By now, we all have become seasoned pros when it comes to working remotely. Well, if not exactly “seasoned” we’re at least becoming more accustomed to this new normal. Still, working from home presents a unique set of challenges. Moving forward it could become our ongoing routine.
Recently, Twitter announced that many of their employees will be able to WFH (love that new acronym) on a permanent basis after the pandemic has subsided. We can expect more companies, especially in the tech sector, to follow suit. At the very least, it will not be surprising to see many companies adopt this policy on a semi-regular basis.
So… how do we cope with this? Chances are you have already devised work-arounds for the challenges you face by working remotely. However, since we had to write a blog this week, we came up with a few of the challenges this situation creates:
- Focus – Yeah, that’s a big one. How do you maintain engagement and focus when you are sitting in your kitchen all day? The usual sign posts that govern our workday have been cast aside. One possible solution is to write down a set schedule for yourself. Set digital reminders. Or, go old school and actually write stuff down. Work is all about structure. An office provides that but now it is up to you.
- Time Management – This is closely related to the above point. What are your work hours now that you don’t commute? Be careful of falling into the trap of expanding your workday. Make sure you unplug at some point to avoid burnout.
- Morale – This one is tough. The one thing we miss is human interaction. A Zoom meeting cannot replace the casual conversations we have in an office environment. It has been said that we often spend more time with our work “family’ than our real one. This is compounded by the steady stream of distressing news we see every day. Be thankful that you continue to be productive and take heart in knowing that this will end – eventually.
- Collaboration – To the prior point, think of how many times ideas are generated and problems are solved in casual interactions with co-workers. Conference calls are excellent at bringing the team together and in communications priorities. However, they are not always conducive to brain storming. Make an extra effort to reach out to those co-workers you collaborate with often to keep the juices flowing. Remember, they are feeling just as out of place as you are.
- Distractions – It is kind of hard to work when the kids are around, the groceries are being delivered and the dog is barking. There is no real solution to this other than rolling with the punches. Don’t let the distractions derail you. I know, easier said than done. Accept they will be a part of your day and maybe they will be easier to deal with.
- Technology – Nothing is more frustrating than technical glitches. Spotty wi-fi, printer woes, a lack of needed programs on your computer – these are things that can drive you crazy. Resist the temptation to throw your laptop across the room (that won’t end well). If you have an in-house IT department be sure to lean on them. If all else fails remember that Google is your friend.
Challenges are unrealized opportunities. Take a deep breath, go for a (safe) walk or vent to a friend. Then, dive back in.
As Bruce Springsteen once sang: One day we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny…” Sort of.