Common challenges related with working from home

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Common challenges related with working from home

Remote work is quite a thing now, the term is now more frequently used than ever, no thanks to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 infection. Since social distancing and minimal contact is one of the ways to keep its spread in check, the push for “work-from-home” setups is harder than ever. However, save for software engineering and other tech roles with an appreciable level of flexibility (thanks to tools such as GitHub, Slack, Trello, etc.), transitioning from on-site to remote is usually dicey, especially for first-timers. Beyond the perks that come with a remote role, let us consider the challenges and downsides to working from the comfort of one’s home.

In a hypothetical office/work environment, it

In a hypothetical office/work environment, it is expected that there will be a stable power supply, reliable internet connection, and an environment which is serene and points an individual to “work”. It is usually not so in the home, especially in countries where such social services are not adequately provided, even when users are ready to pay. In a typical less developed country, the power supply is barely available for 10 out of 24 hours on average. A worker may have to resort to procuring a power-generating set, which not only adds additional monetary cost but may also take-up time to repair in case of downtime. This may, however, be less of a headache if the employer makes provision for a kind of “electricity allowance”.

In a world where everything has

In a world where everything has become increasingly internet-based, the importance of a reliable internet connection cannot be overemphasized. Files may need to be uploaded (downloaded) to (from) cloud storage, online research, real-time sessions may also need to be conducted, making reliable internet connection a necessity. The unavailability of the internet or expensiveness of it makes remote work an unattractive idea and sometimes renders a worker unproductive. This may however not be generalized as quality internet and constant supply of electricity is very obtainable and in fact, the standard in first world countries.

Common challenges related with working from home

Another work-related factor that makes remote working quite a challenge is the home environment. Formal offices are generally set-up in a way such that distractive noise and other forms of disturbances are reduced to the barest minimum. This allows for almost a hundred per cent concentration and consequently improves productivity levels. An individual’s office workspace may also be so equipped that he takes only necessary breaks and would not usually need to stand-up now and then. These all the more influences work output, and if such an environment is not replicable in the home, a worker is left frustrated. It would then require a high level of discipline and diligence to complete the same workload he would have in the office.

In addition to work-environment factors and home-related challenges, a bulk of the challenge a worker faces has to do with his personality. An individual who is poor with time management and lacks discipline will usually find a remote role very tasking. A worker’s ability to stay away from his home television set during work hours, remove his phone to prevent unnecessary use, and maintain a good work rate without supervision all go a long way in how seamless or otherwise he will find “working from home”. This may be kept in check however if the employer or direct superior at work enforces real-time monitoring or conducts momentary checks on work progress.

It will be fair to make a distinction between both genders at this point, as what is obtainable for a male is not always be the same for the female counterpart. For example, a nursing mother or a mother with some young ones to simultaneously look after. Female employees who have a family and kids to look after will usually find working from home more challenging and psychologically tasking. They will usually be torn between concentrating on the task at hand and keeping an eye out to ensure that the kids are tended to and kept out of danger. Employing a babysitter or having a relative around to look after will certainly come with an additional cost but it is a realistic approach at tackling the challenge.

Finally, one other challenge faced by a remote employee is unrealistic work-rate expectations from superiors at work. Managers may be tempted to think that a worker not having to travel down to work and back translates to having enough time to complete surplus tasks. This will usually not turn-out well as the worker immediately perceives the expected work rate to be unattainable and is therefore put under undue pressure. Managers, therefore, need to ensure that employees who work from home are not physically exploited.

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