Working from Home - The Most Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them?

The work landscape of many companies has changed drastically over the past decade. The culture of working from home is on the rise and employees have learnt to adapt to the new normal and deliver productivity. Regardless of its undeniable advantages to employees and employers, working from home is bound to cause certain challenges that we will have to work on.

Let’s get into the details on some of the most common challenges of working from home and how to overcome them.

Most common challenges of working from home:

1. Distraction:

Even though working from home gives the flexibility you need, it brings along with it a lot of distraction – that has the potential to deviate you from performing day to day tasks towards completion. Running errands, household chores, smart phones, social media notifications are the most common elements of distraction we all come across. Your focus gets interrupted, disrupting your workflow and you’ll be required to start all over again. This could lead to procrastination, increased stress and eventually decreased productivity.

Solution: Try to find space free of distraction and set your home office there. If that is not possible, instruct your family members about your work schedule and let them know you’ve no time for socializing – while at work. Let them know when you will be available to take care of household chores. Stay organized and set boundaries between personal and professional things – so you can eliminate distraction.

2. Communication lag:

Communication is important to keep teams engaged at work, maintain a healthy workflow and to manage deliverables. When working from home, you miss out on the chance to talk to your managers or team members face to face. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to wait for long hours to get a simple “yes or no” answer. This could lead to missed communication, delay in deliverables and eventually procrastinating tasks.

Solution: Make use of tools that are specially built to bridge communication gaps. Conduct weekly or monthly virtual team meetings to discuss the future goals, achievements, deadlines and so on. You can also try video conferencing, so your team members can interact with each other face to face similar to how it happens in an office setting.

3. Time management challenges:

With so many demands on your attention, your time management skills will be put to test - especially while working from home. If not balanced properly you’ll have a hard time to analyze, prioritize, plan and execute tasks/projects based on priority. To catch up on deadlines, you may extend hours or even work during the weekends. In spite of all these additional efforts, poor time management causes delay in deliverables, unnecessary stress and takes a toll on your productivity and morale

Solution: Whether you work from home or from the office, schedules are a must for effective time management. It is advisable to set a routine and stick to it – no matter how hard it gets. If you are working from home, choose a dedicated workspace free of distraction or noise. This will help you concentrate and complete tasks quickly – letting you wind up on time similar to how it works in a typical office setting.

4. Lack of motivation

Minimal to no social contact can make you feel lonely and unmotivated. Sometimes, we don’t get the full picture of what is going on with the projects or feel left out from the crowd. Over time it gets monotonous giving room for lack of motivation, feeling lonely and emotionally drained.

Solution: Take some time for yourself every day and try going for a walk, listening to music, spending some time with family/friends, or do something that interests you. This will help you re-energize yourself and find motivation to get your things done faster. Talk to your team members frequently and catch up on how things are – so you don’t feel left out from the crowd.

5. Poor work life balance:

Achieving work life balance has become a dream for most of us. Juggling between personal or professional commitments or working longer hours has drastically increased over the last decade. Earlier, the work schedule was confined to 8 hours a day and 5 days a week but now the entire work landscape is changed. Though most of us are aware of the importance of work-life balance, we tend to ignore the red flags until later – only to realize the adverse health issues it has caused.

Solution: Time management is the key when it comes to work-life balance. Plan your day-to-day activities (both personal/professional) and prioritize your tasks accordingly. Set boundaries for work time/personal time and hold yourself accountable to stick to it. You might have impending deadlines – but, don’t forget that a positive work-life balance has a direct impact on your productivity. Striking the right balance will help you utilize time wisely and help you stay productive.

6. Working continuously:

Few of us working from home follow the “always available” culture which makes it difficult to completely detach from work once the day is over. Always on - as in checking/responding to emails after hours, extended work hours to catch up on looming deadlines, lost productivity and so on. Over time you will start checking or anticipating work/emails from your clients. This habit will make you feel exhausted and stressed out without adequate sleep and rest. Secondly, this is one another factor that leads to poor work-life balance.

Solution: As discussed above, set boundaries between personal/professional hours and make yourself accountable to stick to it. Prioritize and complete tasks that need immediate attention – so you can wind up once your day is over. No matter what happens – teach yourself to stick to the timing and logout on time.

7. Keeping track of employee productivity:

Tracking and monitoring employee productivity becomes tricky when employees are not in close proximity when working from home or working remotely from a different location. It will be difficult to track if deadlines/targets are met or if employees need additional support/training. Lack of knowledge on how individual employees perform may not give you a clear picture of your overall team productivity.

Solution: Make use of technology to track your employee productivity. For example, Handdy employee monitoring and productivity software lets you track your employee productivity and gives you real-time data on how they spent their time during work hours. Be it your work from home or remote teams – Handdy can track employee computer activity and deliver accurate reports for you to evaluate and decide based on time stamped data.

Also Read: Advantages of working from home

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