There is no stopping companies from going remote. With the benefits of remote working becoming more apparent, we can expect more companies to offer flexible working arrangements for their employees in the years to come. In part, employees also expect the same and would often prefer a remote job over a full-time office arrangement.
Perhaps it’s the ability to work from anywhere and a much flexible schedule that make it appealing to the new wave of workers. However, remote working also has its downsides. And if you’re not aware of them, you might find it difficult to manage your work remotely.
Here we discuss the top 8 remote working challenges that remote workers experience and how to overcome them.
Challenges of Working Remotely
Knowing these remote working challenges will help you prepare even before you start working remotely or easily troubleshoot if you’re already experiencing some of them.
It Gets Lonely
Working remotely often means working alone. Whether at home or in a coffee shop, you can find yourself fully immersed in work with very minimal socialization. While this can be good for your productivity, it can also make you feel isolated and lonely. After some time, you might find it difficult once you finally have to mingle with other people.
To overcome this you need to build socialization into your work routine. Participate in remote team building activities. Go to your office if commuting is possible. Meet up with co-workers within your area. Work in a co-working space a few times a week or month to get a chance to meet new people. You can also look for professional group meetups within your area and participate in them. Do take note that you should choose activities that match your personality and preference.
Not Being Visible to Management and Your Team
The saying “Out of sight, out of mind” can apply to remote working. There can be a tendency for remote workers to feel left out because they aren’t in the office. They can miss out on company events and possible opportunities for career development and growth. If the company does not have a proper remote team policy and development plan in place, remote workers can have difficulty integrating themselves into the company’s culture.
This remote working challenge needs to be managed both by employees and managers. Both parties need to ensure that there’s a regular discussion on the employee’s career plans and that managers layout opportunities for them to be met. Employees should ensure that they attend important online meetings and events. Grab any chance to attend company meetings and events in person if possible. If location is a problem then maximize the use of remote team collaboration tools to stay connected with your team.
Dealing with Misconceptions About Remote Work
One of the remote working challenges that don’t get talked about as often as it should is dealing with misconceptions about remote work. When families and friends hear that you’re working at home, they immediately think your schedule is very flexible or that you don’t work at all. It can be difficult to combat these misconceptions and sometimes it can even take a toll on your self-esteem. When people don’t take your work seriously, they can become distractions and impede you from focusing on work.
It’s important to educate the people around you about the work that you do. Let them know your work schedule. Set boundaries and be comfortable saying “no” to their favors and invitations when you need to work. While remote working is not relatively new, not everyone is acquainted with the concept. When people think about work, they immediately envision it being done in an office setting. It’s our job as remote workers to educate our immediate circle on this new way of working.
Not Having a Proper Workspace
Not having a proper workspace at home can affect your productivity. There are so many distractions at home and if you don’t have a way to separate yourself from these distractions, you will find it difficult to focus on work. Working in front of the TV or on your bed is a big NO. Find a designated space at home where you can focus on just doing work. You can also check more of our tips on working from home effectively for help.
While there are studies that show that productivity is higher when working remotely, it’s highly dependent on the worker’s habits and time management. Having a flexible working schedule can be the cause of remote workers pushing off work and not getting things done. As a result, they cram and get unnecessarily overworked.
While it can be more difficult to maintain accountability and productivity while working remotely, building habits that help you manage your time can help overcome this remote working challenge. Consider making a schedule and identify pockets of time within your day when work, home responsibilities, and personal activities will be done. Stick to your schedule as much as possible and avoid unnecessary distractions. Set deadlines for yourself and do your best to meet those targets. You can also use a time management system to help you handle your work more efficiently.
Unplugging from Work
When working from home, it can be quite difficult to separate your personal life from your work. You might also think that since you’re working from home you need to be always online to show your team and manager that you’re busy. You end up overworking yourself and this can have adverse effects on your productivity and personal health. Just because you’re not working in an office doesn’t mean you don’t need to time out. To overcome this remote working challenge, set up strict working hours and detach yourself from your work when time is up. If you don’t need to be on-call, log off from your work apps and refrain from checking your emails after working hours.
Poor Health Habits
Working remotely, especially at home, can have bad effects on one’s health. Staying in front of your computer for longer periods means lesser physical activities. At times you’d feel just staying in bed after working and this leads to a more sedentary lifestyle. This results in weight gain, poor immunity, and weaker muscles and bones. When working remotely, make an extra effort to set good health habits. Set time for exercise, eat healthy and sleep on time.
Unreliable Internet Connection
When it comes to working remotely, a reliable internet connection is a must. Whether working at home, in a coffee shop, a co-working space, or while travelling, internet connectivity issues can still be experienced. Moreover, with many companies now using employer-of-record services such as Remote to hire remotely from overseas, an internet connection can depend on the strength of the country’s infrastructure. To overcome this remote working challenge, investing in reliable mobile internet devices as back-up is a good way to go.
Overcoming Challenges of Working in a Remote Team
Remote work definitely has its benefits. There’s so much one can gain from the flexibility that comes with it. But on the other side of the coin are remote working challenges that can negatively affect a person’s productivity and personal well-being. With self-discipline, reliable tools, a conducive remote work environment, and routine, coupled with support from your team and manager, you can combat these remote working challenges and be an effective remote worker. Remote work is here to stay. And if you want a thriving career while working remotely, you must have the right mindset towards it.