One of the most popular models that most companies are following these days in order to keep the workflow going to meet their customers’ demands without asking their employees to come out of their homes is by asking them to work from home. I have already told it several times, working from home can be the new model, most employees will be working in several companies even in the post-COVID-19 pandemic period. It is a win-win situation for both the employees and employers and at the same time, the employees can spend a lot of time with their family members that will eventually boost their productivity.
As the employees can work in the comfort of their homes it can also help them learn some new skills and offer more value to the companies and organizations they are working in. But everything in the world has its own challenges, and working from home isn’t an exception to that, as well.
So today, I will talk about a few of the challenges of working from home and also the possible solutions. It isn’t that working from home didn’t exist before this ongoing situation, as most employees in different parts of the world used to reduce the workload by doing certain parts of their work at home before or after coming back from office. But, now employees across several sectors are having no options but to work from home, and that is why more challenges are coming the way.
So, without any further delay, let’s get started with the different challenges of working from home and also the possible solutions.
Slow or no internet connection
A proper and working internet connection is the initial framework necessary for working from home and talking about India, the country doesn’t have 100% penetration of the internet, but still, the availability of the internet across the country is quite satisfactory. However, when it comes to working from home, a stable internet connection is very important and that should also offer decent speed for proper movement of internet traffic depending upon the size of files that needs to be transported through the connection, and also the type of website and employee has to open to get the work done. In most offices of multiple organizations, the internet connection is quite stable, as they opt for commercial internet plans, which ensures the best possible uptime.
When it comes to working from home, the employees have to depend on their personal internet connections, which can go down at times.
So if the internet connection goes out for an hour or so, the employee will have no option but to wait till the internet connection gets restored. This is always a problem with a wired internet connection, and when it comes to a wireless connection, the speeds are not satisfactory, as many people are using the internet at the same time. Thus, the unavailability of quality internet connection is one of the most basic hindrances and challenges behind working from home.
As a solution, you can ask your internet service provider to offer you better speeds. You might need to pay a little extra to get more speeds but that will be worth every penny if you want to get a convenient experience of working from home.
However, if you are using cellular data, and you are not getting good speed it is a time that you should port out to a cellular service provider that offers better service in your area.
Absence of powerful hardware
If the work at your office is mostly limited to dealing with documents, editing them, and emailing them, you do not require powerful computers on your desk. Therefore, if you are having a fairly new computer or laptop at your home, working from home is not going to be challenging for you. However, if you need to do some special tasks on your computers, like tasks related to animation, video editing and rendering, and other specialized tasks that require bleeding-edge hardware, you might not have a powerful computer at your home, that can help you get the job done. You might already have a powerful computer, but not all the employees who are working in an office will have powerful computers at their home to do the work.
So in those cases, working from home isn’t a solution as regular computers cannot do such powerful tasks. Even if you have a fairly powerful computer you might complete some tasks but it will take more time for your computer to complete the task compared to that at your office. Well, the overall performance is getting affected by the absence of powerful computers at home. Moreover, at offices, you might have multiple monitors and special gadgets that are there to increase your productivity. But getting all of that at your home is an extra burden on the pocket which most employees might not be able to afford.
If you shell out some cash you can upgrade your computer. You can add more RAM, and switch from magnetic hard drive to SSD. Even though that will require a lot of hard work if you are not tech-savvy, that will help you get a better computing experience. However, if you do not want to invest on your computer at this time, you can try to optimize your computer by removing unnecessary programs and junk, and that should make a computer run fairly faster.
Varying time zones
Most companies deal with clients, who are located at some offshore locations. That is the reason, why most companies employ their employees for night shifts to match the time zone of the offshore clients.
This also happens in the case of business process outsourcing agencies, however, there are other organizations that need to deal with clients in different countries, and working at night is one of the requirements.
If all the resources are provided at home to all the employees, they can also work from home at night to deal with the clients, and complete the projects, just like that at the office.
As the employees are accustomed to the new circadian rhythm, they will not face any kind of troubles, however, it can be a cause of troubles for the family members of the employee. If an employee can have a different room that can be considered as an office, this will not be a big problem.
However, if there are multiple members in a family and the employee cannot get one dedicated room for working from home, that can lead to sleeping problems for the other family member(s) who are sharing the same room. So, working in a different timezone can also be a challenge while working from home, if the employee cannot afford a dedicated room for working at night.
As nobody has control over the time zone, the best thing that one can do is, arrange a separate room, by anyway for all the office work. If you do not have a separate room, you can also try to partition your working space by making some necessary arrangements so that you can keep working without disturbing the other members of your family who are within the same room.
Lack of necessary resources
While working in an office, you can get a number of extra resources apart from just a computer on your desk. Additional resources include some form of a board when you can write down the upcoming appointments, draw flowcharts to make your workflow go smoothly, or do anything else that is necessary at your office. But, at your home, you just have one single monitor in front of you.
If you try to write down everything using some specialized tools like sticky notes, or other similar applications, very little room will be left for you to do the work on your computer monitor and that will eventually affect your overall productivity.
Obviously, you can also get some board at your room to attach sticky notes or jot down things but, you might not have enough space in your room to accommodate the extra accessories and additionally, it can also add to your monthly expense.
Furthermore, if you need to do multiple works simultaneously, you can also be given additional systems, or you can also share the work with your colleagues very easily, which is not possible at your home if you have a single computer and that too with limited hardware resources.
Additionally, if you want to share your work with your employees, you might need to send some files over the internet, and if you do not have a good internet connection, which I have already discussed at the beginning of the story, it might again be a task to share the files or other necessary contents with your colleagues.
If you have some extra space on your wall, you can get some kind of a board, where you can write down all your regular goals, and additionally, you can also attach sticky notes as per your requirements.
However, if you do not have extra space on the wall, and you have prepared a very small room for all your working requirements, the best thing that you can do is, maintain a notebook, where you can write down all the important points, your upcoming goals and everything else in between.
Communication problems with others
While working in an office, you have to constantly coordinate with the other team members to complete the assignment given to you or your team. While working from home, the same coordination is also important and for that purpose, you can always communicate with your colleagues over the phone and through WhatsApp or other messaging applications to share your level of completion and get the same information from the other members of the team. But the problem lies elsewhere. When you are working in an office, you are maintaining communication directly with the other members, which is not possible while working from home.
There are a number of great apps these days that can be used by you to communicate with your colleagues but nothing is as good as direct communication in a conventional workplace.
Additionally, as everybody is working in the comfort of their homes, not everybody matches your wavelength and the other colleagues or team members might start their work at a different time and they might not be as serious as you in the work.
So, communication is always a big problem while working from home and this can even compel you to spend more time completing your work and that is something that might frustrate you while working from home, in the long run.
If you are working from home, and you have to constantly maintain communication with your team members, all the team members can decide upon a certain interval after which there will be some form of communication through phone calls or through video calls.
For example, all the team members can decide upon communicating with each other after every 2 hours and set the respective goals. That way, all the team members can keep doing their work, and the team leader can also have a track on who is showing the best performance while working from home.
The bottom line is, as the time of communication is decided already, all the team members will be bound to communicate with each other at that point in time, and everybody will be racing against the clock to meet their targets.
All those, which I have mentioned here are some problems and challenges most employees face while working from home. Obviously, there are additional problems like concentrating on work being at home, and at the same time, depending upon the situation in a particular family, some employees might need to constantly coordinate with the other family members so that they can help the family members if they face any troubles.
All the problems should be managed efficiently by the person who is working and the solutions are likely dependent upon the specific situation of a particular family or the person, who is working from home.
So, those were some common problems and challenges most users are facing while working from home and also the possible solutions one can follow. Do you know any other problems that employees might face while working from home? Feel free to comment on the same below.