The year 2020 created a massive shift in workplace culture. At the start of the pandemic, masses of employees vacated their cubicles and quickly set up offices in the comfort of their own homes.
That shift was significant. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 Community Survey, the number of people who primarily worked from home tripled between 2019 and 2021.
Years later, corporate offices have opened up their doors and dusted off their desks again, but it seems that plenty of Americans are sticking to their home offices. The Pew Research Center found that the majority of remote workers are choosing not to return to their corporate workspaces.
Working from home comes with a lot of benefits. It requires no stressful commute in the morning. It reduces weekly transportation costs. And it allows workers to have more work-life balance. However, it can come with some tricky problems.
Find out what you can do to resolve these common work-from-home problems.
1. Poor Office Setup:
Your home doesn’t have a spare room for an office. You’ve been making do with your living room couch or your kitchen counter. These are not ideal workspaces. They’re uncomfortable, cluttered, and bound to diminish your productivity.
You should set up a dedicated office. If you don’t have a spare room available, you could try to convert a closet into a small, convertible office space (sometimes called a “cloffice”). It’s compact and effective.
If you have a large backyard, you could build yourself a shipping container office out there. You can go to a website like Boxhub.com and search for the shipping container size that you’d like. You’ll have a choice between a 20-foot container and a 40-foot container. Choose a container that’s a one-trip grade — this will mean it’s fairly new. You should always pick a new container (not a used one) for creating a functional living space.
Once you’ve picked your container, you can have it delivered to your backyard and then convert it into your dream office space.
2. Old Equipment:
Your work equipment is old and out of date. You need to get upgrades to perform better, but you don’t have the budget for it.
The simplest solution is to ask your employer for help. They may offer a stipend to remote workers to assist them with equipment expenses. Or they might offer to reimburse employees for certain equipment expenses.
Some states have reimbursement laws that require employers to reimburse employees for work-related expenses, including remote work expenses. Check your state laws to see what your employer is legally obligated to do.
Sometimes, working remotely can be isolating. You might feel that you miss the company that comes with a packed workplace, even though you still prefer to work from home. What can you do?
You can embrace a hybrid work schedule. Lots of corporate offices are adopting hybrid work schedules where they have their staff split workdays between home and the office. Some workplaces will offer mandatory hybrid schedules, whereas some will offer it as a suggestion. If your workplace is offering the latter option, you should take advantage of it. Go to the office at least once a week. Seeing your colleagues could make you feel more motivated and energized.
If that’s not an option, create a hybrid schedule for yourself. Work in your home office for most of the week, and then change your work environment for a day or two. You could bring a laptop to a coffee shop, a public library, or a coworking space in your area.
These problems don’t have to bog you down when you’re working remotely. You can get around them. Follow these solutions!