Working from home definitely has its pros. The flexibility to work around family and childcare commitments and saving time on the long commute are just two of a long list of reasons why people love to work at home. But, working from home also has its pitfalls. Here are our top five working from home pitfalls and what you can do to avoid them.
Lying on the bed, slumping on the sofa, or sitting at an inappropriately designed table on a less than adequate chair are all much more likely when you work from home.
According to findings from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), 19 per cent of those working from home admit to working from the sofa and one in ten say they work from their bed. This can play havoc with your posture and lead to back problems and pain.
BCA chiropractor Tim Hutchful says, “workers may not realise that their home environments, while perhaps seemingly more comfortable, could be putting serious strain on their back.”
How to avoid poor posture when working from home: If possible, make a space in the home designated just for work. Set up a workstation with an ergonomically designed chair and desk. Avoid working from the sofa or the bed.
Learn more about correct seating posture and how to adjust your ergonomic chair correctly here.
It may feel like working from home in your pyjamas is a plus, but not getting dressed may be having more of an impact on your psychological well-being than you think. Working in an office there’s generally a smart dress code. You are expected to look professional. Conversely, working from home, it’s easy to feel there’s no need to get dressed up.
But, how you dress can have an impact on your productivity and your mood.
Reasons to dress professionally when working from home:
A mounting list of chores can be a distraction when you work from home. Unless you are highly disciplined, it’s tempting to put on a load of washing, empty the dishwasher and become distracted with other house chores.
Spending time on chores during working hours is disruptive to your workflow and eats into your work hours. Catching up with housework when you are supposed to be working is detrimental to productivity and usually means you’ll end up working at weekends to catch up.
Family, friends and neighbours can also be a distraction, calling upon you because you are at home.
How to manage distractions when working from home: Try to keep on top of chores at the weekend. If that isn’t possible, try to work in a specific area that you can keep tidy and clean. Ignore the rest of the house, even if it’s a tip. Be disciplined with breaks. Make yourself a flask of tea if needs be, so you don’t have to visit the kitchen and feel compelled to clear up the mess.
Ensure family, friends and neighbours know you aren’t available for a social catch-up during your working hours. Boundaries around work are crucial.
Working alone at home isolates you from the team in the office. There’s no impromptu banter or camaraderie, which is the norm working in an office as part of a close-knit team.
How to avoid feeling excluded from the team when working from home: It’s entirely possible to feel part of a team when working remotely. Make time for regular Skype meetings and make the journey to base for in-person meetings monthly or quarterly where possible. Always attend work events and outings. Suggest weekly video team calls where each team member can give an update of workload, achievements and things they are struggling with. Establishing strong communication with team members is key.
Working at home can be incredibly isolating. We are naturally sociable creatures and working alone for substantial lengths of time can make us feel socially isolated.
One of the advantages of working in an office as part of a team is in the relationships we form. Friendships developed at work are something remote workers can miss out on when working from home.
How to avoid social isolation and form friendships when working from home: Find a work buddy (someone else locally that also works from home). Team up with co-workers when you can. Join a networking group and always choose phone over email when you can (it’s good to have a real conversation).