Living room instead of office
Long before the pandemic hit, many people were dreaming about getting a chance working from home but when the home office became an immediate quarantine measure for avoiding social contacts, many of them realized that it is much harder than it sounds. They learned and experienced the real struggle behind the idealized working model. The majority was not prepared to work from home.
All statistics used in this article are taken from the State of Software Development 2021 survey which is published annually by Hungarian web development agency ‘Coding Sans’.
Nearly 600 participants, professionals in the software industry, are mostly based in North America and Europe. The survey shows annual trends and changes in the IT industry.
According to the report, 76.18% of all participants had to switch to working remotely due to the pandemic. The majority, exactly 97.96%, of the participants' companies are allowing remote work and more than half of them are planning to change to a hybrid working model after the pandemic. Hybrid model allows the employees to choose between office or home environment as well as gives them more flexibility regarding working hours.
Work from home has for every one of us some advantages and disadvantages. We are all so different, everyone is facing different challenges when working from home.
Some people are the most productive in a quiet place on their own and even hearing a fly buzzing can distract them and hurt their productivity.
Some don’t mind working in a restaurant or a cafe full of people. It doesn’t affect their concentration at all. Exactly the other way around, the noise keeps them focused and productive.
Everyone also has a different lifestyle and last but not least we all do a different type of work. Despite all those different obstacles that every person can experience when working from home, there are several issues that all remote workers face.
Remote working environments made communication in a team much more difficult. There are more meetings required which may leave people unfocused and the communication is in many cases very non-simultaneous whether due to time zone or busy schedule of other colleagues.
Stress, burnout, depression
Poor and slow communication as well as almost zero interaction with your team and people in general leads to many mental health issues. Instead of being around colleagues all the day, sitting alone with the computer without talking to anyone besides meetings takes its toll. People are overwhelmed, stressed and unproductive.
Work-life balance struggle
Let’s be honest. There is always something to do at home. Children want your attention, the washing machine is beeping and the lunch can not be cooked by itself. With so many distractions, focusing on work becomes impossible. As a result you end up working more and being less social which provokes a hamster wheel feeling.
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So what is the solution for remotely working people?
Whether you work from your living room or from a holiday house with a view to the beach, it doesn’t make any difference. No matter the workplace people can feel overwhelmed and burned out.
Working on your dream position for a company you have been dreaming of for 5 years will not bring joy either. No matter the job people can feel unproductive, stressed and with a lack of social life.
What can be changed is the feeling a company gives to its employees.
Humans are emotional creatures. Giving them a feeling of connection and belonging to a team is necessary.
This feeling of connection survives when people don’t see each other regularly. Starting a mentorship program, creating an event calendar for meetings or virtual events as well as organizing Fun Fridays after a long week can help improve the atmosphere and relationships in a team which leads to motivation and dedication to work.
Maintaining a strong remote culture is a key to success and productivity.
5 tips for working from home
When working from home it is necessary to set and communicate the borders and expectations with other people who stay at home with you. Make sure your family members or roommates respect your space during working hours. As a signal for your unavailability can be putting your headphones on or a sign on the door of your ‘office’. Make sure they know when you are available and when not.
Setting your working hours clearly helps you not work overtime and also have time for your private life. Wake up in the morning as if you would go to the office and start to work at the same hour every day. Develop your daily routine and stick to it. Avoid working every day differently since it ruins your day and gives you a feeling of chaos. Being disciplined makes you organized and more productive.
Create a working space for you. It doesn't have to be a big office in a separate room. When you don’t have a possibility to have one room only for you, a small working corner will do the job. Create a space where it feels like in the office and where you can focus on your job without distractions. Surround yourself with everything you need such as a water bottle, snacks or stationery to stay focused longer.
Reading news, answering WhatsApp messages or browsing Instagram while being in a meeting? Multitasking is forbidden. It won’t help you, it will only distract you. Instead of working 8 hours a day you may end up working 10. Browsing social media is only prolonging your working hours. Focus on one task only, finish it and move on to another. After a while, take a little rest to recharge your energy. Rest is important.
Remote work doesn’t offer you many social interactions with people. When most of your workday you are without a company, it is a good idea to see another face during the day. You are working from home, not from a different planet. Interact with people. Use your breaks to call a friend or have a short video call with your mum. Talk a bit with your roommate. Or meet a friend after work. Stay social.
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Staying physically and mentally healthy plays a huge role for your performance at work, productivity, concentration and a general wellbeing.
Make sure you have a lot of movement in a day, enough sleep and healthy nutrition - this is doubly so important when you are working from home.