It is often glorified and hyped. Especially now. But working from home isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. And if you don’t prepare properly, you will taste the bad side of this otherwise incredible perk.
Cool. What was your point again?
Let me explain.
Offices are built for proper work. Chances are, your home isn’t.
Why? Well, because… it’s your home. It was made for something else.
Every work gets tedious and boring sometimes. No matter what you do. Even if you love it tremendously. There will be dull, repetitive, and boring aspects of it. Why would you associate your cozy apartment with something like that?
And another thing. Space. Why sacrifice a whole room in your house for work? Why not make it into an entertainment center, a gym, a kid’s room, or even a guest room for your parents?
See? As it turns out, working from home isn’t always as glamorous as described. Let’s go through the most significant pain points and ways to fix them.
Proper working table, chair, whiteboard. Aircon, cleaning service. Fast, reliable wifi. Computers and copy machines you don’t have to buy. Professional coffee maker. Meeting rooms. Lecture rooms.
Even the damn water cooler.
Office buildings have all of these. Do you?
I can already hear you screaming how you don’t need some or most of those items. But what about the rest? Will your employer pay for your home office equipment or unlimited coworking membership? I wish they would, but sadly most companies are not there yet.
Go digital. With everything. Drafts, to-dos, post-it notes. Everything. Google and implement real-life and digital minimalism.
Working from the sofa is the dream. The bed sounds even better. Right?
How comfortable and healthy you think this is? Or how sustainable before you get permanent back pain. Your kitchen table & chair combo isn’t going to cut it either.
Unless your bones are made from rubber, you need a proper chair & table.
Many folks don’t realize even the crappiest office chair is an order of magnitude better than a chair made for eating your breakfast cereal for 20 minutes.
Well, there is the obligatory “exercise and go to the gym” rule of thumb. But let’s be realistic here. Not everyone has the time. Life gets in the way. It really does, trust me.
So what’s the alternative?
Stretch - before, during, and after work. Massages. And, for the love of God, get a proper chair.
I have to work tomorrow, could you…
- Babysit my kid?
- Watch my dog?
- Take care of my package delivery? The delivery guy already has your number.
- Go to the post office.
- Do groceries.
- Fix my computer while you are home.
Does this sound familiar? If not, you are a truly lucky remote worker with sharp, understanding spouse/family/friends/neighbors.
The rest of us, however, has to educate our surroundings and learn how to say no.
It’s shocking how many people don’t understand the work-from-home concept at all. All they hear is, “I will be working from home.”
Educating the people around you sounds like the ideal solution but doesn’t always work. Explaining remote work to someone who woke at 7 am and started his shift at 8 am sharp for the last 20 years can turn out pretty much into mission impossible.
As an alternative, get your own space. Don’t use any common areas. Move your desk to a separate room. Don’t forget to close the door.
There is a certain thrill when you are about to finish at 5 pm. Kind of like kids at school - counting down minutes before the last ring.
Now compare this with “going downstairs” from your home office.
Underwhelming is the word you are looking for.
It’s just nice being excited about seeing someone again. Then finally hug and kiss them. A bit difficult to achieve if you see each other 24/7 @ 365.
Everyone has a different routine while commuting. Someone reads e-books, someone listens to podcasts. Most people probably just play some music.
Even though commuting mostly sucks, it’s still your own “me time”. An opportunity to gently fold the thoughts we have collected during the day. Not rarely we get inspired or come up with something cool while just minding our own business on the tram.
Change your environment from time to time. Work from a cozy café. Go for a beach walk during sunset. Join a coworking space 1-2 days per week. A good-looking public library could also do.
Daily zoom calls are cool and all, but replacing the watercooler chit chat is quite a difficult task.
Don’t get me wrong; working in total silence and peace is awesome for deep work. But when you need to turn around and ask your colleague something really quick? No can do. You’ll slip right into the Slack notifications list with everyone else.
Daily team lunch where you can discuss both work and plans for the weekend? Gone.
Try virtually hanging out with your team more often, meaning not only for the daily standup meeting or when something is broken. Leave room for some natural conversations to sparkle.
When safe, change your workplace from time to time. A café. Coworking space. Library. I know this has already been mentioned here, but it really does help. You don’t even have to force yourself into any awkward interactions. Just being in the middle of all the humming will help tremendously. Who knows, might even help you get slightly more productive.
Have any other issues with working from home or remote work in general? Did we exaggerate something? Tell us in the comments.