COVID 19 has completely changed how the world works — literally.
Social distancing standards have more people telecommuting than ever before. For over a month the country has been under quarantine.
Many of us are exiting the “honeymoon” phase of remote work and realizing that it comes with its own unique set of challenges. With no clear end to this crisis in sight, it is important to confront these issues.
Especially because studies show many companies are making remote work more permanent ( Buffer.com/state-of-remote-work).
Even if you won’t be working from home permanently, this probably won’t be the last time you work remotely. Now is a good time to gain a better understanding of how you can be the most productive throughout your day.
Let’s look at potential problems you may face working from home and ways to handle them.
Working from Home: Potential Problems and Solutions
Problem: Your Work Environment Has Changed
You’ve been thrown into an environment that mixes home/leisure life with work/business life. There will be more distractions. Especially, if you are sharing your space with a significant other or roommate.
Solution: Set Up A Work Space and Set Boundaries
The best way to stay productive and not get distracted by this change is to create a dedicated workspace. If you have a home office, then you will have an easier time at this.
If you don’t then try and make a section of one of your rooms into a home office. Set if up to your liking, but make sure it is in a way that will allow you to focus on work.
Ask your company for certain equipment you need to be efficient and comfortable. More likely than not they will provide what you ask for (extra monitor, cables, keyboard, and mouse, etc.).
If you have roommates make sure to set up boundaries. Let them know that you need a distraction-free environment for a set number of hours. Playing music while you and your roommates work is a good way to stay focused and cut down on the chatter.
The key here is communication. Make sure there is a general understanding of what kind of environment is needed to remain productive.
Problem: Your Morning Routine is All Over the Place
Who’s morning routine has been destroyed because of this crisis?
Without the need to change out of your pj’s and take a shower anymore, it is easy to slip into a bad morning routine.
A bad morning routine can lead to a less productive day.
Solution: Try and Keep the Same Routine You Had Before
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t dress comfortably and take advantage of working from home. You should find a good in-between that lets you stay comfortable, while at the same time mentally getting yourself ready for a workday.
Part of this comes from understanding what you need to do mentally to get yourself ready. Try and stay true to the same morning routine you had before you started working from home. It will help get in the right state of mind to start work.
Using your morning to plan out your day might be a good addition to your routine. Get a general idea of what needs to be accomplished. You are more likely to finish your work if you write out what needs to be done.
Problem: Going Stir Crazy
Another issue you may come across is feeling cooped up from being inside too long. You might start to have trouble focusing and even feeling anxious. This is commonly known as going stir crazy.
Solution: Take Time to Go Outside and Excercise
Exercise is a great way to combat this feeling and get yourself out of the house. Remember you are entitled to a one hour lunch and two fifteen-minute breaks a day.
Try and use this time to walk away from your computer screen and get some fresh air.
Whether you just go on a stroll through your neighborhood or get in a quick workout, doing some kind of physical activity will positively affect your work.
You will be able to focus better when you are working if you take these breaks.
Problem: Feeling Disconnected from Coworkers/Manager
It is common to feel lonely or disconnected from your fellow employees or manager when you are working virtually.
That’s because it requires a lot more coordination to set up times to meet. On top of that, there are not really any opportunities for small talk.
Maybe a big part of your companies culture was to discuss work in a more informal setting in the break room.
Whatever it maybe you need to adapt to your new environment and find ways to stay connected with the people at your company.
Solution: Plan Out More Time for Informal and Formal Meetings
For productivity sake, you need to make sure you are scheduling enough meetings to stay on the same page as your team.
It will definitely be an adjustment and everyone’s time is precious. It is going to take more of an effort from everyone to keep reaching out to stay in the loop.
Make time to still talk and communicate with your co-workers about things outside work too. The beginning and end of meetings are a good time to catch up on how the other is doing.
Interactions like these may seem small, but it does a lot to keep a team together and motivated.
Problem: Bad Internet Connection
Your internet connection is now the lifeblood of your business. Without it you can’t work. Don’t overlook this major detail just because your internet is working now.
Solution: Have a Basic Understanding of Your Internet Plan and Check Your Speed
Have an understanding of your internet plan and how much upload/download speed you should be getting. There are a bunch of different apps that you can download that will tell you how fast your internet is running.
Test it out for a week and compare that with how fast it should be running based on your provider’s plan.
If you find it to be consistently lower than what is being promised to you, then you should contact your provider and voice your concerns.
You may want to consider upgrading your plan if working at home is going to be more long term.
As you can see, working from home does come with its own set of problems.
Find out what works for you. Don’t get discouraged if you are having trouble focusing or feel isolated. Continue to tweak and refine your routine and eventually you will get back to your full form.
Check out this article that has tips to help you stop procrastinating https://gettinstarted.com/struggle-with-procrastination-how-you-can-declutter-your-mind/.