Working from home may not actually be working.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, it sent workers home en masse and created a paradigm shift from in-house to at-home office.
At first people jumped at the chance to work from home citing, among other perks, the savings of both time and money by no longer having to commute.
However, working from home isn’t quite living up to the hype. People often feel as if they’re working 24/7 because they can never truly disconnect. Researchers have found that working from home actually makes employees less productive.
Here are some disadvantages of working from home.
It’s a challenge for managers and employees to stay in the loop—and keeping everyone up to speed on the latest technology can be tricky. Zoom videos, for example, were heralded as an ideal alternative for coworkers to stay in touch and collaborate during social distancing. But now people are experiencing what’s known as “Zoom fatigue.” That’s because video meetings are actually more mentally demanding than face-to-face meetings, says psychology professor Priti Shah of the University of Michigan. It takes extra effort to try and decipher visual cues when there are so many people on the screen, and it’s difficult to focus on the screen for extended periods of time, she explains.
Too Many Distractions
Let’s face it, there are simply too many other things (and people) vying for your attention at home. If you have children, they always seem to want something the instant you log into a video conference, answer a call or finally feel able to focus on an important project. Then there are the unfinished household chores: dirty dishes, laundry, walking the dog, yard work, etc. It’s OK to take a short break and handle those first, right? Wrong! Time management experts say that switching from one task to another takes a serious toll on productivity. Next thing you know, you’ve lost an hour or more of your workday.
Even in Zoom meetings, when people are supposed to be present (at least virtually) there are many distractions that may not be present during in-person meetings, Shah says. For example, some people may have their cameras turned off due to self-consciousness about their appearance or the room they are sitting in, or they have disruptive children or pets. Plus, it’s tempting to respond to emails or work on other things while attending a video call. Participants incorrectly assume that if they are muted, no one will notice. “Sustaining attention is harder when trying to avoid distractions,” Shah adds.
Loss of Accountability
Face-to-face communication is essential to team building and productivity because we foster mutual trust and friendship among those with whom we spend a lot of time. Simply put, proximity to others boosts productivity. “You can miss out on the culture that develops from being in the same space as people,” says Katie Lance, CEO and co-founder of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Katie Lance Consulting (katielance.com). “If you struggle with lack of discipline or self-motivation, working outside an office may be challenging.”
Working beside fellow team members every day gives us a sense of accountability for the work—and to each other. Behavior at work is visible to those around us, and that helps us stay on task.
Home Is No Longer a Haven
Home has traditionally been a welcome sanctuary far removed from work. But now that work has come home, remote workers find themselves having to commandeer the kitchen table or put together a makeshift space on the sofa. “Working from home” has essentially become “living at work” and, as a result, the boundaries are blurred, work-life balance is next to impossible, and stress and burnout are becoming increasingly common.
Working from home might work out for someone who is already established in their career and has space dedicated to a home office. Those who are just getting started, however, may find they are missing out on opportunities by not being present with their colleagues in an office setting.
An Alternative to Traditional Offices
Located in the heart of Macomb County, Michigan, American Business Centers offers a solution for those seeking a clearly defined separation between work and home: commitment-free, full-service workspaces that can be leased by the hour, half-day, full day, or monthly.
Executive suites are available at a fraction of the cost of traditional office space and include fully equipped meeting rooms (i.e., audio-visual equipment, video conferencing, admin support, copy, and printing services), professional receptionist, full-time secretary to handle clerical tasks, concierge services, high-speed Internet, copy, fax, scanner and shredder machines.
Virtual offices are also available for those desiring Internet, phone, fax, and mail services.
Tune in next time as we delve into how a coworking space can work for you!