If the devil is in the details, then Judas is in the distractions. Distractions can take many forms for different people, but some unlike what you might expect: technology and media (read: your phone) actually come in third place when it comes to WFH distractions. According to a recent survey from software company Ahaslides, we have much bigger problems than just the IG feed.
When analyzing obstacles to productivity, this recent survey finds that housemates and family members contribute to a whopping 62% of distractions while working from home, well above technology issues (“is the wifi working for you?”) at 43%, and then our phones and TV at 37%. For anyone living with family or housemates, this can hardly come as a surprise.
Where did we go wrong? 21st century home and office design was about “open, open, collaborate, share, knock the walls down!” But now, as a society, we're saying, "just give me some space". Ironic considering just how much space we've been obligated to take this year.
While it's not a possibility for everyone, management expert Timothy Golden has confirmed the importance of a private, designated work space at home. "Research shows that if you have space within your home for a separate room…you can physically, emotionally and psychologically isolate yourself away from the household demands and distractions,” he says. This temporary isolation during the work day leads to higher focus, productivity, and in turn, more mental energy to truly engage when the work day is finished, and you know you've put in a good shift.
But isn't this all a bit counterintuitive? Shouldn't the remedy to social isolation be increased connection with friends and a deeper, richer family life? Well, of course it should, but that doesn't necessarily mean 12 hours a day in the same room. If working in a shared space that is not meant to be collaborative negatively affects productivity, it’s that much easier to get stressed out, and quickly burn out. And if there’s one thing millennials should know, it's that burnt out parents are no fun (and some would argue...no good).
Healthy boundaries are a necessary part of life. Even pre-covid, “work-life balance” has been a hot topic for years. Is it a surprise that we've knocked down boundaries in all areas of our lives and suddenly there's a lack of balance? No, of course not. Our homes, our lives, and now our brains have become one big melting pot of stimulation, responsibilities, and distractions. Being alone, be it to work, play, or unwind, is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it increasingly seems like it may be one of the most important things for us to build the home and the life, we’ve always wanted.