The distractions associated with working remotely
Due to COVID-19 an increasing number of people are working remotely. Organisations have been thrown into this situation and are unprepared, this has caused some initial hiccups in the transition.
This transition has also been difficult for employees as they struggle with the distractions working remotely from the home environment. Some of these distractions include:
- Children/families – we love our children, spouse, and other family members and they are a constant source of joy in our lives, but when it comes to working from home, they are a major distraction. Children running in during a zoom meeting and asking for a biscuit, your spouse just popping in to tell you he/she is just popping out to the shops and can you watch the children. Sound familiar?
- Pets – some would think this is not a problem but if you have a dog like mine (69kg and very demanding) they can be a distraction. When my dog wants to go for a walk, you don’t argue, it’s now or else 😊. Or puppy needs to go out for a pee, or puss cat needs food, NOW or he/she will fade away from starvation. All very real issues.
- Noise – noises are different at home, the washing machine is going, the TV in the background, the garbage truck going past, kids screaming and dogs barking. Sounds we are not used to in the quiet of the office.
- T.V. – this can be a big one, T.V. in the background, your ears prick up to the latest update on COVID-19 or the news alerts, so you go to watch. How many of you have the news streaming to your computer? Sometimes we even put the T.V. on just to kill the deathly silence in the house. If you live alone, you will know what that is like!
- Mobile phones/tablets – at work, our personal phones tend to be left to go to message bank or we might keep our calls short, but in the safety of your own home, the conversation might linger for longer:
- Social media – this is a major distraction. I mean, how many people have Facebook open in their browser whilst working? How many respond to messages or posts as soon as they come through. I know I do.
- The pantry/snacking – OK, we all know we shouldn’t but how many people get a little snacky a few times a day? I know a few people who go to the pantry, open the door and just stare at it not knowing what to have, or even if they need to have anything. A real time waster and a waist expander. 😊
- Coffee machine/kettle – how many times have you got up from your computer and turned the kettle on, only to go back without making a cuppa? I am sure there are many of us who are having way too much coffee or tea when working from home, just as an excuse to get up from your chair.
- Visitors, postman, rubbish man – these are distractions that you don’t get at work. Bringing the bins in after the garbage truck has emptied them, checking the mailbox after the postie has been, answering the door to visitors, deliveries, etc… Doesn’t seem like a lot but every time you get distracted. It takes time to get back into the work mode again.
- Housework – I will just put a load of washing on, clean the toilet, vacuum, load/unload the dishwasher. All distractions that you would never have in your workplace.
These distractions working remotely are being faced by you and your employees every day. They are manageable but it will take some effort and a few select strategies to assist your employees to work under these new situations.
At the moment, it is all-new but hopefully, with some innovative strategies you can help your employees and team members to incorporate each of these into their normal workday routine without being unduly distracted losing productive work time.
Written by Donna Bowman
Managing Director – EYF Online PD
and Contributing Published Author
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