The challenges of working from home

The challenges of working from home

We have all been through a rollercoaster of a year. While working from home hasn’t always been easy, we are now more experienced in remote working. Many of us still struggle with the challenges of remote working and are looking for possible ideas that can help. As we do not know how long this remote working state will continue, it is worthwhile discussing the challenges and proposing some ideas which can be helpful.

1. Space

As we have transitioned from working at the office to working at home virtually overnight, it might have been a big challenge to find the right spot to work from at home in order to be productive. If you do not have a separate room at home, you might have settled in the kitchen, the bedroom, or even the balcony (yes! desperate times lead to desperate measures!) in order to work where you are not easily distracted.

The issue with space might be due to the limited amount of it available at home, or not having enough boundaries when you are sharing a house with your partner, children or roommates. In any case, it is a challenge for most people, and it forces them to rethink their interior design and make certain changes in order to create a space for remote working.

A potential solution might lie in making smart choices when it comes to limited space. By investing in flexible furniture, for example, you can save space and enjoy better functionality. For instance, desks that can be folded up can save enormous amounts of space when not in use!

2. Work and social life balance

Remote work made it difficult for employees to balance their work and personal life. As work moved into our homes, our personal and work lives became intertwined. Add to that the fact that our social lives have been tremendously hindered by lockdown, social distancing, and other pandemic-related measures.

Before the pandemic, home was a place of relaxation, play, and personal dynamics. Nowadays, home has to provide for work, personal and social lives. Hence, it might be challenging to balance all these different dynamics. A possible solution would be creating boundaries at home. For instance, the living room could be for relaxing and not for working in. Or if you work in the living room, then the bedroom can stay a work-free zone.

Segregating spaces can help you relax more easily and spend quality time after work reading a book, watching a movie or cooking, as we normally would do.

3. Overworking

Another crucial point to discuss is the working hours which have become somewhat more fluid when working remotely and can easily lead to overworking. For instance, when working from an office, working hours are better defined and easier to stick to. Now with remote work, hours can shift back and forth, leading to over or under-working, which are both equally dissatisfying in the long run.

In order to balance our work and personal lives, it is a potential solution to create your own working from home hours and stick to them. Those hours do not have to be the usual 9 to 5. In fact, recent research has shown that night owls - i.e. people who are more productive later in the day and into the night - have been striving during the last year, since they are able to accommodate their own preference and work into the late hours.

Whatever your hours are, stick to them. By implementing a routine, whether the same or different to the one you would normally have at work, you can avoid fatigue and burn-outs.

4. Distractions

Until about a year ago, for many of us home was associated with everything but work. Therefore, it might embody a number of distractions, due to the fact that by nature our homes have not been designed for working.

If you find yourself distracted due to various chores or activities, or even your choice of furnishing or perhaps interior design, it might be a good idea to rethink what is causing your distractions and choose to make some changes. This is not only to avoid distractions, but also to empower your concentration.

If you are working from home and have a roommate or a partner who also works from home, it might be a good idea to have an open conversation in order to discuss mutual distractions and maybe come up with some ground rules and boundaries to limit the potential distractions that can arise. Living with people is fun, but if you need space or quiet time it is important to communicate this as soon as possible and avoid misunderstandings and frustrations.

Whether you have challenges due to limited space, distractions, or hard-to-stick to work hours, you might be finding it difficult to balance work and personal life. However, there is always a way to implement useful changes around your house and / or your routine, to have a happier work and personal life. After all, working from home is challenging for all of us, and the only way to make it better is by keeping an open mind and asking for help, and making changes when necessary. Either with your employer or your roommates, an open conversation might be needed to overcome these challenges.

What are your struggles when it comes to working from home? Let us know in the comments!

Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes


Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes

Architect, author, international speaker, Founder and CEO of AKKA Architects, Stephanie is part of a new breed of young visionary architects who operate beyond the nowadays restrained realm of architecture....

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