The Cubicle to the Couch

The downsides of working from home and how to beat them

Thoughts of packed trains, traffic jams and ten alarms to get you up early enough for it all will probably kill any feelings of nostalgia you’re having for the days of working from the office. More time at home, flexible hours and let’s face it, comfy clothes from the waist down makes working from home sound like the dream. And maybe it was the dream… for a while… until it wasn’t anymore

Loneliness, tech difficulties, constantly being both at home and in work; WFH can be tough. Below, we’ve outlined some problems and how you can overcome them if you’re stuck at home for the foreseeable future.

  1. Work and Home Life Separation

If you’re working from a home office, your sitting room or worse from your bedroom, it’s very difficult to detach from work and the stresses that come with it when you’re supposed to be off.

What can you do?

  • Think ASAP – As Separate as Possible. If you have a spare room or a home office, set yourself up there, if not, a common area like the kitchen or sitting room can work, your bedroom should be a last resort. Consider joining a co-working space or renting a desk in a remote working facility if it’s financially feasible for you.
  • Get up and get out on your breaks – Don’t move from your workspace to your couch on your lunch, just because you can. If you would usually have gone out to get a coffee or some lunch, then mimic this at home and if you don’t want to buy anything, at least go for a quick walk. It’ll get you out of the work environment, clear your head and let you get some fresh air too.
  • Time off should be time out (of the house) – try to get out of the house on your days off. You’re spending a lot more time now so doing activities elsewhere will help you separate yourself from that work headspace.

2. Decreased Social Life

Loneliness and isolation can creep up on you when you work from home when you have little to no human contact all week. You’re probably missing the chats with colleagues, asking if anyone wants a cuppa and even just passing strangers in the hall.

What can you do?

  • Stay in touch – keep in (non-work) touch with your colleagues. You may have zoom conferences with them every week but make sure you keep up socially too, interaction outside the office is important.
  • Join something – this one is difficult right now, but if WFH is the plan for the foreseeable future you’re going to need something that will get you out of the house. Join the gym, a club, take a class or volunteer; have something to get yourself out of that home office ‘bubble’.

3. Difficulty with Motivation

Not having to wake up early, dress up or put on makeup is not conducive to high levels of motivation. Add procrastination and you may find it extremely difficult to get up and get going.

What can you do?

Narrow things down – a lack of motivation is exacerbated by a full plate and a long to do list. Try and focus on one or two things that are the most immediate and set small goals that are easily achievable.

Find inspiration/mentors – find people that inspire you and surround yourself with their content. That might mean reading their books or watching their videos or maybe just following them on social media.

Support from others – it’s hard to do things alone at the best of times so tell other people what you’re trying to achieve and let them support you in doing it.

4. Weak sense of teamwork

Being with your team, you absentmindedly bounce ideas off one another and work together to innovate, but if you’ve been banished from the office this can become much harder to do. This is a tricky one to overcome but there are ways you can get some of that work banter going again.

What can you do?

  • Professional yet casual catch ups – Using workplace internal comms tools like Slack or Workvivo is a great way to fuel a sense of community. Read and post content to an activity feed, collaborate on ideas and create events. Members can like, share and comment just like a social media but for work.
  • Consider co-working – if you have to work from home but crave being around other people again, think about co-working. These spaces allow professionals to keep their work and home lives separate whilst being in a community that drives innovation, and productivity. Not only will you find yourself becoming more creative, you will have more networking opportunities and widen your social circle.

The Business Barn is a co-working space the North Kildare area with members from Maynooth, Leixlip, Celbridge, Straffan, Lucan and Dunboyne. You can check out the range of options we offer here.

Categories: Insights