Did you hear about the board member’s husband crossing behind her in his underwear while on a Zoom call? Work from home is the new norm these days - but it can go seriously wrong if you’re not careful. If you came to this blog post to see #WFHFails, check out this video by the Ellen Show

Rather, this article focuses on several difficult situations that can arise while working from home if you are not mindful, and how to avoid them. Anything is possible, from burnout to funny and embarrassing moments. Here’s a look at some work from home disasters to avoid.

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Mixing Work Life and Home Life

It’s easy to mix your home and work life as you try to work from home. Is it a big deal, though? What could possibly go wrong? Everything. This is one of the worst mistakes that you could make while working from home. Work-life balance is crucial, and that’s why you should not allow your home life to spill over into your work life. 

You remember the classic work-from-home disaster gone viral with the BBC guy whose kids interrupted a live broadcast?

As in the BBC example, you need a clear separation between work and life space. If you work from home and do not have childcare, for example, it could be challenging to focus when there are constant distractions and interruptions caused by your little one. When this happens, it impacts your ability to actually get any work done, as you’ll be more busy attending to your child’s needs or trying to quell the distractions. You also risk disaster if you immerse yourself too far into your work, as this will lead to struggling when you wish to disconnect from work and focus on your home life. 

To compensate for not being in the office, you may find yourself responding to an email as soon as it comes in (distracting yourself from your home life) or always checking your social media page for updates (distracting yourself from work). Try your hardest to avoid this.

Burnout

Though working from home used to be thought of as a dream situation, we are now reckoning with the notion that we might be in this pandemic for the long haul. It’s not uncommon to be “zoomed out” at the end of back-to-back online meetings. 

Recent data revealed that more than two-thirds of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home. Burnout is a reality in the age of remote work, and there’s no indication of an end to this situation. This can have serious consequences for anyone working from home. Do you allow yourself some time to recharge from the demands and stresses of work? The blurred lines between personal and professional life have many employees struggling to establish clear, healthy boundaries. A number of things can contribute to employee burnout, including employees working extra hours to demonstrate their commitment to an employer who raised concerns about productivity; no planned break for a vacation or time to decompress; working parents who have the added task of childcare with remote, online learning for the new school year; and others who are driven by financial worries (along with the related stresses of potential layoffs if they don’t work hard enough). You have to make time for yourself, away from work, so that you can reboot.

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How to Keep Work and Home Life Separate

You can keep work and home life separate by being proactive:

  • Maintain Regular Office Hours: While working from home allows you the flexibility to operate on your own schedule, having regular office hours allows you to work more effectively and be productive. Having a consistent schedule will help you to not work beyond the set hours.
  • Have a Designated Workspace: You should have a primary space in your home where you can work without distractions. If you already have a home office, great. If not, convert a spare room into office space, or use other spaces such as an attic, garage, or closet.
  • Forget the Distractions: While working from home, household chores will likely be an ever-present distraction that’s begging for your attention. However, ignore the pile of laundry until you are done with your work tasks for the day.
  • Avoid Overscheduling: Working from home doesn’t mean that you can take on added tasks. Overscheduling yourself can be a recipe for disaster. Focus on your work assignments, do them well, and stay on schedule. You should only take on other projects if you have a little extra time. 
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Ways to Liven Up Your Designated Workspace

Livening up your designated workspace can help to combat burnout. You can liven up your designated workspace in a number of ways, such as:

  • Getting organized: Rid yourself of clutter that can make your space disorganized and overwhelming.
  • Personalizing your workspace: Adding a personal touch to your workspace, with family photos, art, plants, or even a fun mousepad, can add a level of comfort and flair that will help you get through the workday.
  • Letting adequate light into your workspace: Ensure that your workspace is well lit, whether with natural light from the sun or artificial light like a desk lamp.
  • Adding a little noise: Add some noise, whether playing your favorite music list or enjoying the relaxing and calming sound of water flowing down a stream. This can help to keep your mood upbeat and even help you to focus.

How to Ensure You’re Still Accomplishing Your Work Goals

Working from home doesn’t make your professional work any less important. You have work goals to meet and a boss to keep happy. While working from home can be distracting, you can ensure that you are still accomplishing your goals in a number of effective ways. Avoid multitasking, which could prevent you from finishing the first task you start out with, and stay focused on your goal-specific tasks. Refrain from dealing with personal tasks during your work hours no matter how tempting it is. Most importantly, plan your workday to limit distractions and maximize your productivity.

You don’t have to fall victim to work from home disasters if you practice good habits that will prevent embarrassing moments, burnout, and an imbalance of home and work life. Establish a designated workspace or quiet space, liven up your space, plan your workdays, stick to your schedule, and focus on your goals. Working from home can be a big success. For help with any marketing tasks you’re trying to accomplish from home, contact the experts at Ironmark. We’re here and ready to help.

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Written by Juliet Hulse

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