There’s been a considerable rise in people working from home in the past couple of years, as tech has evolved, global circumstances have forced business owners’ hands and people have realised the opportunities to work more flexibly. But that’s not to say that this way of working is without its own set of challenges – working remotely at home can be problematic. Here are a few of the problems you can face working from home and how to overcome them.
When you work from a commercial space, you have a clear divide between your work life and your personal life. But when you take your work home, that line between these separate aspects of your life can quickly become blurred. You might find yourself working longer hours or checking emails in the evening or on weekends because it’s more accessible to you, or because you feel like you should be doing more.
This invasion of work at home can be stressful and it can put pressure on your personal responsibilities and relationships. Make sure you’re taking downtime and logging off once your working hours come to an end – remember, if you were still going into the office, you wouldn’t feel pressured to work in the evenings, so draw a line under your work hours and relax.
Constant back or neck pain
For many of us, working from home has meant making do with the furniture we have already rather than investing in proper office supplies. Whether it’s working from the sofa, sitting at the dining table or setting up your Zoom meetings from the breakfast bar, these replacements may save money, but they can play havoc with your posture.
If you’ve noticed that your shoulders are hunched and your neck is feeling stiff more often than normal, your home office set-up could be responsible. These items of furniture weren’t designed to be used for eight hours a day, so they contort the body into awkward positions that can lead to muscle and joint pain. Seek professional back pain treatment to resolve postural issues before they develop and invest in an ergonomic office chair if working remotely is a long-term arrangement for you.
Working from home can leave you feeling isolated and alone, and that can have a negative impact on your mental health over time. When we work from an office or as a group, there’s a constant chatter and opportunities to communicate and bond but working alone every day can be a challenge for people who thrive on the noise and bustle of the office. Add in the endless virtual meetings and you can start to feel like you’re missing out on that all-important social connection.
If remote working is having a negative effect on your mental health, invest in in-person activities outside of work hours that will give you those connections you’re craving. It might be joining a gym class, taking part in a reading group or learning a new skill. You can also encourage your colleagues to join in on more informal chats on the likes of Slack or WhatsApp, to leverage these communication channels for fun and team building.
A lack of motivation
It’s easier to lose motivation when you have your home comforts around you, and you’ve no doubt experienced that midday slump and the distractions that can follow. It’s no surprise that many people who work remotely start to lose focus on their long-term goals and ultimately lose motivation. And this not only has an impact on your own sense of purpose, but it can also affect productivity for the whole team.
There are several ways to combat this. Firstly, treat your work hours just as you would if you were out of the house – get dressed in comfortable work attire, switch off the TV or music, and organise your day so you know what you need to accomplish. You can also write down your aspirations, both short-term and long-term, include those that pertain to your career which you can discuss with your manager to put the wheels in motion to help you achieve them. It will keep you accountable and help you stay on track, reminding you what you’re working towards every day.
Remote working offers many benefits for employees, but there are still some challenges that could affect your mental and physical wellbeing if they’re not dealt with. Pay attention to how you feel at work to identify issues as soon as possible, so you can implement solutions for a happier work life, whether that’s investing in the tools and equipment needed to work comfortably, spending time on building relationships or focusing on your mood.