Common Challenges of Working from Home and How to Deal with IT
With a greater focus on remote work from around the world, greater recognition is placed on work-from-home challenges and solutions. Yes, you’re there to work, but sitting at home means you are also facing distractions at home that are pretty tough to avoid. When you work with clients from your desk, and the dog begins barking and the kids begin to cry, it can be a problem. Then, there are the technical aspects of the job that, when in an office, are simply taken care of.
Remote work continues to show businesses its advantages, and all signs point to more of it in the future. Businesses are experiencing higher productivity with less overhead costs, and new technology makes work productivity even easier. CRM and CMS systems, messaging platforms like Slack, and video conferencing through programs like Zoom and Google Meet are helping managers to stay connected to employees, better understand performance, and even maintain their usual weekly meetings.
The positive results are felt around the world. Zapier is just one example of companies with a 100% remote workforce. And Getlab surveyed 3,000 workers who worked remotely or were given the option to, and 90% of them said they would recommend it to a friend. 84% said they could get their work done and that their managers could still manage teams well.
Though there are many benefits of working in the comforts of home, it isn’t always easy. Some challenges of remote work can negatively affect performance. This article outlines some of the biggest challenges and provides advice for making your work from home experience a benefit.
Poor Time Management
Working from home means you no longer need to commute to work, more comfort, less need for dress codes, and freedom to be closer to the family. Productivity also gets a boost by allowing employees to plan their own hours and even crank up favorite music in the process. But not having regular work hours and a boss behind their shoulder means you are now in control of your time.
You’re there to work, so staying productive is important. This is where alarms and time management software and techniques are invaluable. You can plan your day with set regular work hours with alarms, and adopt time mapping software like Toggl, Rescue Time, and Marinara Pomodoro® Assistant to keep you moving while providing healthy breaks along the way.
There are plenty of distractions waiting to pull you away from work. The noise of neighbors and construction, ongoing questions from the kids, and barking pets who also need walks are common issues.
Other issues tempt you. Your TV is just a few feet away, social media begs for your attention. And others are sneaky. There are times when you decide to clean up the kitchen while you grab some water or opt to throw in some laundry, each initiative chipping away at your productivity.
Time management is critical. Here again, time blocking can help, but you can also pop on noise-canceling earphones, make sure you have plenty of water and snacks, set up a private space to work and implement home rules for the family (including the dogs) to keep them away when work hours are underway. You’re there to work, and they should know when work is underway.
With no need to commute to work, you won’t have people around you carrying files, talking on phones, or typing on keyboards, and checking on your status, and sometimes those are good motivators. You are on your own, but there are tricks to keep you motivated.
Stay connected with other coworkers during their workdays via your business messaging software, WhatsApp, or text. As they work and share their day, you live the same world with them and feel inspired to keep going.
Keep a clearly defined checklist of planned activities throughout the day with time blocking. You can even reward yourself for completed initiatives to keep you moving forward.
Managing your Team
With no one in the office, CRM and CMS systems are your guide. Systems like Asana, Monday.com, and Air Table are popular. You may also have your own way of doing things, and your business may also have custom systems to keep teams organized and project tasks completed efficiently. Here at Haber Group, we regularly manage these services to ensure they are running effectively, so you see exactly how much work is done each day and achieve even more clarity than you would have had in an office before these advanced systems were around.
Maintaining Work Relationships
With no need to commute to work, does this make creating business relationships more challenging? It doesn’t have to. You can still maintain and even improve relationships by planning meetings with colleagues or clients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also still attend important work-related events for some all-important schmoozing time.
Technology also helps, such as video services like Zoom or Google Meet, and you can schedule conferences with individuals and teams through your internal systems. Messaging platforms help too for person-to-person communication. We regularly install conferencing software on employee messaging systems to ensure close contact is possible.
Technology Issues and Updates
When you work from the comfort of home – particularly when you work for yourself – you don’t always have the advantages of IT assistance when you need it. Unless someone in your family is in IT, staying on top of technical issues is a challenge. And if you manage a team, timely tech assistance is imperative. If you don’t have the budget for full-time IT staff, having a business ready to assist with any tech issues is invaluable. We offer this service to large and small businesses, providing both remote and in-person assistance to keep your programs and hardware running smoothly. ‘
Remote Access Solutions
With employees and coworkers outside of the office, how do you and your project team stay connected to important information? If your computer is damaged or if you decide to shop or doing other things away from home, today’s remote worker solutions allows you and your teams to complete important project work from portable devices, boosting productivity and solving any time-sensitive needs. We aid businesses with remote worker solutions, helping them get the most out of today’s technology.
Taking Work Calls
Yes, phones are still a thing, but with no work phone at home, but when you work with clients from home, how do you take your work calls? Today’s advances in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions offer a number of benefits. It uses the internet as a phone line, allowing for secure connections anywhere around the world. We are installing this software more and more, and you will benefit.
Storing and Sharing Data
When you and your coworkers work from the comfort of home, having data backed up and stored on one central system ensures up-to-date access to important information and the ability to share project work across channels. Being able to store all that data is integral, especially if your business stores user data. Cloud systems work perfectly for the job, allowing you to pay for the amount of storage you need regardless of the amount, and the data can be shared with anyone in your team, even with remote access. Cloud storage is the future, and something we offer all our clients of any size.
Data Protection for Remote Teams
One of the most significant risks for remote workers is data security. Without the right safeguards such as VPNs and in-network and cloud-based virus protection, valuable client projects and user data can be vulnerable to scrupulous characters, jeopardizing project work initiatives, and damaging client growth.
Data security is one of the most important jobs we handle, and this is an area you don’t want to be vulnerable. We can show you what works best for your business.
Working Too Much
Working on projects in the comfort of home, as relaxing as it sounds, has resulted in overworking. The simple fact is, without sufficient time management, you don’t know when to stop a project. It’s important to know when the day is over to prevent burnout.
You can do things like time tracking, chart out your week in detail, and set calendar appointments for social and gym activities to mark the end of the day and keep you away from the computer. Always keep an eye on task priorities to make sure you “eat the frog” and complete essential duties each day, so you have time to shop and enjoy time with friends and family. Set the alarm when you are finished with work, let the team know you are done, and turn off your notifications. If you have a dedicated office space, close it up as much as possible. Shut off the computer and clean up the area, so you know your day is done.
Maintaining Physical Health
Having a desk job is tough on the body, and without visiting coworkers, walking to your favorite lunch spot, or walking to meetings with coworkers or clients, you sit more and lose mobility. Prolonged sitting at home is not healthy for the body, and you can also easily snack away on cookies and other junk food throughout the day with little-to-no movement, creating weight gain.
Use this time to your advantage. With the ability to eat at home, you can eat healthier. Keep a And be sure to do regular exercise, even if they are long walks. Stretching throughout the day at given times also helps.
If you work with clients from home, you don’t have to stick to that one location every day. You can work in any place. Opt to work in coffee shops or libraries. You can invest in a coworking space to work in shared offices for more exposure while staying closer to home. The options are always there when you need them.