As a person who has been working from home for the last six months, my life was not that much changed when Governments around the world announced lockdown a few months back due to the global pandemic. Instead, I was quite intrigued by the idea that now I could share my dilemmas with my friends, and they would understand the challenges I face while working from home.
While the idea of working remotely from the comfort of your home may sound fascinating in the beginning, my short experience has taught me a lot. By adopting trial and error methods, I have been able to divide my work time and my family time, but every day is not the same, and every night feels like returning from a battle. Shuffling my time back and forth between the domestic housework and Zoom meetings, I have to say that working from home would only be possible if we learn to draw a line. A line between what is professional and what is not, when can somebody call you and cannot, your health and screen hours, and work-life and personal space.
Is working from home more productive? Research says no. According to a study, remote workers work 1.4 more days than their work from home colleagues, with 29% of employees admitting to struggling with work-life balance, and 31% needed to take a day off for mental health. Let us dive into some of the challenges we are facing while working from home during this global pandemic.
1. Isolation: Feeling isolated is a major problem for employees who work from home. Not being able to converse with colleagues, or brainstorm ideas or presentations in a group setting can create a lack of confidence and affect the overall productivity.
2. Miscommunication: The phenomenon of millions of employees working from home during this COVID-19 pandemic has only been possible due to technology. Technological advancements have made online work from home a smooth experience in theory, but in practicality, it has created miscommunications and misjudgments amidst the workforce. Most employees are struggling to communicate their questions or problems or across digital platforms, and the projects are lacking the transparency it needs for successful, timely completion.
3. No personal life: The work-and-life balance has been affected dramatically by the mass online work from home experiment. People who thought that work from home meant more time to spend with friends and family are nor hugely disappointed with the lack of personal space. With undecided hours and lack of focus, enjoying quality time with your family has become next to impossible.
A definitive solution to this problem can be maintaining a strict work hour schedule and a separate workspace for yourself, but only time will tell how quickly we can adjust to our new surroundings.
4. Difficulty in adjusting: After working on my laptop while lying around in my bed for the first two months, I slowly understood that I was going down a dark path. Feeling tired all day long, not getting adequate sleep, straining eyes, and hands, all were a clear warning of the fact that I was losing my normal life.
To adjust to a new schedule and trick my body into thinking that I was working at an office, I arranged a separate “work-room” for myself. Keeping my laptop up and running, while working on a proper desk and an easy chair, has increased my productivity to a great extent.
Now, every morning, I can easily detach myself from my personal life, and work from an isolated room, and take short breaks to rejuvenate myself. Remember, work from home is not easier than working from the office, it should be the same, and the same rules apply to both of them.
5. Lack of focus: Thanks to various social apps, companies are working towards increased productivity with maximum utilization of resources. However, being logged in to management apps or social sites to keep our projects updated all the time can turn out to be hectic.
Micro-management by several IT companies has become a major contributor to lack of focus, which in turn decreases productivity. Incoherent or muddled administration is a major problem faced by employees who work remotely.
While working from home does have its advantages and perks, the human mind needs time to adjust to anything new and unknown. Most probably, in the following days, we may come up with innovative solutions to all our work from home challenges; social distancing is the need of the hour, and the work from home is thus, a necessity for now.