5 Problems to Watch For When Working From Home During COVID-19
I’m not sure about you, but I am certain the internet speed at my apartment has taken a nosedive ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The spinning wheels of “will this thing ever be finished loading?!” are everywhere. The internet struggle feels real, and that’s because it very much is. Companies both small and large did an about-face, sending its employees home to work their 9-5 schedules. Many of these businesses accomplished 100 percent of their work within the confines of well-established office spaces and office hours. Working from home was but a dream for many employees. Now, and suddenly, it’s reality.
Will productivity also join the internet in its nosedive? Is there enough bandwidth and self-discipline to keep productivity high? Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom who has been a longtime proponent of working from home isn’t singing remote-life praises at the moment. Instead, he believes this new world order “will create a productivity disaster for firms,” and it’s for four big reasons:
1) Getting work done with kids zipping all around is nearly impossible.
2) Office “spaces” are curated with productivity at the helm.
3) Privacy. What privacy?
4) Employees didn’t actually choose this course of action.
Luckily for our work-from-home employees and contractors here at INFOCU5, the mass exodus from brick and mortar to at-home work already happened, mostly. We have a hybrid approach to work. Many of our employees and independent contractors have the flexibility to work remotely or from our office hubs. However, thanks to COVID-19, that option is temporarily off the table.
All things considered, keeping up productivity, creativity and innovation when the majority of employees are doing their work from their closets whilst children are zipping around the house like animals, there are some tools to employ in order to keep yourself moving in the right direction. Here’s how to avoid some of the inevitable pitfalls, distractions and roadblocks that come with working from home during COVID-.
You will 100% get interrupted.
Kudos to every single parent out there juggling working from home and suddenly being an elementary school teacher. Unless you have the privilege of an in-home childcare provider, remotely working while managing your children may be the biggest blow to your productivity. I mean, remember this:
You’ll have to drastically step up your offense game if you want to minimize the interruptions during high-productive work hours:
- Be consistent with your work hours
- Consider creating a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign
At times, the internet will be slow or nonexistent.
What bandwidth? Those internet problems I mentioned earlier aren’t just happening at your house, it’s happening at everyone’s house. According to Ookla, broadband speeds declined 4.9% across the United States in late March 2020. Despite efforts to prepare for increased demand, the coronavirus spike in internet use was fully unprecedented. Needless to say, download speeds will continue to be slow and could worsen before they get better. For you, that means factoring in additional time to meet deadlines and collaborate with your teams.
You’re going to get distracted by the laundry and dishes.
Work From Home 101 teaches you to not lollygag with the laundry and dishes during the work day. Even though you are home and it can be great because you think it could make sense for you to sneak in some household chores during the work day, this is not a pattern you want or need to develop. Your work day is for your job, not your home duties. In order to combat these distractions, use time before and after your work day to tend your home. You’ll avoid creating patterns that impact your productivity.
Your body will need to be moved.
Stagnation never did anything for your brain — science even says so. On top of simply making you feel good, prioritizing movement throughout your work day can help to boost your productivity while working from home. According to Scientific American:
Exercise affects the brain in many ways. It increases heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It aids the release of hormones which provide an excellent environment for the growth of brain cells. Exercise also promotes brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in many important cortical areas of the brain.
Be sure to set aside time throughout your work day to get up and move your body.
You may find yourself feeling isolated and low.
As a veteran work-from-homer, I can tell you that I prize the time I get to spend with my people after I complete my work day. Whether it was going to the gym, yoga class or meeting a friend for happy hour, human interaction feels extremely valuable and important when you don’t get it at an office. However during COVID-19, that human interaction is extremely limited in the best of circumstances. To offset this “am I actually a hermit now” feeling, make time to connect with your people via video chats, phone calls and even snail mail. Get outside when and where you can to wave and smile at other humans.