Working from home is a great way to have more freedom over your work/ life balance, but it can cause some real challenges for some people. The important thing to know, before you hot foot it back to a working office, is that there are ways to work around common WFH problems. Read on to find out about 7 of the most common reasons WFH causes challenges for home workers, and how to improve those situations:
1. You Don’t Have An Office
So many of us get stuck working on the sofa, or in bed, thinking we are living the life of luxury. In fact, we’re just heading straight for bad posture, lower productivity and issues separating work and personal life at home. Try clearing out the spare room and popping the contents into an affordable storage unit, giving yourself a good base setup (chair, desk, laptop). You can then build on this with a colour scheme, plants, better lighting etc. It’s a place that will help you to get your work done, and help you to leave work behind at the end of the day, too.
2. You’re Not Creating Boundaries
Boundaries are so important as a home worker and if you don’t have them, you will find that everything becomes one giant smush of work and home life. That includes kids running into your home office, you taking work calls during dinner with your family and perhaps sleeping in, or working late without any structure. Create boundaries that support your work and home life. Get up on time everyday, leave work in the office, turn off email notifications and clearly ask family not to come into your home office when you’re working. These boundaries are as important for them as they are for you, and your work/life balance.
3. Nothing Ever Works
One of the hardest parts of being part of the working from home movement is when things you need don’t work. The internet goes down, your laptop breaks, the heating is broken – these are all very difficult things to deal with when you’re depending on them to do your work. What you can do to counteract this is to have backup plans like a cheap backup laptop (or an older one you have kept), a dongle or similar internet device, a portable camping cooker to make hot drinks, blankets – anything that helps with things going wrong.
It is also handy to be able to get to other places like a coffee shop, small business hub, or even a friends house if you have an important work call and you know you can’t afford for things to go wrong. It may sound over the top but it does provide peace of mind knowing that when things go wrong, mostly, you can work around those hurdles and continue to get your work done.
4. You’re Perpetually Distracted
If you are perpetually distracted by pretty much everything at home, you need to think about what ‘gets you in the zone’. Many people like to use noise cancelling headphones, or the Pomodoro technique to help structure their work. You’ll also need to be strong and avoid social media or putting the TV on as not to make the situation worse. It can be hard to tackle this problem but there is always a solution, you just have to try things out to find it.
5. You’re Lonely
It is so common for people who work from home to feel lonely, but it can be remedied. One thing you can do is join accountability video calls where several people link up on a video conference and ‘work together’ to hold each other accountable (and to socialise). You can work in shared working spaces with others who are freelance/ remote workers. You can also work in a coffee shop one day a week (also great for saving money on energy bills), and perhaps bump up those social meetings with friends and family so you’re getting more time with people you love when you’re not working.
6. You’re Not Seeing The Benefits
The novelty of working in pajamas and having lunch at home soon wears off, and suddenly you’re just, working from home *shrug*. If this is why you feel working from home is not working for you, the chances are you are not reaping the rewards. Why not start to schedule things into your lunch breaks, or move your schedule around to make better use of your time? Could you work late tomorrow because a friend is free for coffee in the morning? Could you have an extended lunch break to go for a long walk whilst the weather is nice? When you work from home and especially when you freelance, you can cultivate your own perfect life around your job, but you have to build that perfect life, it won’t just happen for you.
7. You’re In The Wrong Job
Often, having to get to the office to ‘clock in’ and then leave work behind is what keeps people in jobs they hate – because it’s easy and there’s no real need to push to get it done. When you work from home you are in charge of getting up and getting the work done, and so if you hate the job it suddenly becomes obvious, because you have to make the effort to do it at home – without the distraction of colleagues, office environment, group morale etc.
If this is you, you can still enjoy your WFH life, you just need to do another job so you can enjoy your career and the freedom doing it from home provides. In this instance it isn’t the working from home, it’s the work itself.
Working From Home Can Work For You
With the tips above you can enjoy a better working from home life, it just takes a little time to find which adjustments need to be made to enable you to make the most of it. Hopefully, soon enough, you’ll enjoy exceptional work/ life balance and the very best rewards that working from home has to offer.