meeting up with deadlines may cause you to lose sleep, which can take a toll on your overall health.
Either as an entrepreneur or an employee, working from home increases your ‘alone’ time and reduces your people skills. However, networking remains a great way to stay relevant in your industry to stay involved in professional communities and become a face or brand that people won’t easily forget. So, whatever you do, don’t allow those work relationships to grow cold.
Despite these work-from-home struggles, the flexibility that comes with remote working is rewarding. It allows you to create what works for you and build on it. So, the trick is to find yourself, not lose yourself while working from home.
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