Working from home has become the new work structure for many employees. While this option has created some personal advantages for workers, it has also created some challenges that must be addressed with a renewed work ethic.
THE DREAM: Many individuals would like to believe that working from home would enable them to be more productive based on:
- The ability to be more comfortable in super casual dress in familiar surroundings. Pajamas are a wonderful thing!
- The belief that you would experience fewer distractions and interruptions versus those that normally occur in the workplace.
- The ability to use adaptive technology to stay connected to peers and clients while creating new levels of work efficiencies.
- Time spent commuting can now be used to accomplish more work
However, work-from-home situations can create personal and professional challenges that employees will need to navigate or resolve in order to maintain their customary level of productivity.
THE REALITY: Today, many workers are realizing the various challenges that are generated by being assigned to work from home.
The need for “Self-Discipline”: If you are an individual whose work ethic is strengthened by the dynamics of a supervised, interactive work environment, you may find it difficult to maintain focus on the task at hand. Working from home can unleash inherent distractions or temptations that are not experienced in the traditional workplace (ie. children, scenic views, immediate access to the outdoors, television, food, access to other fun electronics). If you are dealing with this dilemma, here are some suggestions that may help you.
- Maintain Your Routine: It is important that you maintain the same or similar schedule of sleeping, waking, and starting your workday. These habits will sustain your circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle) and help to promote energy and alertness.
- Conquering Distractions and Procrastination: Create a list of the high priority tasks that you want to complete for the day. As you complete a task on the list, reward yourself with a 10-15 minute break to do something you enjoy. Then it’s back to work on the next task. Keep track of the break time and be stern with yourself in getting back to work. The feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day will be worth the effort.
Parental Conflicts: Millions of workers were initially grateful for the additional time with family that work-from-home provided. The transition from end of work day to dinner prep was a snap. Parents became heroes as children had a front row seat to what it meant to be the family “bread winner”.
However, state and local mandates continue to reinforce the understanding that working from home could become a way of life for the foreseeable future, as parents grapple with the lack of available child care options and the distractions children create throughout their work-day. For most parents, there are limited options in addressing day care needs. The options that exist are not without some health risks; whether you explore day care facilities or in-home day care.
Parents that work from home have become creative and flexible in constructing a work day and revised work hours that balance their responsibilities to their employers and their children.
The true reality is that the impact of a work-from-home assignment is as unique as the employees themselves.