There are few people going about the daily working grind who haven’t at some point or another dreamt about the possibility of working from home. Those dreams often highlight the wonder of not having to suffer the daily commute and the joy of getting business done in the comfort of your own living room, but neglect the realities related to actually choosing to ditch a traditional office job.
Working from home is after all, still working, and as such is not the bed of roses which most nine to five dreamers might imagine. In the same way as every job has its downsides, working from home presents a number of specific difficulties and challenges which must be overcome by those who choose that path. Those challenges can unfortunately be numerous and are best summarised in two broad areas; those of physical limitations on working from home and psychological difficulties associated with the endeavour.
Challenges and Difficulties
In terms of the physical limitations of working from home, it can often be the case that in the pursuit of their perceived ‘holy grail’ of a working life, workers have a setup at home which is actually sub-standard. What this means is that they might be doing without the ideal IT hardware or infrastructure or turning down face to face meetings due to not being stationed in a professional office.
That equates to essentially accepting that lower productivity is an unavoidable consequence of working from home. This does not actually have to be the case but it does feed into the next major area of challenges for those who decide to escape the traditional work environment.
If you do a quick web search for the phrase ‘working from home’, you will be inundated by articles and blogs offering you tips on how to stay motivated and focussed. This is because a common and largely unavoidable challenge of working from home is that of maintaining the required degree of self-motivation. Choosing to work out of your own home after all, is essentially taking a career direction that has no direct oversight, limited physical interactions with other people and no end of potential distractions.
All of that then, paints an altogether different picture than that which might frequent the dreams of those looking to escape nine to five drudgery, but it does not have to mean that working from home cannot work well for some.
Making it Work for you
There is no getting away from the challenges and issues which we have discussed above, but some people do still enjoy and excel at working from home. This is because they have discovered the best ways of meeting these challenges and some guidance to that end could help you to do the same.
First and foremost, it is crucial to take full advantage of the benefits which working from home does offer and one such key benefit is the fact that you have total control over your working environment. With this in mind, you do not have to make do with existing infrastructure or with how things are presented to you, as you would in a traditional workplace, and can instead tailor everything to your needs and preferences.
Therefore, you can ensure that crucial elements like IT infrastructure and hardware are exactly to your requirements and that even more fundamentally you have a dedicated workspace that is conducive to your own working habits. This in fact, is also a great way to combat the difficulties of motivation which we discussed earlier as a major challenge of working from home.
Setting up and using a dedicated workspace within your home makes it much easier to keep your professional and personal life apart and therefore to keep you motivated when you need to work. In the same vein, the issue of motivation can also be tackled by maintaining some of the traditional work practices which you might at first think of discarding when you work from home. For example, the simple process of getting showered and dressed in the morning has been proven to encourage greater productivity for those whose workplace is in the home.
With a combination of a strong will to succeed, a well-equipped and personally tailored workspace and an intelligent approach toward working from home therefore, it is possible to overcome the inherent challenges and achieve that Holy Grail of an enjoyable and productive working experience.
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