The switch from working in the office to working from home comes with a plethora of benefits, but working from home can create challenges that often go overlooked. Understanding that these challenges may occur and addressing them can help make your experience working from home more successful and enjoyable.
When working from home it is effective and often necessary to have a dedicated workspace. Maybe you already had an office, but for many who transition into working from home their new workspace comes at the expense of something else. For myself, it was losing my dedicated gaming space. For your household it might be that Johnny and Jimmy are gonna have to share a room now, or maybe that man cave with the Green Bay Packers beer fridge is heading to the garage. In any case, be aware that the house is going to feel and function a bit smaller.
I wouldn't say this is entirely overlooked, but I didn't expect the degree of difficulty this posed. The kids, the kitchen pantry, the TV, that Playstation controller sweetly calling your name from the living room coffee table. When working from home we are surrounded by distractions and temptations to get off task. Now I’m no foreman or CEO looking to maximize every ounce of efficiency, but I also recognize the importance of actually getting your work done. Working from home takes discipline, because the distractions are always there.
Getting rid of that strict office schedule and the daily commute is amazing right? Well, mostly. It does bring with it a new challenge of maintaining some sort of routine. If your job doesn’t have a set schedule it can be easy to fall out of a pattern, to stay up too late because you don’t have to wake up at 6AM for work tomorrow, to sleep in until noon because you can get your work done later, or whatever it may be for you. Falling out of rhythm can really hurt your performance. Another sleep challenge I encountered was that without the bustle of the office, the drive, the interactions, and the overall exhaustion, it was difficult to hit the level of tiredness I was used to when it came time for bed.
We love our families, and obviously want to spend time with them. However, the transition from heading out to work each day to being with them the entire day can be more difficult than you might anticipate. I have to constantly remind my partner that while it is true that I'm home, I am actually at work. Some of us are used to having that time away to focus on work, and some may face some struggles as they navigate their way through the transition. And let’s be honest, your spouse might just wish you were back at the office sometimes.
Social Life / Homebody
With most of your life’s activity now taking place inside your house, you might find that you’re not getting out that much. People need socialization, and people also need to get out of their bloody house now and again. It can be really easy to slowly slip into being a full-time homebody if you’re not careful, trust me. Spend some time with your friend group, join an adult sports team, participate in a book club, have weekly tea with your great aunt Bertha. I started playing weekly men's league hockey, but whatever your thing might be, be sure to walk out the front door every once in a while.
Hopefully a few of these resonate with you and help you better navigate working from home. If you have encountered other overlooked challenges working from home, I would love to learn from you as well!