The Challenges of WFH

WFH Online

Since the pandemic began, and over one quarter of Australians transitioned to Working from Home [1], unique challenges have presented to employees forced to navigate the blending of family, work and domestic duties. Whilst most individuals have either anecdotal experience or second-hand knowledge of such obstacles, we can now look toward a culmination of COVID-related data, which provides a snapshot of the challenges of  Working from Home over the last few years.

44% of Australians who work from home believe the main challenge is lack of social interaction.

Social isolation is consistently the number one challenge when working from home [1]. Lack of friendships, and an absence of social activities, face-to-face discussions, and informal catch ups, has contributed to prolonged periods of loneliness for many employees [2].

1 in 3 WFH-employees believe the boundaries between work and home are not clear.

Due to an increase in flexible scheduling and a disruption in daily work patterns, the blurring of work and home life boundaries have become a WFH challenge [1] [2]. Various studies have found that employees have difficulty mentally disconnecting from their job after hours as there is no physical separation between spaces [3]. As well as this, with the continual adjustment of childcare and school schedules, domestic and work commitments tend to overlap for parents throughout the day [2].

30% of remote workers believe missed opportunities for collaboration has been a major side effect of the pandemic.

Whilst a noticeable feature of the pandemic was an increased uptake of digital collaboration technologies [2], research suggests this has still led to difficulty communicating with colleagues in a cooperative manner [3]. Consider the third greatest challenge for WFH Aussies[1], this challenge can be attributed to a decrease in informal methods of collaboration, such as quick in-person check-ins, as well as an increase in “Zoom fatigue”, in which employees are emotionally and physically drained by video conferencing, and therefore choose not to engage at all [3].

There are plenty of positives to the Work-from-Home/hybrid models.

Despite such challenges, there still exists benefits to working remotely. Uptake of innovative technologies, cost benefit of staying at home, less time allocated on travel and more toward family, as well as increased productivity have all been listed in recent data as why Australians continue to work remotely, and why the hybrid workplace model has become the new standard for many businesses [1]. 

Knowing the pros and cons of what employees experience as they work from home should help formulate workplace strategy, as well as help dictate the type of mental health policy that is implemented moving forward. Read more about how mindfulness technique can help with Zoom Fatigue.

Related Articles

[1] Mccrindle. (20220. The Benefits and Challenges of Working from Home. 

[2] Al-Habaibeh, A., Watkins, M., Waried, K., Javareshk, M. B. (2021). Challenges and opportunities of remotely working from home during Covid-19 pandemic, Global Transitions, 3(1), 99-108, ??[3] Toniolo-Barrios, M., & Pitt, L. (2021). Mindfulness and the challenges of working from home in times of crisis. Business Horizons, 64(2), 189-197. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2020.09.004

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