If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that working from home will become more “normal” than it has been in the past.
Lightning-fast Internet connections, video conferencing options like Zoom, communication tools like Slack, and task management software like Teamwork make working from home a reality for thousands of professionals, including software engineers, copywriters, graphic designers, and even administrative assistants.
While introverts might be rejoicing at the prospect of working from home, this lifestyle isn’t ideal for everyone and it does have some pitfalls.
Here are some common struggles we everyday Remote Hustlers encounter when working from home and how you can alleviate them.
#1 No One Around to Boost Your Energy or Productivity
For many, decreased in-person support can sink morale.
We sometimes hear that people miss “water cooler chats.” So how can you remedy this? Consider checking in with coworkers via email, video conferencing, and messaging throughout your day – about work and about everyday things, too.
Take phone breaks throughout the day to chat with a coworker or friend! Plan virtual coffee meetings to lift your spirits and start your day off right. Just because you won’t have physical contact doesn’t mean you can’t have human contact.
#2 Not having to leave the house makes leaving the house A LOT harder
A few days huddled over your computer from your house or apartment could kill your drive to leave. Now that you can have anything delivered—from groceries to a delicious bottle of Malbec—finding the drive to leave your house can be difficult when you work and live in the same place.
However, staying cooped up and in one place all day is no good for your physical or mental health. Going outside to take your dog for a walk or even just to enjoy some greenery helps reduce stress and gets your body moving – even if it’s just for a little bit.
#3 NO PANTS SYNDROME
When your home doubles as your workplace, it can be tempting to roll out of bed and go straight to your workstation to check emails in your pajamas – or no clothes at all. This can be troublesome for separating your work life from your home life.
While you don’t need to wear business casual every day, you definitely want to wear dedicated clothes for work. The ritual of waking up and changing out of what you slept in can help you get in the right headspace for a productive day. Similarly, changing into comfortable sleeping attire at the end of your day can help keep your work life separate from the time you need to recharge your batteries.
#4 Schedule? What schedule!?
Once you’ve been working from home for a while, it can become harder to separate your home life from your work life. When work gets hectic or if you had a less-than-productive day, you might be tempted to work well past your bedtime.
It’s important to see the value in keeping a dedicated schedule as much as possible. This means you should start your day with a morning routine that gives you time to drink coffee or a smoothie, meditate, or exercise. You should try to avoid lumping assignments together like answering emails through meals or catching up on that Netflix series while you perform more mundane tasks. Maintaining a consistent schedule will help you develop the discipline you need to work from home productively and efficiently.
#6 Eating everything in the kitchen
Maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult in traditional working arrangements, but when you’re working from home, it can be even harder. One pitfall those who work from home often have is resisting the urge to snack. When your kitchen is steps away from your desk, it can be tempting to give in to boredom with food.
Keeping a consistent schedule with dedicated times for meals and snacks can help. Some workers find that making their workspaces a food-free zone helps, too. Try to evaluate your eating habits from time to time to ensure that you haven’t fallen into any habits that don’t serve your best interests.
#7 All the Distractions: Squirrels and Butterflies Everywhere
When you don’t have your workmates and supervisors around, it can be easy to allow too many distractions into your work life. From social media notifications to having the television on in the background, distractions can zap your productivity and wreak havoc on your concentration.
Don’t work with the TV on. If there’s someone else in your space, wear headphones and have an understood “don’t talk to me when these are on,” agreement.
Successful working from home takes discipline and self-control, and it’s easier to fall into bad habits than good.
Be very mindful of that, and give yourself some grace and understanding when you don’t “get it right.”
Every day is a fresh start and a chance for you to improve and refine your routine into something that works for you – both personally and professionally.