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How to Overcome Common Challenges When Working from Home

How to Overcome Common Challenges When Working from Home


Getting two hours back into your day, being surrounded by the comforts of your home and avoiding daily traffic makes working from home seem like the ultimate job setup. However, it is not without its challenges, as the perks of working from home can turn to negatives if you're not careful. Individuals may face new issues with productivity and miscommunication that they previously may not have had in an office setting.

Working from home and dealing with these challenges has become the new reality for many. We review the best ways to overcome them and ensure you are set up for success in the coming months.

1. Addressing Blurred Lines Between Work and Home Life

Creating and maintaining the distinction between “time at work” and “time at home” is important. Not doing so can lead to overworking, lower productivity, and problems managing your time. 

To make a clear distinction, you should introduce as much structure to your day as possible, starting with your working hours. Adhere as strictly as possibly to a given schedule, just like you would in an office. If you typically work from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, for example, then make sure you only work during those hours while working from home.

If you typically take an hour for lunch each day, then take that hour in its entirety. Allow yourself to decompress from tasks just as you would in the office. When your day comes to an end, sign out of your communication platforms to ensure you are not being bombarded by after-hours messages from your coworkers.

Aside from working your normal hours, keep to your morning routine. Take advantage of that extra hour of sleep and invest in yourself to prepare for the day. Changing into new clothing can help jump-start your brain.


2. Staying Productive Amongst Distractions While Working From Home


In tandem with sticking to your routine, another way for you to distinguish between work and home life is by creating a specific place in your home that is dedicated exclusively for work. Not everyone has the luxury of having an office in their home, but there are many ways to establish an "office space".

If you live alone, get out of your bedroom and move to a more neutral spot that is not associated with relaxation. Instead, set yourself up in the kitchen or another space where you can sit comfortably without having to constantly move around. You should choose a spot that has limited distractions like noise, clutter, or a busy window. This will also help with time management throughout the work day. If your only option is to work from your room then designate a spot that is your “work” area. Make sure it has only what you need and is not cluttered to minimize distractions.

Take this time to ensure you have everything you need to function productively. If your job offers additional equipment such as monitors or keyboards, then take advantage of this and set up your home office space for ease of use. These spaces should be reserved for work so that once you leave them you can switch off for the day and move on to your “home” mindset.

3. Dealing With Communication Pitfalls


Working from home means you can’t just turn around and speak to your coworkers at any given time. Instead, you will have to rely on instant messaging, emails, and calls as your primary modes of communication. Some of these platforms can make it difficult to accurately express your tone and intention which can lead to issues around misunderstanding.

To avoid these, over communicate tasks when you are assigning them. Explain your expectations and the level to which you need the task completed. If there are various parties associated with a task, break it out to clearly and define the allocation of responsibilities to your team. Use email to set tasks as opposed to private chats and messages to ensure all involved parties have a reference point to look back to in case messages are deleted.  

In tandem with over-communicating, take advantage of our remote working tools and partake in video chats when possible. Video conferencing allows you to establish visual connections with your team while ensuring your message can be conveyed through your body language. Try to engage with your team through video at least once a day. 

The challenges of working from home will fluctuate from day to day, making it more important than ever to ensure you set yourself up for success in as many ways as possible. Set your foundation by following our guide and allow yourself to adapt to the changes gradually.


4. Strive for Harmony with Your Family


We hear the parents in the back shouting, "What about us!" Suddenly your children are your coworkers, and they're pretty distracting. Whether their schools have reopened or not, knowing how to remain productive between school runs, sports matches, school holidays or sick days takes some juggling mastery.

With older children, set up their workspace alongside you. Fostering independence and implementing a structure into their day can also help them stay busy, complete any schoolwork, and combat boredom. For parents with toddlers and babies, learning how to be productive in smaller bursts of available time will become your newfound skill. Tagteam parenting is another solution, where one parent works in the family living space, handing out snacks and activities to keep kids busy. At the same time, the partner has a productive day behind closed doors. The next day, or after lunchtime, you switch so that everyone has their turn to focus.

A cut in the family income during the global pandemic may also mean that you've had to let go of any household help or childcare. Laundry piles, unwashed dishes, and toys scattered on the floor are something you never had to worry about in an office. But at home, these distractions lead to procrastination, as they beckon you to clear them away. Tidy the house before bedtime, and delegate chores so that each day begins with a clean home if you can, but also be willing to cut yourself some slack if you can't do it all.

Most importantly, stay calm and be kind to yourself and your loved ones. Creating a harmonious space for the family and putting boundaries in place will go a long way to creating a pleasant home office.


Check out more tips on working from home with kids and pets, and 5 survival tactics for single parents working remotely with kids.


Be Flexible, Be Productive


The challenges of working from home will fluctuate from day to day, making it more important than ever to ensure you set yourself up for success in as many ways as possible. Set your foundation by following our guide and allow yourself to adapt to the changes gradually.


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