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The biggest downsides of working from home

None of us could ever have anticipated the monumental social and professional shift brought on by the global pandemic.

It was swift and unexpected, and it effectively forced society as a whole, into changing the way we work, interact, socialise, visit the mall for the weekly shop.

But as lockdown dawned, and the directive was to stay at home, there seemed to be a certain enthusiasm, among many, for the novelty of it – especially when it came to our professional lives. 

No more long commute. The traffic won’t be my biggest dread. I won’t have to see the difficult people in the office. I can work in my pyjamas.

And so, we met the ‘new normal’ head on, with a measure of interest.

Nearly a year on, and a few notable aspects of the work from home life have come to light. For some, it’s been an easy transition – their personalities lending to the particular intricacies of isolation. For many, though, it’s become a struggle. 

While remote working works for some and brings a level to business that looks to be very advantageous in its flexibility, there are some marked disadvantages of working from home – and these mostly exist as an affront to the human condition.

What are the disadvantages of working from home? Here are the two biggest:

Blurred boundaries

For most, the working week is a 40-hour commitment.

Sure, instances and operational events may arise where the 8-hour day may need to be extended. And for senior staff, managers and top-brass, hours can’t really be stipulated, where vast responsibilities are demanded. 

But for most, it’s a 9-5.

Remote working, however, seems to have largely made the definition of what a workday is, somewhat opaque. We’re hyperconnected as a society, which means we’re effectively ‘always on.’ While office hours used to be able to allow us to disconnect, working from home has blurred the lines between when an employee should be available. 

This has led to liberties. Our phones are tied to us even more and it seems to be an unspoken assumption that should a colleague or manager demand a last minute Zoom call, matters of work hours, the time of day, or whether it be right in the middle of family dinner time, have become irrelevant.

As stated before, we all commit to a certain amount of overtime in any business, depending on the requirement. However, if an employee can never disconnect, both physically and mentally, it may lead to burnout, and a serious decline in productivity.

As disadvantages of working from home go, this one relates to the well-being of an employee, and their sound state of mind. We now know, the isolation factor brought on us by the pandemic, the subsequent lockdown and the now opacity in definition of work-home life boundaries, has added a measure of complication to an important issue for us all – that of our mental health. 

Downtime is vital – we all need the opportunity to switch off, especially in the ‘new normal’.  

Collaboration in absentia

This relates to the isolation factor, and a new level of loneliness for which many have found themselves direly unprepared. Individual personality traits sometimes demand that one interact with others – this in order to get reinforcement and to feed off of the dynamic nature of collaboration. Some require this fundamentally, to successfully perform. The sudden removal of a feedback loop, for so many professionals, has led to instances of frustration and a level of depression not previously experienced.

When it comes to collaboration, however, in many instances, it’s simply an operational and strategic business facet that many organisations need in order to be effective in delivery. Specialist teams are often purposefully built to brainstorm ideas, build concepts, present and plan. Without this strategy, a business may notice large swathes of departmental data and numbers declining. 

Collaboration in teams is a nerve centre. These nerve centres need dynamism, feedback and conversation, all in the atmosphere of close-knit teamwork.

It’s very plain to see then, that the absence of collaboration is a troubling disadvantage of working from home – not only for the individual craving a human connection in order to perform, but for most businesses who rely on the electric impulses of perpetual teamwork.

Remote Professional Working

These are unprecedented times, and they’re revealing much to us as a society. As we move ahead toward a largely remote professional working world, we must put into place strategies that will not only bring us back to business as usual as much as possible but maintain the health and wellbeing of our people. 

At Giant Leap, we have innovative office space solutions that promote safety in the workplace and allow for uninterrupted collaboration, while maintaining social distancing.

Click here to find out more.