Working from home comes with unique challenges for all of us. While the lack of commute and flexible hours are an added bonus, frequent distractions and less interaction with coworkers are not ideal. Today we share solutions to some of the most common work from home challenges from writer Laura Vanderkam who specializes in freelancing from the kitchen table.
- Setting boundaries. It’s easy to fall into the trap of blending together your personal and professional lives, especially when your bedroom and office are one space. One easy solution to separating the two is scheduling a post-work activity each day. This can be something as simple as planning a phone call with a friend or going for a walk. This activity will mark the end of your workday and draw a distinction between professional and personal time.
- The working parent. The burden of working from home while keeping kids entertained and educated is taking a toll on most parents during the pandemic. If you share parenting responsibilities with a partner, sit down and map out a childcare schedule. This can look like one parent working in the mornings and the other in afternoons or planning outings with the kids when your partner has an important presentation or meeting. If you’re a single parent, working out an arrangement with a nanny or babysitter that respects both of your quarantine expectations can be a good option. If neither of these work, be honest with your employer about your situation, so they are aware of what’s on your plate. Most likely you’re not the only parent dealing with this issue.
- Connecting with colleagues. Most of us didn’t realize how much we would miss water cooler conversations or after-work drinks. If you’re craving that coworker connection, try scheduling a video chat over coffee or virtual team happy hour.
- Meeting your boss’ expectations. Working from home means you can more easily set your own hours, but if you don’t want your boss to think you’re watching Netflix and phoning in your responsibilities. Set measurable goals so you can hold yourself accountable to your productivity standards, and your work will speak for itself. If you’re worried about communication, suggest scheduling an extra meeting each week with your team to discuss what you’re working on and get a better sense of everyone’s progress.
- Distractions. The fridge, your phone, cleaning the kitchen…The list of potential distractions when working at home is endless. Creating a designated work area is step one, but also make a commitment to save chores and tasks for after your workday. It can be tempting to fold that pile of laundry while waiting for your next call to start, but you’ll be more efficient in your personal and professional work if you keep them separate.
Working from home comes with a whole host of new freedoms, but it also carries some significant challenges. Try these solutions to address the most common struggles of the work from home employee and know that you’re not alone in facing difficulties in a new work environment.