While working from home can be someone’s productivity booster, it can be someone else’s distracting disaster. The experience of replacing office politics with the comfort of your own home might seem like the perfect scenario, but for some people it can be a double-edged sword. The situation can become worse when faced with an unanticipated mandate remote work, such as the situation the world is living at the moment.
What are the pitfalls of working from home?
Many people are glad to dodge overcrowded public transport and have a congenial working environment at home, whilst others have a hard time acclimating to working autonomously and without any face to face contact with their coworkers.
Working from home can however cause problems to those who do not perform as adequately as they would in a traditional office setting. Some people have a hard time getting accustomed to shifts in technological requirements, while others do not cope well with social isolation. The sense of camaraderie does not translate well over Zoom meetings and Slack conversations.
The communication in a work-from-home lifestyle is almost exclusively based on online and telephonic platforms. This communication mode can leave room for misunderstandings, which can hinder your ability to work effectively. Tête-à-tête communication increases the likelihood of mutual understanding and thus adequate functioning.
Another problem with working from home is that for many people the line between work and home life starts to blur. In a conventional office setting, distractions such as the doorbell ringing are almost non-existent. A lot of stay-at-home workers struggle to concentrate entirely on their work-related tasks due to constant shifts of focus. The problem can become worse if they have caretaking responsibilities such as a child or a pet who is in constant need of attention.
What is the psychological impact of working from home?
Even though working from home in times of social distancing can have obvious immediate health benefits, it can also have a negative impact on our psychological well-being. The disconnectivity of working from home for those who appreciate the steady rate of social interactions of the office life can fuel a mental health crisis. Some might struggle with motivation, others have a lonely experience and others cannot unplug from work because the boundary between home and work has been broken.
How can you stay motivated while working from home?
Even though working from home can feel like a challenge for those who derive motivation by socializing with their colleagues, there are some measures they can take to protect their mental health and therefore uphold their work ethics while they are confined at their homes.
- Do not fully isolate yourself.
Social distancing does not mean social withdrawing. You can still keep in touch with your coworkers and managers through written communication or videoconferences to discuss work-related matters. Technology can serve as an aid to alleviate isolation symptoms and can therefore enhance your feeling of companionship and belonging to a community.
The Bank of America schedules workers to group breaks as opposed to individual ones because, following a study after a disparity was found in its call center, they found that the top-performing employees communicated frequently with their colleagues.
- Have a dedicated workspace.
One of the most important commandments of working from home is to set and preserve boundaries. Having a dedicated workspace, that you only use when you’re on the clock, can condition your brain into entering work mode. If you are living with others, this can also be a good way to have your privacy as you make phone and video calls.
- Get on a schedule.
When you allocate your time, you can organize your daily tasks in a more efficient way. It can also enhance the feeling of discipline that can sometimes be lost in the process of working from home. Scheduling appointments and daily tasks can also direct our attention to it, which can help us be more mentally prepared to it.
- Respect your timetable (if you have one).
This is a two-way street. Some individuals who are not equipped with good time management skills might fail to complete their daily tasks in their usual timetable and therefore end up working overtime. Others might not have their sleeping schedule in check and start their workday later than the usual. When your sleep pattern is in flux, it can hamper your creativity and focus, which makes the experience of working from home even more unrewarding.
Working from home should not equate with a decrease in productivity. Some individuals benefit from having their own space and succeed more in a more personalized workspace that they think works best for them. For more information about the perks of working from home as a translator, read: https://www.pangeanic.com/diary-inhouse-translator/working-remotely-as-a-translator/.