It has been almost a year since we faced the wrath of COVID-19. Staying home has been both a blessing and stressful times for most of us. Flexible working hours and working from home was a dream come true to most when our Malaysian Government announced the Movement Control Order (MCO) back in March 2020. We all have to admit and accept the fact that everyone, both employer and employee, has had a day where we dream of staying home and working from home in their pyjamas and just be oblivious to what is happening in the workplace.
So, what is there to complain about? That’s when the pandora box opens.
Don’t get me wrong, some people excel at working from home and have been doing it for years, never seeing the issues of doing so.
However, working from home isn’t for everyone and here’s why:
Tell me, where is your workstation when you’re working from home? Is it the dining table, the island top, or the coffee table?
If you have a designated home office with an ergonomic chair and work desk, you’re one step closer to a better working from home experience. When you slump or slouch awkwardly at your desk, you put your posture and back at risk. You’ll start feeling soreness at your back, neck and shoulders then eventually seek medical help from chiropractors or physiotherapists.
That doesn’t sound too good, does it?
I learnt the hard way when I had to go back to seeing my physiotherapist during MCO. I didn’t realize how bad my posture was affected until she had a “fun time” massaging the knots off my back & shoulders. The comforting news was “You’re not the first. Many patients come back with the same issues”. It got me thinking about investing in a home office. I mentally calculated the investment and return on investment (ROI) on this. Setting up your home office incurs costs and in times where most employees are taking pay cuts or unpaid leaves, it is a stretch to fork out that extra moolah for the perfect home office. Of course, if your company is open to subsidizing your workstation it is great news.
However, if it is unfavorable to your wallet you will need to rethink your options.
Your house’s Internet connection is being strained like never before.
We rely on a steady Internet connection to work from home successfully and it is especially worrying if you’re working from home with your family especially young kids, who are attending virtual classes and assignments. Not to mention the short intermittent breaks and to stay entertained with YouTube videos, mobile games and other online entertainment.
If you’re having issues with slow internet access, it's harder to get work done effectively and engagement with your team and clients from home. It drags your day-to-day productivity down. Simple tasks may take longer than usual.
You’re torn between upgrading your Internet package and hoping the government eases on the restriction and you’ll be able to head back to the office soon. Laggy Internet connection disrupts the quality of your conference calls and it may result in the loss of important details brought up during the meeting. A supposed short half-hour meeting may drag into an hour long, just from trying to figure out what the other party is trying to convey and it is extremely frustrating for the both of you. The worst part of it all is that this is only the beginning of many more online communications.
I’m an introvert, having little to no social interaction should be ok, right? But why am I feeling so restless at home? Even the most introverted among us can start feeling a little claustrophobic after a few weeks at home, alone, working on projects for long hours. It can get lonely. For you extroverts, I can only guess how agitated you may feel not being able to engage in conversations with another person, other than your family and pets.
Besides that, you not only get disconnected from your team but also the lack of social support needed to stay engaged and motivated in your work zones. Offices have become the hub for social interaction where you can openly share your doubts and questions and get feedback instantly without the possibilities of a misunderstanding of intention or words. One of the main ways people socialize at work when they are working from home is via business messaging apps like Slack or video conferencing platforms like Google Meet and Zoom. However, it misses that human connection while engaging in discussions.
The bed and fridge have never looked more tempting than what it already is. Every now and then, you find yourself walking towards the kitchen and opening up the fridge hoping something magically appears on the shelves but it never did but you still repeated the process every so often. Not forgetting, your mind slowly creates catastrophic “what-if” scenarios of the future and reading off the house chores to-do list. As a result of this monkey mind, it’s nearly impossible for you to focus on the work at hand. Before you know it, it’s 6 pm but your tasks at hand are not getting any shorter.
While home is where the heart is, it isn’t always the most conducive environment to be producing efficient work. After a week of working from home, I decided it is best that I am stationed back in the office. Plug my headphones in, laptop set up on a work desk and go through my to-do list like a champ. If you haven’t already figured it out, I work in a coworking space. I can change up my setting in different corners of the space and be colleagues with different individuals every other day. As I focus on my work, I get to know them better too.
Coworking spaces are more than just another office.
You get to meet people from different walks of life and of different skill sets. They may not be your teammate but they act as the ideal of your colleague for the time being until you’re allowed back into the office. Whenever you need a breather or just someone to talk to, having someone in the same boat provides comfort. You’re not alone in this so don’t be alone. Join a coworking space community whenever you need the break from your bubble. Feel free to invite your teammates to join you if you like.
Coworking spaces, too, comply with the SOPs to protect their staff and members. While there are two sides to the work from home culture, always remember to weigh your options and figure out what works best for you. You are not a robot, working hard only for a paycheck. Care about where you work, how you work and who you work with. A supportive community of remote workers like yourself exist! Forward School has a community Slack channel as well where we share the projects that we’re working on, announcements, community events and most of the time just sharing memes that tickle your funny bone.
We understand that having a good working relationship with your team and clients helps push the progress of your work and the concept of spending on monthly rent for a space that you may barely utilize can hurt your wallet. Many coworking spaces nowadays offer flexible packages that allow you to use their open working space and facilities at as low as RM18 per day. On days that you need to attend important conference calls, coworking spaces are your best drop-ins.
➡ With the Forward FlexiPass, we can help you get business done more efficiently and work more productively. We can be your one-stop office space and colleagues.