Remote work was already a growing trend long before the COVID-19 pandemic came about and flipped the whole world upside down. When the virus changed everything, the meaning of remote work was included in those changes. It was no longer a choice whether employees could or would work from home. It simply became the only option.
While plenty of people couldn’t be happier to adjust to new, remote lifestyles, for many, working from home was not a choice they ever would have wanted.
Working from home has always come with its challenges for the freelancers, entrepreneurs, and employees that have done it. Sure, you get to lose the commute and gain a bit more autonomy over when and how you work, but it’s not always perfect. Especially in the new circumstances, working from home comes with its own issues.
The Work From Home Challenge
The workforce has, without much time to do so, adapted to the new circumstances that have been thrown its way. Yet, it has been a challenge. Whether simply because it was a lot to adjust to all at once, the difficulty of coping with the fact that home and work are in the same place, or the struggle to work in such isolation as the home environment creates, there are reasons why it might not be so easy.
A Difficult Learning Process
For many, these unprecedented circumstances mean the first time ever in their lives giving this whole work-from-home thing a shot. If you’re new to it, working from home can be a lot to get used to. Working to figure it out, it can feel like you’re flailing about and will never get the hang of this.
While you may not have had much choice in the matter, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the best of it. You’ll need to learn how to make communication work for you from a distance, set a schedule you can follow, and determine how boundaries can be put up to separate work and home. It can be done, but no, it won’t be easy.
No Separation of Home and Work
The fact is that, when you’re working from home, it becomes incredibly easy to lose all semblance of a distinction between work and home. Responsibilities of the house such as kids or chores may come up right in the middle of the workday. Without a set end to office hours, it can be hard to pull yourself away from work tasks in the evening. There’s just nothing to keep the two sectors of your life from blending into one another.
If you have a particularly important work project to complete, being at home can make things quite difficult. As focused as you might be, the distractions will come to you. It might be that Amazon order is finally making its arrival, your roommate with a conversation to start who just can’t understand you’re busy, or your child who’s hungry again or needs your attention for some other truly urgent matter. These interruptions often can’t be avoided and they really may be important, but work is important too, so it can be frustrating to not be able to escape the constant disruptions and just get down to it.
Of course, there may be times that you have the opposite problem. When nothing is pulling you away, it can be difficult to pull yourself away from all the work that never ends. You may struggle to define when work begins and when you should allow for it to end. It is simply not healthy to work nonstop without a break and when quitting time comes, you need to be able to stop yourself from checking just that one more email. It can wait until the morning, but it is, naturally, difficult to convince yourself of this in the moment that the notification appears.
A Quarantine of Isolation
Another common struggle of those that work from home is loneliness. This is especially true in the unique circumstances that suddenly grew the population of work-from-home employees. Without going out to socialize or even having your coworkers around for a chat, it can get really lonely at home.
Extroverts, in particular, may have really found the loss of workplace connections to be a hard hit. Humans are social creatures though, so even the most solitary among us does not desire complete isolation. If that’s where the work-from-home situation of the pandemic has left you, working from home just may not be a lifestyle that can support you. To the extent that it is safe to do so, you need to find a different way to work. You need to find the way that works for you.
Coworking Spaces as the Light at the End of the Tunnel
A lot has changed quite suddenly, and changes will only continue. The working world has been permanently affected, leaving us only to question what will come next. For many, there will never be a return to their old offices, and that, truly, does change everything.
In a way, it makes a lot of sense for businesses to decide to stick with work-from-home. They didn’t have much choice in getting started with it, but now that we’ve been living with it for quite some time, the motivation to return may be lost. If work is efficiently getting done while employees are at home, business owners may not see a reason to keep paying the lease for office space that’s not getting used. Now that the benefits of remote work have been seen, “why go back?” is the question from the manager’s perspective.
However, from the perspective of the employee who has been struggling with working from home, this may not be all good news. The difficulties of work-from-home may then just have an undefinable end date, unless you can put an end to it yourself with a solution. If you just have to get out of the house but the old office isn’t available, you might try a coworking space. These workplaces are the light at the end of the tunnel, allowing you a place to go and work even while remote work continues on.
Benefits You Can Safely Enjoy
Coworking spaces are already ready for you to make of them your new workplace. Along with all the changes that have overtaken society, these spaces have adapted. They have taken on all the necessary virus-prevention precautions and have gone beyond these to make their offices ideal spaces for newly-remote employees trying to get some work done. At a coworking space, you will even be able to enjoy the benefit of community without worrying about pandemic risk, which has been mitigated.
The world has changed and things are likely not going back to how they were anytime soon. What we have to do is simply find ways to adapt to new ways of life that are safe. A coworking space may be a way for you to accomplish safely getting work done while surrounded by a welcoming environment.
A Place Just for Work
Unlike your home office, which may only be the living room couch or the dining room table, coworking spaces are places made for getting work done. Distractions may be inevitable no matter where you are, but it does help to distance yourself from them. Instead of trying to complete the important project in the same space as children are homeschooling, the chores are lying unfinished, and every other commotion is taking place, find focus in a place that is just for work.
There is a definite benefit to having a space that is reserved exclusively for getting work tasks done. It allows for better work-life balance, as the two spheres can exist separately. In a private office where family, roommates, or just the sight of other responsibilities can’t get to you, you can successfully focus on just getting the work done. In addition, keeping your work in one distant location can help keep it from encroaching on the time that is meant to be reserved for the activities of actual home life. Both productivity and satisfaction increase when you decide to do your remote work in a coworking space.
A Community of Fellow Coworkers
One of the greatest advantages of coworking spaces are the communities that come included with your office space. As humans are such social creatures, it may really be a necessity to escape the isolation of your current work environment. And, more than just providing the ability to get out of isolation, coworking spaces can provide you with just the right sort of people to connect with. As you complete your work, you can also network and truly thrive.
That is the beauty of coworking spaces. They bring widely varying people together in one environment to mingle and meet. You are not required to get to know any of your coworking neighbors, of course, but doing so not only allows you to meet your socialization needs, but will also open you up to new ideas and different ways of thinking.
No matter how comfortable we may have all gotten with zoom meetings, there will always be something special about being able to meet up with those that share the same spaces as we do. It’s a community. At the heart of all the coworking spaces, it’s a community that makes these places into what they are.
The Ideal Solution of Coworking Spaces
There are pros and cons to all the different ways to work. Some may still be rejoicing that their home can be their office, while others are dying for a new solution. Regardless of how exactly you feel about the situation, if you’re stuck with remote work, a coworking space could be the solution for you. The benefits of these spaces may not be evident as you’ve been left without many other choices. It may just be time to give coworking a try.