The Nightmare of Working From Home

Working from home has become an ongoing trend in business—Monster Canada reported having 5,000 work from home positions listed on its site, an 18% increase from 2015. There are countless great benefits to working from home like low overhead costs, a greater talent pool to select candidates from, lowered commute times, less traffic, lowered stress, and a positive impact on the environment.

But for all of these benefits, working from home can carry great detriments—the most critical being employee productivity. From an employer’s standpoint, many daily activities can be tracked—calls made can be logged into a CRM like Salesforce, inbound calls can be tracked, and projects with a deadline can, well, be completed by the deadline by whatever measures the employee decides to take in order to have the project complete.

From an employee’s standpoint, however, it can be difficult to muster up the self-discipline to be productive while working from home.

Why? Simply because there are way too many distractions at home.

Family—when working from home, family members can easily become a distraction and get in the way of work. Kids don’t know any better—if mommy or daddy is home, it’s playtime. Spouses, siblings, and parents too can get in the way by sparking up conversations or asking for favors around the house.

House chores—if you didn’t get a chance to throw in that last load of laundry Sunday night, then it might become pretty tempting to do it at some point Monday morning when you happen to be home anyway. Some of us just can’t help it, we’re proud to be organized individuals and won’t stop until all the dishes are clean and all the doorknobs in the house are shimmering.

‘Comfy zones’—another issue with working from home is that your bed is way too close to you which may tempt you to carry your laptop into the bedroom and continue working there…

The only way you will be able to work successfully from home is by creating clear boundaries for yourself and for your family.

Do not disturb—have a meeting with your kids, spouse, or anyone who might be at home during regular work hours. Let them know that during those hours, you’re not accessible and should not be bothered unless there’s an earthquake you’re somehow unaware of.

Company time—remind yourself that during working hours, you’re on company time. If you’re in the basement throwing in a load of laundry while you should be at your desk working, remember that your company and its owners are paying you right now—should you really be doing chores while they’re under the impression that you’re working? You should think of this as not only lying, but also a form of stealing. If you think about company time in this way, being the moral and ethical individual you are, you will get back to work.

Home office—make sure to create an environment in your home dedicated to work. Make it as far away from your bed and couches as possible. If you’re not having client meetings in your home office, then your home office doesn’t need a couch…

Dress for work—dress like you’re going in to work even if you’re working from home. You may have a difficult time taking yourself seriously if you’re making cold calls in your penguin pajamas. Dressing for work will make you feel more professional and help you get into “work mode”.

Lastly, create time boundaries—instead of thinking you can work a few hours here and there, set your workday to regular office hours to keep work time and rest separate.

Navid Amin is Recruitment Consultant at RMSG in Toronto, Canada. Navid helps clients through designing and implementing hiring initiatives. He is passionate about sales, marketing and technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn at ca.linkedin.com/in/navidamin and follow him on Twitter at @Navid_Amin.