The things no one tells you about working from home (and how to fix them)
Before Covid-19, working remote was like a dream come true. You could picture yourself with your laptop working on the beach or a fancy cafe and managing your schedule.
Now more than ever, people are working remote and specifically from home. From one day to the other their usual schedule changed. Some people may find it very convenient, while others might miss going to the office.
Staying at home is a need now, but working remote is definitely a trend for the future economy. And it could also be your choice, if you can successfully manage some of the drawbacks.
After experiencing it all firsthand, these are the things no-one tells you about working from home, and how to fix them.
Your still need to follow a schedule in order to improve remote working processes
Don’t let the idyllic laptop-on-the-beach pictures fool you. Working remote actually means your personal schedule will not be nearly as wide-open and flexible as you think. Even more if you work with a team!
For sure you will save a lot of commuting time and could be more flexible in terms of your lunch-time, or other appointments, but as a general rule, I prefer to define a schedule. First of all, because I work with other team members, and secondly, because I don’t want to work till midnight everyday to finish my projects.
If you’re a freelancer, you should even plan more in advance, depending on the location of your clients, the need of interaction with them and the deadlines.
Working remote means you’ll lose work/life separation
Again, ignore the photos of cozy work setups at home. Yes, there are nice perks like this, but they don’t come without a challenging schedule that follows you home. Working at the office, it’s easy to go home at the end of the day and leave the stress behind. But when you live and work in the same environment, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in work 24/7 and get stressed in turn. To prevent this, I learned to separate work and life by moving to a predetermined work spot.
When I’m working from home, I have my own office space, away from other distractions, filled with natural light. Once I leave my “office” I might check some emails or messages, but I know my personal time begins.
Once the social isolation ends, I will definitely go back to working a few days a week (at least part of the day) in some of my favorite cafes nearby.
You will lose motivation and you’ll need to find it yourself
This is something that just comes naturally with working from home for me. Influences and deadlines that are external and constant are motivating. But when that pressure is gone, it’s easy to lose track. If you’re not honest with yourself about what distracts you, the amount of time you need to complete certain tasks, and how you’re spending your time – this just won’t work for you.
Again, working with a team is a plus in terms of motivation. However, in order to be productive, we set up goals and plan ahead using a task management tool like Hibox. You can check all the pending tasks and set due dates to make sure everybody in your team is aware of what to work on each day.
You will need to learn to be a better communicator
Communication comes naturally when you’re in office: you can come to your colleague’s desk or even ask loud something to everyone if you need to…
Working from home, communication might be less fluid, and there’s more room for misunderstandings or confusions. This is why you should implement a communication and collaboration tool. A live chat is a great way to stay connected to everyone in real time, while you’re working on your own tasks.
There was a time when we actually worked together in the office, but we still used our Hibox’s group chat to have everything documented and schedule tasks if necessary.
You might feel lonely
This is one of the main drawbacks of working from home. If you don’t interact with other people, you might start feeling lonely.
There’s an obvious and booming trend these days, which is videoconferencing. By talking to other people face-to-face, communication improves instantly and you feel you’re actually with the other person.
I also recommend setting up virtual team building activities like playing an online tournament, having a common playlist, etc. Learn more about online team building activities here.
I absolutely love working from home. Once you learn how to plan your day and stay connected with your team or clients, it will also be your choice to adopt for good.