Working at home has become very popular in the last few years. It has many benefits over regular way of working at the office: no commuting, you have more time to spend with your family and you get more done, because you don’t have the distractions of the open office.
However, there are also downsides of working at home. It is up to you to make a decision – whether you want the remote working to improve your work quality and career or turn it intoprocrastination and slacking off.
1. You don’t feel you are working
The first obvious danger is that you don’t feel like you are working at all. This is because you associate the environment where you work as being a part of your personal life, not work.
Working from home means that the boundaries between work and personal time are blurred. Nobody stops you from doing some household work during the workday, because you feel like being at home, not at work.
Would you wash the laundry or iron your pants if you were at the office? You probably wouldn’t.
How to fix:
Feel grateful that you have a chance to work at home and treat it as the same kind of work as going to the office.
However, if you think all the temptations at home are too irresistible, go back to work on a traditional office environment if it suits you better.
2. Your family members won’t understand that you are working
Your family can be one reason, why you are not getting your stuff done and why you get distracted.
For younger children, it may be hard to understand that you are working – not at home for play.
When it comes to adults, you spouse may want you to participate to household work. But as you know, you cannot do that – you are working.
How to fix:
Setting clear boundaries and communicating them with your family is the way to fix this issue. That way, everyone knows the rules and they won’t expect anything from you during your working hours.
3. You are slacking off, because your boss is not watching
You may be thinking, “Nobody is watching if I work or not. In fact, I can do whatever I want, because no one is peeking over my shoulder.”
Keep having this attitude and your days in the company are done. Although slacking off may work as a very short sighted strategy, your boss will eventually know, if you are not able to meet your deadlines.
He/she starts to question your work motivation and it is only a matter of time, when you get caught up.
How to fix:
In order to prevent this from happening, you have pretty much two options:
a) Get back to working at the office, if the environment is putting you enough pressure to work on your tasks
b) Quit your current job and find your motivation elsewhere (either in another position in the same company, changing workplace altogether or starting your own business)
If you are slacking off, you clearly don’t have the motivation to keep up with your work. Instead, you have to find some stimulating work instead. If it is not inside the company you work for, change jobs or start your own business.
4. You alienate yourself from work community
One of the biggest downsides of working at home is that it has a danger of alienating you from your colleagues and the work community. It’s like you are working in isolation from the rest of your colleagues.
How to fix:
The way I handle this situation is that I have certain days at the office while other days I work at home. This brings a great balance to my work routines, thus eliminating the isolation effect.
It also helps to be in real-time communication with your colleagues as much as possible (by using telephone, video conferencing or chats).
5. You work too much
Working from home is very convenient in many ways: You don’t have to commute, you can work in the comfort of your home and the distractions of an open office are not present.
But there is a darker side of this: It is too easy to get involved into your work stuff after the office hours, because you work is at your home. All you need is to turn on your laptop and connect to your company’s network and you are all set.
No one is stopping you from working longer hours or even checking your e-mails while you are in the bed – just before turning off the lights and getting some sleep.
You have to understand that you are doing that in the expense of your family (and the expense of your free time). In fact, you are most probably not going to get paid anything extra for doing the additional work, so why would you do that?
How to fix:
More than anything, you need to set clear boundaries – with yourself and with your family.
You have to set the time limits when you work at home and also let your family members know about this.
The easiest way to stop working is when the office time ends. However, if you absolutely need to check the e-mail later in the evening, have a short dedicated time block for doing that.
We are not meant to work all the time and the free-time (after the office hours) is there for a reason – it is for recharging our batteries, so that we can be more productive when we work.
Respect your free time, so you get more done at work – and you don’t necessarily have to work after office hours.
What has been your experience with working at home?
Photo by medigerati.
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