If you’ve started working from home because of the pandemic, it’s been probably over a year of figuring out the best and most comfortable way to turn your living room into a home office. There’s been plenty of fun learning moments along the way.
Do you remember that time you finally decided to create a WFH wardrobe? Cosy, breathable, and somewhat stylish co-ords have been a revelation. It’s a game-changer, and many WFH professionals are not considering ever going back to the office. The second breakthrough of lockdown has been the discovery of the sweet Dalgona coffee, an instant coffee whipped to perfection with sugar and water. It’s been the highlight of all your long afternoons at the desk (I have yet to try one!).
However, while there have been plenty of fantastic learnings, there’ve also been a few nasty surprises. Working from home isn’t without risks, and we’ve had to pay a hefty price for it.
What happens when things break?
Picture the scene. You’re in the middle of a critical Zoom call with a client when suddenly a notification appears and blocks the screen. You click it away quickly, without even reading it. And then the computer shuts down abruptly. Your laptop will not restart, regardless of how many times you ask it nicely. The client says they understand, but you know you’ve missed your chance. And quite frankly, it’s unfair. You can’t be expected to troubleshoot tech problems on top of your day-to-day job. That’s why your business should have an IT support specialist on call to help with unexpected situations. Tech issues can be stressful and frustrating, especially if IT isn’t your forte.
Enthusiastic gamers are familiar with screen-related health complaints, such as eye soreness, headache, and even back pain. Working from home can expose you to the same problems. Indeed, because it’s difficult to sort out the proper lighting for your workstation, you could find yourself squinting through the dark living room or trying to handle the bright light bulb of your spare bedroom/office. Poor lighting solutions combined with the constant interaction with the screen are likely to cause blurry vision, eye tiredness, soreness, and discomfort.
Depending on your home office setup, you could find it tricky to sit comfortably. The sofa doesn’t provide enough support for your back, but the kitchen table isn’t at the right height for laptop work. In the end, your lower back can feel tight from all the (inadequate) sitting.
Goodbye work/life balance
If you were already used to work an extra hour at the office from time to time to catch up on work, chances are things have gone a lot worse at home. According to a study, home-based workers have been working on average two more hours per day. To give you a brief comparison, it’s the equally of working over a day for free every week. It’s a full week for free at the end of the month, which basically increases your working week by 25%. Working from home doesn’t encourage a better work/life balance at all. It makes things worse, encouraging people to work longer hours, which makes them less productive, which in turn drives them to work longer. It’s a never-ending circle. Make sure you make time for yourself and the people around you. Even if you love your job it’s good to take time away from it and strike that balance.
While there are many advantages to working from home, we have to be realistic. Going forward, we can expect more remote positions. Therefore, it pays off to tackle remote work challenges early!