5 Challenges of Working Remotely
Working remotely, at first glance, sounds like the ultimate dream.
From a management perspective, working remotely makes it easier to hire remote employees since there are fewer geographical restrictions and access to more candidates. It also makes life easier in terms of managing and retaining talent since it is possible to attract global talent, without the need for relocation. Additionally, companies don’t have to pay for an office space rental, a snack bar, and any heating or air-conditioning bill.
On the flip side, employees love working remotely because it offers them convenience and flexibility. After all, who enjoys having a long commute to the office and sitting in a cubicle all day? Being a remote worker means that you can literally lounge in your sweatpants, attend a meeting, and watch an episode of Gilmore Girls — all at the same time. Not really, but you get the point.
However, working remotely isn’t always just sunshine and rainbows. In fact, remote work has some significant challenges and drawbacks that you should be aware of before jumping in headfirst. Therefore, if you want to learn about some challenges associated with working remotely, read on to learn more.
Isolation and loneliness
Working remotely is, indeed, lonely at times.
While you may not miss having your boss nag you all day long, you certainly will miss the laughs you shared with your favorite colleagues by the water cooler. Your “quick” lunch in the break room. And the Friday happy hours. Perhaps even the holiday parties. You get the picture.
At the end of the day, we’re humans, and we’re social creatures. We enjoy the feeling of being around each other. And that’s a feeling that cannot be matched by any face-to-face meeting you have from behind a screen.
Even if one of the reasons you enjoy working remotely is to get away from too many people, not seeing or interacting with co-workers can greatly impact your mental health. Thus, it’s important to not go into hermit mode and put effort into going outside from time to time. Whether it’s a fancy lunch with your significant other or even a quick coffee run, being out in the world can help you feel less isolated and lonely. Remember — even introverts need some sort of interaction to function!
Finding a good work-life balance
Most managers oppose remote work because they fear employees will slack off without physical, in-person oversight. However, the reality is typically the opposite: remote workers tend to overwork. And that is why maintaining a healthy work-life balance is one of the biggest challenges of working remotely.
Since your home doubles as your office, the lines between your personal and professional life often get blurred and it becomes harder to log off of work. Work is never-ending, and one quick pending task can spiral into a late-night working session.
It’s important to set boundaries and ensure that you’re only available during your working hours, as you would be if you were working from a normal physical office. Similarly, setting reminders to take a break and step back from the computer can go a long way in helping you improve your work-life balance.
Let’s face it: communication is the cornerstone of any successful company culture.
How businesses communicate and collaborate remotely is critical to building trust. Clear, concise, and respectful communication is essential for the success of any company, whether it is a small startup or an established corporation.
While having a diverse team spread across different locations and with different backgrounds can be an asset, it can also be a liability. Due to time differences, you may be going to bed when your co-worker is waking up. Maybe some members of your team are working from the office, and you’re not. This might make you feel as if you are out of the loop, and you may be paranoid about your teammates making decisions without you.
When collaboration becomes a problem and communication breaks down, a remote office can quickly turn into an unproductive mess of double-checking. It can lead to things being lost in translation, or sometimes not even said at all. It’s easy to lose empathy when we lack body language and shared experiences. This leads to miscommunication, mistrust, and conflict among co-workers. Hence, you’re more likely to face issues with your communication at some point — whether you realize it or not.
Working remotely can feel monotonous, to say the least.
With your entire day spent at home, you’re essentially creating a full-time job for yourself where accountability isn’t provided by a boss and your work schedule is entirely up to you. While that freedom can be very liberating and exciting, it also means that one false move can have major consequences on your productivity and your bottom line.
It can be hard to be motivated when there are so many distractions around the house. In the blink of an eye, a social media post or an unwelcome visitor could throw you off work for minutes or hours. We know it’s easier said than done, but in order to stay on track with your tasks, you need to be highly motivated and driven.
Regardless of how much space you have, you can set up your own office. Ideally, your workspace should be in a spare bedroom or tucked away in a quiet corner of your house. Make sure this area is well-organized, clean, and free of anything that could distract you.
Taking care of your health
You know what they say — health is wealth.
Getting adequate amounts of sunlight, exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep are all extremely important. Often, the routine of a traditional job provides these things for you without you having to think about them.
However, when you strip away from your normal routine, you might find that you feel tired, depressed, or sick without knowing the reason why. When you’re working from the office, you’re constantly on the go. From rushing to take the train to going down to the deli to get a quick lunch, your body is always active. However, when you’re working from home, your workday looks a lot different. Taking all meetings from the comfort of your home will rarely make you get up and move around. Maybe you’ll take a few steps to the fridge to get a snack or two during the day. But unless you’re dedicated to remaining fit or working out, that’s all the physical activity you’ll do.
It’s important to remember that a world exists out of your computer when working remotely. Get up from your desk. Stay active. Go out and see the sun. The options are endless, and they will all help you stay in good health.