“If you see me talking to myself,
I’m having a staff meeting.”

If you are reading this blog at 11.30pm on your laptop or mobile phone, possibly in bed or frantically sending your last email of the day – I see you!
This blog entry was written in the early hours of the morning, and it just happens to be my most productive time or the ONLY time where many parents and I do our best work yet.

With significant advances in video conferencing and file sharing over the past few years, working from home during this Covid-19 situation should be a breeze right? WRONG! For those who are experiencing working from home for the first time – welcome to the joys of procrastination, staying in PJ’s and the lures of laying on the couch while staring at your screen.

On the flip side, working from home tends to blur the boundaries between work and personal life – some may find themselves working well past 3pm to only realise breakfast and lunch never made its way out of the fridge and you officially have no personal life left.

So what challenges bring us to our knees and have us crawling to the fridge? I asked other parents for their top 4 and I am pleased to announce – we are not alone!

 

4 Challenges of Working from Home

1. Communication. One of the biggest perks of working in a physical office space other than office banter and gossip is being able to go over to a co-worker’s desk to ask questions or get clarification on a project and have the matter resolved there and then – but when working from home, you suddenly find for no valid reason, more effort is required with phone calls, messaging, or video conferencing. Tasks may take a little longer to complete – you no longer have the luxury to stalk your co-worker’s personal space to get the task done. Trying to align the right time to call one another coupled with delayed email replies takes the top two spots.

 

“Just checking in,
I’m going to keep sending you emails about
this until you respond.”

 

2. Distractions. “Work from home”, they said. “You’ll be more productive”, they said. Many would agree having the option to work from home and being forced to work at home are two very different scenarios. Working from home in isolation, brings out the tourist in you – your beloved household items like the fridge, the coffee machine, the waffle maker and the notorious pantry is now your favourite spots to visit – every 30 minutes!

After your 4th chocolate Easter egg, you decide to barricade yourself to the designated work space – you don’t trust yourself. This seems to do the trick and you are on fire. Charging in and knocking down your makeshift wall of stacked chairs is your toddler, he wants to give you something because he loves you – great, it’s your 5th chocolate egg!

It’s 11am and you are fed up, you feel a well-deserved ‘me-time’ is due.
You tell your partner you’re going for a quick 20 minute power walk.
You want to tune out and check in with your friends on social media.
You feel recharged and no longer annoyed, that 20minutes flew by…..you check the time – its 3pm!!

 

3. Always on. For the super organised and highly focused individuals, this may seem counterintuitive, but when you work from home, you work all the time and everywhere. No, really. It’s incredibly hard to draw boundaries between your personal space and workspace, and the same goes for your time. You have probably worked in the kitchen. Taken conference calls in your car. Typed emails in the grocery store and during dinner, checked emails in the middle of the night — and maybe in the bathroom. You don’t switch off.

For the less organised and easily distracted individuals, yes this also applies to you. You too are ‘Always On’ and working all the time and everywhere, the difference is; You end up playing catchup and work well into the early hours of the morning, then do this all over again the very next day!

 

“My life is just like Rihanna’s song.
Work, work, work and the rest of it,
I can’t really understand.”

 

4. Social isolation. In a traditional work environment, not all of your day is spent hunched over the computer; there’s plenty of opportunities to chat with coworkers and take breaks, whether that’s going to lunch or talking over the water cooler. It’s a space for like-minded co-workers to throw ideas across the room, to joke and laugh at the expense of one another, to console, complain and support.

When working from home, there is fewer obvious opportunities to get in a little social interaction, which can start to make you feel lonely and disconnected. At home, there’s….nobody.
No weekend recaps.
No lunch partners.
No accidental twinning outfits.
No daily human interactions other than with your family members – personally I think this doesn’t count.
Too many days of isolation and you forget how to ‘people’.

 

 Stages of working from home:
1. I work from home, how cool!!
2. It would be nice to have someone to talk to
3. I hope Billy the pigeon come to visit my window today.

 

There you have it, the top 4 challenges when working from home (in no particular order). Stay tuned for Part 2 with tips and tricks to overcome these challenges and stay sane. Are there any other challenges you face when working from home? Do you have tips and tricks to stay on top of the chaos? Make sure you let us know in comments!

Written by Elisha S
Mother of 2 young kids, Works Full-time (at home)