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Coping With The Challenges Of Working From Home

By Mark Ainsworth

For those who have worked from home in the past, it is a common complaint that other people assume they have an ‘easy life’ or that their work situation is somehow less professional than those who work in an office. In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, many more people have started working from home, and the difficulties and hazards associated with this style of working are becoming quickly apparent.

Many employers have been resistant to allow staff to work from home, worrying that staff might be less productive, employees might not be able to focus from their home space or even just that remote working software is too difficult to manage.

However, now that coronavirus has forced the hands of employers all over the world, it is up to staff to prove that they can work from home just as effectively as they could from the workplace.

Here are some tips for efficient home working:

 

Maintain A Morning Routine

One of the things that instantly sets a work day apart from a rest day is how it begins, so many people that work from home find that it is important to keep this distinction. Say that you work a standard 9-5 job, and would usually get up at 7am in order to get to work for 9. You might think that this is the perfect opportunity for you to have an extra hour in bed and eat breakfast in front of your computer, but this is actually a bad idea.

In order to get yourself into ‘work mode’, it makes sense for you to keep your alarm set, get up and ready and have breakfast at the same time you always have. The extra time that you are left with in the morning can be used to catch up with colleagues online before you begin, or even get some exercise so that you can start the day energised.

This helps you to set boundaries between your work and personal life, making it easier to get into ‘work mode’.

 

Give Yourself A Break

Whilst some people find it hard to get into work mode when working remotely, others have the exact opposite problem – they can’t switch off!

When your home is your work space, those who are predisposed to workaholism can find themselves working constantly, late into the evening and even on weekends. In an article for The Muse, Rebecca Safier, founder of remote job board Remote Bliss, says that the issue is separating your work and personal life: “You can check work emails, chat with co-workers on Slack, or do work any time you’re on Wi-Fi. As a result, it’s easy to keep working into the night, well past the time you said you’d finish up.”

Others overcompensate, worrying that their employer might believe that they aren’t working hard enough from home. “Unplugging at the end of the day is important,” Safier says. “If you don’t, you’ll feel like you’re on call 24/7. Sign out of your work email, get off Slack, and truly allow yourself to stop working for the day.”

 

Stay In Touch With Co-workers

Loneliness is one of the big issues faced by remote workers, even those who are already used to working from home. The workplace culture of a job can be one of the greatest pulls for employees, and suddenly feeling cut-off from friends and co-workers can make the job start to feel like a drag.

Make sure that you attend all of the online meetings you are invited to, as this will allow you to talk to and see your colleagues ‘face-to-face’, and check in with your boss at the beginning and end of the week to make sure that you are performing well.

Beyond this, though, now is a great time to add a little extra to your messages to colleagues. Instead of just attaching a document to a basic email, add in a couple of lines asking after the recipient and getting a brief chat going.

Many businesses are also finding it really useful to hold ‘after work drinks’ on a Friday evening, as a group video chat where you can all socialise for a little while. Suggest this to your manager and it could work out as a brilliant way to ease loneliness – especially for those who live alone.

 

Update Your Technology

Office technologies are usually all up-to-date, business-grade and super fast. One of the things that can be most frustrating for those working from home is how slow their own technology is, because it is not designed for constant business use.

Updating your home technology could prove a wonderful boost to your home-working experience, according to Ron Humes, who works remotely for marketing firm Post Modern Marketing. He says: “It may sound like a small issue, but many remote workers have suffered and failed trying to work from locations where phone coverage and internet speeds cannot meet the requirements of the job,

“Make sure to check your service providers and even run necessary tests before settling on your remote location.”

You should also speak to your employer about providing your team with any connectivity or sharing tools they could use to make life easier whilst working remotely. All of this technology could be claimed back on expenses and it will boost your productivity as well.

 

Be Prepared

As mentioned before, many people underestimate remote working, and assume that it is in some way a cop-out. You will soon come to realise that this is not true at all, so need to be prepared and ready for all that is likely to be thrown at you during this time.

On top of this, Covid-19 should not be taken lightly either. This is a very serious situation, the likes of which none of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes. Work is important so that you can pay your bills but try not to remember why you are working from home in the first place – this is a time of global crisis and not a holiday.

Be realistic with yourself and understand that this could go on for a lot longer, and things may well get worse before they get better, so live each day the best way you can, get as much done as possible, learn and plan as you go.

 

Update Your Online Presence

Business owners should consider using their digital foot print to communicate with customers and potential clients also.

In periods of uncertainty it can be reassuring for all those connected to your business, your staff, customers, and potential clients, that you are making the effort to let them know that, while it maybe not business as usual, you are still there and ready to help them in any way possible.

If you need help doing this, then reach out to us at MaxWeb. We are able to assist, or completely take over, your online presence and make sure you keep on getting your message out there.

Why not give us a call on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk to find out more.

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Update

We remain open for business as normal, albeit we are all working remotely. The office is closed however you can still contact us in the usual way by calling us on 0151 652 4777 or emailing us at info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk.