Although there are plenty of skeptics out there, the increased opportunity for working from home has been one of the few things to like about the last eighteen months. It can’t be disputed that removing the commute from life has allowed people to get more much-needed sleep, ensured they see their family more, and contributed to an improvement in air quality. Whether or not we like working from home ourselves, it’s certainly been a positive for many people. Signs also show that productivity is not generally negatively affected.
That being said, every silver lining regrettably has a cloud attached, and much as working from home has its positive aspects, it has to be acknowledged that there are some negative sides too. In order to be realistic – and to decide whether WFH is something we want to embrace long-term – it is important to look at some of those negatives and see what can be done about them.
It’s harder to switch off
If you’re used to working in an office, one of the high points of the day is the moment when the clock ticks past home time and you can tick off another day’s work well done. If you’ve been working from home since last March or even earlier, though, you may have noticed that the release of finishing up for the day has taken on less intensity. There is a difficulty in considering the day “done” when you take away that definitive break with the office.
As far as possible, try to work away from areas where you would spend free time. A spare room, if you have one, can work nicely, but failing that, try setting up an office area in a quiet corner somewhere – even out in the garden.
You don’t have access to office facilities
In most cases, being at home beats being at the office. You can take a nap on your lunch break if you’re tired. Your fridge beats their vending machine. At work, you can’t have your cat sit next to the keyboard. However, the presence of a lot of office equipment is something you can easily miss when you’re working from home. You can find yourself going the long way round to get documents printed or faxed, which is a pain.
If you really need to send a fax, you can usually do it from the post office, while printing out documents means biting the bullet and buying a good home printer, finding a good place to buy toner cartridges online, and making the best of it. It’s worth it, even if just for your cat.
You are vulnerable to hacking
It’s easy to miss it in the office, but when an employee logs on to the company mainframe, the data you send and receive is protected by a thick layer of security that identifies threats and neutralises them in moments. The beginning of the pandemic was highlighted as a big opportunity for hackers, as few residential dwellings have anything like the firewall capability that a dedicated office will have.
With that said, there are workarounds that work just as well if you know how to use them. Don’t ever log on to do business stuff without first enabling a VPN. This will hide you from any hacker and allow you to work unruffled and confidently.
If you are looking at fully embracing the idea of working from home, you can be confident that there are a lot of advantages to it. As far as the disadvantages go, there are always ways around them.