In the wake of the covid-19 virus, which struck the world unawares, many companies have been left with no option but to perform most of their day-to-day activities remotely. To the staff, this is an advantage because there are no transport costs include, fewer distractions, no struggles rise very early in the morning to beat the traffic, food is within your reach and you can create a better work balance and more. But what are 10 common mistakes to avoid while working from home?
- Mistake 1: Working Without Resting
- Mistake 2: Failure to Balance Work and Home Activities
- Mistake 3: Working Aimlessly
- Mistake 4: Ignoring Your Health
- Mistake 5: Making Yourself Too Comfortable
- Mistake 6: Working with Family Around
- Mistake 7: Negligence of Privacy of Information
- Mistake 8: Using an Open or Weak Internet Connection
- Mistake 9: Failure to Invest in Setting up an Appropriate Home Office
- Mistake 10: Too Much Silence
What should you not do while working from home?
It’s honest to acknowledge that transitioning from a home set up to an office set up is not as easy as eating ice cream on a sunny summer day.
So the most important mistake to avoid is to ignore the challenges that come with working from home. So if you wonder what you should not do when working from home, then this article is for you. Read about the 10 common mistakes when you start to work from home and how to avoid them.
Remote workers, employees, and freelancers alike need to know the mistakes to avoid while working from home, so as to get a better experience of working from home.
What is a common mistake to avoid when working remotely?
Many remote employees mindset changes as they work from home. You used to wake up early enough to get to work, but now when you aren’t reporting physically, you struggle to get out of bed, take your breakfast late, settle at your desk late, which makes you less productive.
To get the most from working at home, we shall look at the common "work from home mistakes" and what to do to avoid them in this article.
Mistake 1: Working Without Resting
Many people work for many hours without taking breaks while they work from home. Working in your home office doesn't mean that you confine yourself to a very tight schedule that you cannot even get a chance to breathe. Some people are ever on calls and responding to emails and texts.
Missing a single call or failing to reply to an email on time doesn't imply that you haven't been at work at your desk.
You work throughout the day, but you don't set aside some minutes to rest, which overworks your mind. Sitting at your desk all day makes your body develop fatigue.
Solution: Create Time for Breaks
Within the tight schedule, squeeze in some time for breaks. Your mind needs rest to function correctly. Taking few minutes to stretch your body is not harmful.
But how will you find time to rest if you woke up late and you're trying to do everything you can to compensate for the lost time?
How to Create Time for Breaks when working from home?
Working from home is great, but it can also be difficult to stay productive. If you find yourself getting distracted by the laundry or the TV, you might want to take a break.
But taking breaks is hard to do if you're constantly working. Here are some ways to create time for breaks when working from home.
Keep a To-Do List
When you work from home, it can be hard to stay focused on the task at hand. You may find yourself getting distracted by other things, such as checking your email or social media. To help stay focused, keep a to-do list of everything you need to get done. This will help you stay on track and not get distracted.
Set a timer to ensure you are taking regular breaks
If you work from home, you may find it hard to take a break. It can be hard to tell when you need a break because you are on your own schedule. To make sure you are taking regular breaks, set a timer for every 45 minutes. When the timer goes off, take a five-minute break. This will help you stay focused and avoid burnout.
Take a walk to avoid working during breaks
The temptation to work during your break may be great, but it will only make you more tired and less productive. So instead of sitting at your desk and engage with social media, take a walk instead.
You'll get some fresh air and a change of scenery, which will help provide a mental break from work. If you are working remotely, take a few minutes to stretch, do some jumping jacks or even just stand up and walk around the room.
It's important to get up and move around for a few minutes every hour to prevent fatigue. Or even take a walk to a coffee shop.
Schedule breaks in advance
When working remotely, it can be tempting to work for hours on end. This can lead to mental and physical burnout. To avoid this, make sure you schedule time for breaks in advance.
You might want to set a timer for 30 minutes and then take a break. Or you could schedule a break for every two hours you work.
Mistake 2: Failure to Balance Work and Home Activities
It’s not easy to concentrate on work while thinking about the cleaning chores that await you. For example, you can’t stop thinking about the dirty utensils that have piled up when you’re working, while you can't stop thinking about the work that awaits you when you begin cleaning.
Divided attention impacts your concentration and the quality of your output.
Solution: Create a boundary between your remote work and home activities
Draw lines between your work and personal home activities. Put yourself in the situation where you used to report to work physically and coming back home, and you had to catch up with your house chores.
The secret is to organize yourself well with a schedule. It helps to do things at the right time, work within the required hours and then save the rest of the time for your personal activities. When you shut down your machine, don't look at any emails until the following morning.
With a schedule, you will avoid planning things like entertaining visitors during working hours. Following a schedule also helps you to avoid the guilt of I’m doing the right thing at the wrong time.
Mistake 3: Working Aimlessly
This is for sure one of the biggest "work from home mistakes" remote workers can do.
There’s nothing that brings regret as working without any goals. As you start your day, do you know what do you want to achieve in the long run? Working from home should not be translated as working aimlessly.
Working without direction is demotivating, which results in diminished performance. You are still at work and the only thing that has changed is the environment.
Solution: Create Goals and a Time Table
With some planning, you can still do great things and achieve your wildest goals. But you need to spend time and note down goals of what you want to achieve at the end of the day, week or month. Working with goals instills self-discipline and gives you focus on quality output and perfection.
The good thing with having dreams is that even if you don't manage to achieve them immediately, you’ll have moved towards the direction of success at the end of a specified period.
Mistake 4: Ignoring Your Health
Ever found yourself working the whole day without eating your lunch or drinking enough water? You’re doing great injustice to yourself.
Staying hungry the whole day or taking snacks can bring harmful effects to your health and lower your productivity in the long run. Your body and brain need refueling with energy to function correctly.
Solution: Create a Time Table and Eat a Healthy Menu
You need to take a break from work and take lunch just like you used to do while you reported to the office regularly. Your meals should be a balanced diet to supply your body with the energy needed as you work.
Take some energizing drinks such as coffee or yogurt when you feel tired to make you active. Place some fruits at your table that you can snack on during your health breaks to revive your strength.
Mistake 5: Making Yourself Too Comfortable
Many people love the comfort of staying in pajamas and working from the bed, especially during the cold mornings.
Some put on social media tabs, some snack too much as they work. Excess comfort will make you less productive. Dressing in warm clothes and relaxing on your bed when you work at home makes your mind switch to sleep and relaxing mode.
Solution: Get Out of Yourself
Making yourself comfortable as you work from home is good. However, it's good advice to do it with limits. When you wake up in the morning, have breakfast and settle at your desk at the proper time. Avoid the comfort of working from your bed or couch.
You can also help your mind switch to work mode by dressing up in semi-official clothes. Imagine if your boss or colleagues walked into your home, or want to have a video call with you. How would you like to be found dressed?
Therefore it's best practice to have the routine to dress professionally just you would do in your office space in your company.
Mistake 6: Working with Family Around
For those with families, specifically small children, around, it can be very challenging to work from home. As a parent, you may be forced to work as you look after that toddler or kids if there is no-one to constantly keep an eye on them.
It's impossible to divide attention between work and kids, it will make you perform poorly, and you won't be able to meet the targets you had set. Sometimes the case could be dividing your attention between your remote working and your pet if you have one.
Solution: Avoid Family Distractions
As we had seen earlier, it's wise to draw lines between your work and family. Move your desk away from the common family areas like the kitchen and living room if possible.
If you have kids, hiring a nanny for a few hours daily would help immensely. You may also divide the responsibility with your partner or older family members who are available. If these two options don't work, then schedule to work on lighter assignments when the kids are awake.
The work that requires higher concentration can be done when the kids are asleep. It's about you becoming flexible with the situation at hand. Read more about balancing work and kids here.
Do you have a Pet? Read More on how to balance remote work with your pet here.
Mistake 7: Negligence of Privacy of Information
While working from home, people tend to forget that they still have to treat company data with utmost privacy. This data should be kept safe because it's information that not everyone in the public domain can access as it could be sensitive client information.
You may find people sharing their photos while working from home on social media. Some handle official calls when family members or visiting guests are around. If you are not keen, you might leak confidential information and taint your reputation or that of your company.
Solution: Treat All Information with Privacy
When you work remotely, treat your work with privacy. If you need to take phone calls, it's better you shut the door behind you and put on earphones to avoid information leakage.
Protect your machine with passwords and shut it down when you take breaks.
When it comes to the disposal of paper works, do it carefully. Don't throw them into the garbage bins if you can't shred them. Have a safe place to store the waste paper as you wait for the next moment you'll access the office. When using a wifi network, ensure you have solid and varied passwords to protect your office data from hackers.
Mistake 8: Using an Open or Weak Internet Connection
Closely related to the previous point is this: You may be using your personal WIFI with a weak signal strength during official zoom meetings or remote video meetings on other online platforms. The low connection causes many disruptions, which lowers the quality of the communication.
Additionally, using open WIFI risks the privacy of your company’s data. Amidst the shift to working from home, many hackers crack into systems to access the data they want.
Solution: Install a VPN to Protect your Network
Avoid using poor signal WIFI strength when you're having meetings when you work remotely. Get a better, professional connection for that purpose. Avoid using open WIFI networks, because your company data could end up in the hands of web hackers. You also need to be careful before logging into any network or downloading any software without proper information related to it.
Some cybercrimes start by receiving personal emails from hackers because you signed into a site or network or downloaded some software. Your home internet connection also needs to be safe as it is also prone to attack by hackers. Best practices when working at home would include installing a VPN service to safeguard your home network, to avoid regret and losses.
Mistake 9: Failure to Invest in Setting up an Appropriate Home Office
Of course, working at home from your remote home office gives you the privilege of working from wherever you want. But it would help if you consider investing in getting an official home office desk from where you can handle all work-related issues. Put yourself in a situation where you are working from a coach, then you child or a pet touches your computer with some work that was in progress as you took a break. Would you punish the kid or start the work afresh?
Solution: Set Up a Home Office Desk
If set up your working area far from distractions, mistakes like the one described above can be easily avoided. When you work at home, you can also consider setting up your desk in a lockable room or space away from interruptions.
Getting a comfortable desk also saves you from fatigue that results from poor sitting. Last but not least, keep your home office clean to create the right mood for working.
Mistake 10: Too Much Silence
Work from home allows you to work in a peaceful environment far from interruptions from your colleagues. This seclusion can make you go silent without communicating the necessary information to your seniors or to your team members.
This non-communication can result in poor coordination of a project. Working from home does not mean that you disconnect from the rest of your colleagues in your company office.
Solution: Communicate Regularly
While working from home, it’s vital to stay connected with your colleagues. If you are productive but don't update the team on your progress, it may be perceived that you are not working at all.
You may email your boss your progress report or attend virtual meetings at the end of a week where also other employees are giving a progress report and challenges they are facing.
Remote work really has its challenges. When you work from home, or otherwise remote from your office, separated from your colleagues and other employees things can get difficult.
I hope the 10 common mistakes to avoid while working remotely from your home office and their solutions have been helpful. If you want remote work, it’s important that you keep these common mistakes in mind and make sure your job is running efficiently.
If you're interested in learning more about what it takes to work from home successfully as a remote worker, feel free to check back on our blog for future posts with tips and tricks that will help make your work life easier!