Today, due to different technology and social factors, and recently the health crisis, people are facing a sudden transformation in their work habits as it is known. Working from home went from being a sporadic activity to becoming the norm, involving challenges in terms of virtuality, productivity and mental health.
With the arrival of COVID-19, millions of companies suffered a huge loss of productivity and found it necessary to change their entire work structure. The companies decided to adopt working from home as an immediate strategy in the face of the state of alarm, however, in many cases, it was not a correctly planned or designed policy.
The high levels of unemployment also led millions of people to turn their eyes to independent work, as an opportunity to generate money after being out of work due to the pandemic. This is how virtuality gained ground in the work culture through work from home.
According to the Eurostat report , only in the first year of the pandemic (2020), the number of people who worked from home for their companies in Spain increased by 10.9% and in Europe in general, the percentage rose to 12.3 %. Currently this percentage is significantly higher.
What seemed to be a momentary alternative in the face of the health crisis, today has become the work habit of millions of people, and an organizational culture that many companies plan to adopt permanently, bearing in mind that in many cases, it involved a significant cost savings.
With work from home as an immediate productivity solution in a complex moment in the workplace, in many cases it represented a very positive method for both the company and its workers, however, the speed of the decisions made and the novelty of this type of work routine, involved many challenges that took them by surprise.
Switching to teleworking immediately caused many companies not to have enough time to create strategies or an appropriate work plan to guarantee a safe and healthy environment for their workers, which resulted in certain challenges for the employee, who must assume and that, without a doubt, could affect their level of performance at work and their personal life at home.
Challenges of working from home
Working from home in recent years has brought many advantages, among them, as a priority, protection and confinement to avoid being infected with COVID-19, as well as more time with the family, and not having to move from home to fulfill responsibilities.
However, elements such as virtuality , among other factors, have become more than advantages, challenges and challenges that have weakened, on many occasions, both labor productivity and the mental and physical health of workers.
Work hours management issues
When it comes to productivity , many factors are involved. Many people can do the same amount of work as others in less time; That depends on the work habit and administration of their schedules.
With the sudden arrival of remote work, most of them could feel a bit scattered in terms of the corporate culture of the company, without having the boss in constant supervision, or remembering what to do, how to do it and when to do it.
Working from home can give people the feeling of too much flexibility in their schedules, which can become a problem for different reasons.
It is very common that when working from home, not enough time is dedicated to this task, because being at home, the worker can be immersed in an environment that is too relaxed, which leads him to postpone his tasks and responsibilities.
On the other hand, the opposite is possible, that by not having a fixed schedule, a start time or an end time, as happens in offices, the employee spends too much time at work, exceeding hours in front of the computer, neglecting other aspects of your life.
Being at home, without the control of an entry and exit schedule, sometimes makes it difficult for the employee to let go of the computer and the virtuality of work, even, it is possible that at the end of the day, it is not clear for sure how much time was invested and how much progress was made.
If you add to that equation, the tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion of long working hours, serious repercussions could arise in the emotional health of the worker without realizing it. Generally, the signs of exhaustion are given little by little and sometimes, between so much work, they are difficult to distinguish, until an emotional state of great stress is reached.
Lack of communication, supervision and tools
Working remotely implies challenges not only for the employee, but also for the organization. Without a doubt, monitoring performance and productivity in person is not the same as doing it remotely.
One of the reasons why working from home is such a challenge is because most companies were taken by surprise by this way of working, and the necessary guidelines and structures to carry it out have not been established.
Working remotely sometimes complicates the understanding of instructions or tasks, which can cause loss of resources, time and energy, by not having a strategic communication plan that adapts to the virtuality of remote work.
Little or no communication between the employee and the company can cause certain frustrations in the worker, which will be reflected in their productivity and results. As well as a feeling of forgetfulness, or that he is not being taken into account.
The ability of workers to use technological tools has also become a challenge, especially since, at times, the connection often does not meet the basic needs that technology platforms demand.
Until now, many of the employees had not had the need to resort to certain technologies to be able to carry out their work, which is why it represents a great challenge for some workers to adapt to some methods of remote communication, such as meetings on online platforms. teleconferences, for example, as well as the use of the internet for all tasks.
Feeling of loneliness
Although at first glance working from home seems like an ideal place to concentrate and have the possibility of isolating yourself from other co-workers; Without a doubt, it can become an environment of loneliness that, at times, can influence the mental health of the worker.
Even the most outgoing and outgoing person can unwittingly fall into an environment of total isolation when working from home. This type of work method, if it is not balanced with social interaction, could involve emotional problems if you do not know how to deal with loneliness.
Part of the habit of going to work is socializing with other coworkers, meeting new people, interacting with clients and employees, creating bonds of friendship and camaraderie, and this, with working from home, could be completely suppressed.
Physical and emotional health problems
Perhaps for some employees, working from home is not a problem from a physical point of view, because by nature they tend to be very active people. However, for those who don’t usually keep on the move, working from home can increase the level of sedentary lifestyle.
According to the study carried out by the Spanish Obesity Society (SEEDO), 44% of the population would gain weight during the first months of the pandemic. And certainly, this does not exclude the millions of people who had to dedicate themselves to working from home .
The possibility of working from home meant not having to travel to the workplace, so the physical activity of employees decreased considerably.
The long hours of work in front of the computer have made virtual work a trigger for ailments and diseases related to posture and lack of physical exercise.
How to beat the challenges and burnout of working from home
Working from home, as mentioned, involves a series of factors that, if not controlled, would have a negative impact on productivity, on the worker’s physical and mental condition, as well as on their ability to relate and socialize. .
For this reason, it is important to apply certain actions, which could undoubtedly make remote work an activity with better results at the work level, and much healthier at the personal level.
Create a space that resembles the office
The work station that is chosen to work can influence the environment and environment of the worker. Therefore, it is always advisable not to work in the bedroom, or near the bed, and away from spaces in the house that can be very distracting.
Another way to increase productivity and performance, although it may not seem like it, can be reflected in clothing. Avoiding spending the day in pajamas or wearing bed clothes while working could create a different feeling in the person when starting their work routine.
Using a comfortable desk and chair is essential to avoid burnout when working from home. In this way there are fewer risks of pain and diseases related to posture.
Set specific work schedules
Working from home in most cases is very permissive and flexible, however, the idea is not to allow that flexibility to play against productivity. Creating a fixed work schedule, like that of an office, will be of great help to be able to manage time and guarantee better results.
Working from home 24 hours a day does not guarantee that the best results will be obtained, the ideal is to set limits on hours, comply with them and respect the space for rest and recreation.
Taking short breaks during the work day is very important. These types of “breaks” are a great way to recharge energy, clear the mind and distract from work. These little moments generate well-being in the person and are necessary to maintain mental health .
Taking advantage of breaks to do stretching and breathing exercises also helps to combat exhaustion from working at home, as well as maintaining better physical condition.
Communication is essential to maintain a healthy and positive work environment regardless of whether it is digital. Establishing channels of communication both with bosses and with colleagues not only guarantees better productivity at work, but also strengthens interpersonal relationships.
Working from home can be very lonely, so you have to make the most of all the advantages that virtuality offers, not only to clarify work doubts, establish strategies or plan ; It is also necessary to reinforce camaraderie and not lose the habit of socializing.
By nature, the human being needs to connect and remote work should not be an excuse to stop doing it. Even when the interaction is not in person, it is healthy to keep working relationships current, keep the interaction and make virtual communication groups to share your experiences.
Taking these actions could go a long way to beat the burnout that sometimes comes with working from home . Everything will also depend on the employee’s motivation, the company’s work plan and having all the technological and emotional work tools at hand, so that it is carried out in the best and most productive way possible.
In the event that tasks such as these are not working, today there are psychological care centers for the worker, willing to accompany the employee throughout the remote work process, which apparently is here to stay and which many companies have taken as a possible permanent mode of work.
Working from home also has a series of advantages that, if taken advantage of, can become a methodology that is just as satisfying and productive as face-to-face work days. It is important to identify the symptoms of exhaustion in advance, to work on them and handle the situation with the best of prospects.
Also Read: How The World Of Work Is Changing