Work from home may be preferred by many people, but not everyone is comfortable with it. This article highlights some major challenges faced by people working from home and provides guidance on how to overcome them, in order to boost efficiency and productivity.
No office politics, more time with family & an overall less stressful day – work from home really has some brilliant propositions. In addition to saving the hassle of the daily commute, work from home also helps you save some cash. You don’t need a wardrobe full of fancy suits, crisp dress shirts, a variety of ties, and polished shoes. Not just clothing, you also save up on fuel and other traveling costs. You have the opportunity to choose your own schedule, design your workspace according to your needs and style, work flexible hours, sit in a comfortable position, and work in your pajamas. On the other hand, work from home has several disadvantages and downsides too. Here are some major challenges faced while working from home and some brilliant ways to overcome them:
Lots of distractions
There are a lot of distractions while working from the comfort of your home. It is very easy to lose concentration on important tasks as you keep getting involved in household chores or interact with other family members.
In order to maintain concentration, you need to define your workspace. You can decide whether you want to work from your couch or set a proper table and chair but be consistent. Inform other people around you about your working hours and ensure there is no disturbance during work time. Choose a quiet area to sit in and avoid any interruptions. As a reminder for others and for your own self, you can design a custom “Do not disturb” sign and hang it on your remote workstation.
Difficulty setting objectives and fully achieving them
When in an office environment, people find it easier to set objectives. You may have a habit of coming out of the board room and deciding your daily, weekly, and monthly targets. While working from home, people get confused about setting objectives and may consider fulfilling their targets without properly listing them down.
In order to gain the best results, there should be zero compromises in setting targets. Objectives must be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Week Plan is an OKR software that works on the theme of Objectives and Key Results. It helps you set relevant goals and define key results according to your targets. This would greatly help you keep on track, every week, month, quarter, and year.
Missing out on social interaction
Most people prefer meeting face to face and have a conversation in person. People are comfortable talking to each other while seeing their expressions and hearing their tone of communication. Physical presence matters and there are people who find it difficult to interact while working remotely. Building connections, interacting with each other, knowing your team members, and working in collaboration are key for discussing creative ideas, brainstorming, and reaching valuable conclusions.
Communication is vital, in fact very vital. However, physical presence is not mandatory. There are several applications that can be used to effectively collaborate and communicate with each other. Week Plan provides great Team Features, which allow individuals to leave comments, receive notifications when a task changes, and see what other people on their team are doing. This helps maintain a collaborative and interactive environment and enables people to socialize remotely.
Technical glitches & Cybersecurity
Reaching the office every day may be undesirable due to commute time, hassle, and travel costs but things are pretty smooth once you reach the workplace. When all departments are present under the same roof, it is easier to help each other out and fix any problems incurred by colleagues. In an office space, there is a dedicated IT department and trained IT professionals working to ensure timely technical support is available for all employees. Some companies find it difficult to provide the same kind of support to employees working from home, facing frequent technical glitches. Moreover, Cybersecurity is a major concern for most employers. Organizations with sensitive data are skeptical about remote working as there are chances of data loss, disruption, and data exploitation.
In order to deal with this issue, employees should be given proper training and regular guidelines on how to protect data and fix commonly occurring glitches. A dedicated team of IT professionals should be available for technical support, as and when needed by remote employees. A strong data protection policy should be put in place and communicated to all employees. Techniques for protecting computers, networks, programs, and data from unauthorized access or attacks should be taught to employees so they can work smoothly and ensure data safety. The organization should also invest in quality technology, provide employees decent machines, laptops with proper webcam, mic, and speakers installed, and ensure stable internet connectivity.
Procrastination and the resulting panic
While working from home, many people become complacent. They procrastinate and leave tasks to be done later. As popularly said, “Tomorrow never comes”, they get stuck in a vicious cycle of tasks getting delayed. Finally, when deadlines approach, procrastinators panic. There is a situation of chaos created and several tasks left to be completed in less than the required time.
The best solution to solve this problem is to maintain a planner. A ‘To-Do List’ does wonders to stay on target and complete tasks well before deadlines. You can use Week Plan, a software designed on the principles laid in the popular book ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen Covey to help you out. It will help you mark your calendar, prioritize tasks, and stick to your ultimate plan.
Lack of immediate feedback
A common challenge faced by people working from home is the absence of immediate feedback from their teammates and managers. In an office environment, people interact more often, physically review each other’s work, and comment on how results can be further improved. There are formal, as well as casual discussions and frequent exchange of thoughts and ideas.
Feedback is crucial for personal as well as professional development, but there are several ways of gaining feedback remotely. You can share files with your team members, keep them in the loop and ask them to have a look before final submissions. Feedback is easier to give remotely, as everyone can view work done at their own convenience and put forward suggestions after careful analysis. Regular feedback should be requested from managers and work progress can be tracked via various tools and applications.
Work from home definitely has its highlights as well as issues, but by using some simple techniques and following the guidelines provided above, you can gain maximum benefit from it. Remote working will not only make life easier but if practiced correctly, will enable people to do more in less time and enjoy their work like never before.
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