Advancements in technology have drastically changed the workplace and how it functions, including operations, communication and productivity. Technology has also made it possible to work remotely from home for many people. Teleconferencing, webinars, and video conferencing has made it possible for people to work effectively and efficiently while still being in the convenience of their home.
Even though home offices come with many benefits, including flexible work schedules and the ability to set up office in the location of your choice, other issues can develop that may affect our mental health and productivity in the workplace.
Despite the many conveniences, obstacles such as motivation, loneliness and setting proper boundaries are three key issues that can arise when working from a home office.
Motivation. Having motivation at work can be the difference between a good employee and a great employee. Internal motivation comes from within and many times our job is what drives us to satisfy those internal motivating factors, like a sense of pride, personal accomplishment, or career growth. This type of motivation does not always have a direct influence on our work environment. However, we tend to get our external motivation from our environment or workplace. When working from home, there can be a lack of external motivation because you are not physically surrounded by coworkers and managers who provide that incentive to complete a project or push to go that extra mile. You are working in a digital environment of emails and teleconferencing where there can be less pressure to perform and compete. This can cause some to lose that external motivation that comes from a traditional work environment. Developing both internal and external motivators for yourself at work may help to overcome this obstacle when working from a home office.
Loneliness. It may be true that having a quiet office at home with no interruptions will help with completing tasks on time and being more efficient at work, but not having those social interactions with coworkers can have an impact on your mental health. Having those connections in our lives and the social aspect of work is important to our well-being, even if it is just a five minute conversation about what you did last weekend. When working from home, you miss out on taking those traditional "water cooler" breaks with colleagues and coworkers that have shown to boost your mood and give you a sense of community. Overcoming this obstacle really depends on the person and how you want to develop those connections and gain a sense of community. Some ways to combat the loneliness of working from home would be to make sure to take regular breaks in other places than your office and networking with others who work remotely so you can gain a sense of community.
Creating Boundaries. When you work from home, you do not have that commute where you can de-stress or change gears for the next part of your day. Since you live where you work, it can be very difficult to set those boundaries sometimes. Since there are no longer those physical boundaries of the workplace, it can cause you to work whenever you have some free time at home, whether it be after dinner or on the weekends. By setting clear boundaries and office hours for yourself, it can help avoid this problem and decrease the chance of burnout in your job. It also can decrease your stress level and guilt at home when you are spending time with family or friends, knowing that you have a time dedicated just for work and time dedicated just for yourself.
There are many things to consider when deciding whether working from home is right for you. With today's technology, the convenience of having a home office makes it possible for many people in different careers. However, there are some things to think about before you make that commitment.
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