Are you one of the millions of people who have suddenly found themselves engaging in the world of online or remote work? We’re officially living in the age of social distancing, and that means more of us are going virtual than ever before. Working from home can be powerful and freeing, but it can be frustrating too. If you’ve found yourself down, frazzled or otherwise burnt-out with your new working circumstances — don’t despair. You can take charge and get productive again with a little perseverance and know how.
Don’t let the stark new professional realities hold you back from achieving the things you need to achieve. Take charge of your work-from-home routine and get back on track to scoring the wins that can help you feel as though you are still a part of it all. Though it seems the world has stopped turning…it hasn’t. Time marches on and so do we. You can allow yourself to get beat down, or you can take this new opportunity to learn more about yourself and your coworkers than you ever knew before. All it takes is getting creative and putting your nose to the grindstone.
When remote work isn’t what you imagined it to be.
It’s a strange time to be alive and it seems to be getting stranger by the day. Chiefly among the new changes we’re all experiencing is a new surge in the need to work from home. More people are working remotely than ever, but the reality of that can be quite shocking or anxiety-inducing when you aren’t used to it. Despite what we might think, working from home isn’t all pajamas and cuddly coffees. It’s hard work, and there’s a lot of distraction to overcome.
When you work from home, not only are you forced to deal with the normal pressures of a work day — you also have to deal with the pressures of your normal living environment. Working from home means working with kids and pets and partners in-tow. It also means keeping strange hours or working from strange equipment in strange places.
If you’re struggling to work from home, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world are finding themselves taking a deep dive into the world of work-from-home, and many are struggling to make the jump between the physical work place and the virtual one. You can get pas the aggravation and get yourself back into productivity, but it takes willpower and it takes a lot of creativity. There’s no right or wrong way to stay focused. The only thing you can do wrong is to keep pursuing paths that don’t work.
The difficulties of making the switch to working from home.
While working from home seems rosy when we’re walking to a frigid bus stop, the reality of it is much different. If you’ve been confronted with a new work-from-home situation that is proving to be less than ideal, it’s usually because you’re dealing with distractions, a loss of edge, and so many other subtle frustrations that make it hard to function.
One of the biggest downsides of working from home is the number of distractions that environment provides. Our work environments are relatively sterile places, free from the major time-sucks that cause us to otherwise get off track or lose focus. When you’re working from home, however, kids, pets, partners, creature comforts (like Netflix, pajamas, junk food, and your couch) and even feelings of FOMO can run you right off track when you’re working at home, or attempting to maintain focus for more than just a moment or two.
Losing the edge
Because of the change in environment, and because of the shift in both priorities and expectations — you can find yourself feeling as though you’re losing your edge when it comes to remote work. Maybe you aren’t being asked to meet the same challenges and it’s having an effect on the way you think, respond or react to others around you. Perhaps you feel as though your skills are somehow going “soft”.
It can be hard to manage your time when working from home, especially when there are things like children in play. Time management (on the best of days) requires a great force of will, as well as tight-prioritization and uninterrupted focus. Instead of adhering to a boss who hovers over your shoulder, you have to become your own boss and figure out how you’re both going to manage yourself and do the work.
We’re all isolated right now, but that’s especially true for those who worked in large offices or tightly-knit work spaces. Your work family can become real family to you, and your co-workers can provide everything from a basic sounding board to real pillars of support in your outside life. When you’re used to going into work everyday to see the same people, it can make you feel especially isolated when you no longer have that to rely on. Loneliness is a common side-effect of working from home, but it’s also one of the most easily combatted too.
Frustrated work loads
When you’re working from home, brace yourself for greater distractions (sure) but you also have to prepare for greater frustration from time-to-time. You might notice more mistakes on your part, or even on the part of your team members. You might also notice a slip in communication or a slide in the normal chain of command. This can lead to frustrated work loads, and even more frustrated bosses and co-workers. Someone might lose their cool, and it might be you. Learn to accept it and let it go.
One of the benefits of having a workplace is often the equipment and tools they provide. Businesses can afford things like extra-flashy computers and top-of-the-line high speed internet. Those things aren’t always a possibliity when it comes to making the leap to remote work. So we have to do our best and get on with things in the best possible manner that we can (despite the setbacks). Adjust. Ask for what you can. Make it work to the best of your ability.
The longer you work from home, the greater the blur can become between your work-life balance. When we work outside of the home, it’s easy enough to keep work at work and your personal life at home. When the occupy the same physical space, however? Well, that’s when the line between work and life starts to merge and you find yourself pushing boundaries and allowing your professional pressures spill over into your personal relationships.