remote work

4 Challenges of Remote Work (And How to Overcome Them)

With the rise of telecommuting and nomadic lifestyle, remote work has become more and more common.

Many regular employees choose to work remotely instead of commuting to their workplace, and many more freelancers take up online freelancing.

Remote workers are significantly outperforming office-workers; according to a survey done across the U.S in 2019, remote workers say they work more than 40 hours per week, and that is 43% more than on-site workers.

On-site workers state that they work longer hours because it is required, but remote workers say they do so because they enjoy what they do.

So remote workers are notably more motivated than on-site workers.

Even though remote work has many advantages and enhances productivity and work quality, it is not without its challenges.

If you have also chosen to work remotely, these four challenges probably also apply to you. Meeting them head-on will surely make you happier and more productive.

  1. Isolation

Working in an office will ultimately create opportunities for workers to socialize with one another.

People who work in shared offices experience impromptu moments of interaction and share lunch breaks and maybe even after-work drinks.

Remote workers, however, sit behind their computers at home and only have their housemates to talk to (if they have any!).

It is easy to fall into a habit of working from home all day, and that may result in isolation and feeling lonely. 

To avoid developing a “cabin fever” and losing focus and productivity, you must strike a balance between your work and personal life, depending on your personality. 

For example, if you are an extrovert, you are more likely to enjoy interacting with people, so try working at the office for a few days per week.

Avoiding isolation will take a bit more effort if you are an introvert; try working at co-working spaces or familiar coffee shops from time to time and be sure to make socialization into your daily routine.

You can include social breaks in your schedule and get out of the house to do something social after working for a few hours, even if it is grabbing a coffee or eating lunch with friends.

  1. Communication issues

When working remotely, a fluid online communication among team members is indispensable to achieving desirable results, since it is not possible to pass by a co-worker’s desk and have a face to face conversation to clarify misunderstandings or confirm ideas.

Organizations must set proper channels to facilitate a clear and uncomplicated exchange between their team members.

Using tools such as Slack and PukkaTeam will make communication between remote teams easier. But organizations must provide clear guidelines on when and how to communicate with these tools to ensure everybody is involved.

In remote work, the biggest challenge is being able to rely on a fast and stable internet connection to keep the communication going.

An internet outage cripples a remote worker in every sense: it cuts them off from their team members and puts a hold on their work.

The best way to overcome connectivity issues is to invest in a reliable global mobile internet service, like Skyroam or GlocalMe; by doing this, you can have access to the internet and communicate with your co-workers wherever you are.

Asynchronous work schedules and different time zones can also delay the communication between co-workers; you cannot always rely on your fellow team members to be available to respond to an inquiry or address a problem.

To put it briefly, remote workers need to be flexible in managing their different time zones.

  1. Procrastination

Even though remote workers are commonly more productive than on-site workers, not everyone is self-disciplined in that respect.

To avoid procrastination and increase productivity, you can use techniques such as the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique involves dedicating twenty-five minutes of uninterrupted time to a task and then, taking a short break. You can take a thirty-minute long break when you have completed four of these work periods.

When you work remotely, you face many distractions and interruptions that affect your work and may cause you to procrastinate, be it the doorbell or even your children.

To minimize these interruptions, you can set up a kind of signal that lets others know you are not available; it can be a “do not disturb” sign at your door or when you put on your headphones. You can even lock the door and pretend you are not home.

  1. Overworking

One of the reasons many managers oppose remote work is they fear employees will slack off without their in-person supervision. While the opposite is often the case – remote workers tend to overwork.

On-site workers have an easier time; they can leave their pending tasks in their workplace because they have an office routine.

But the right time to unplug from work can be hard to discern for remote workers. Their personal and professional lives are under the same roof; it is harder to “switch off” when your mind stays occupied with an unanswered email as you are getting your dinner ready. 

Making a habit out of tending to every task at every time of the day can affect your health or cause you to burn out.

A great way to help you disconnect is by establishing specific working hours; start your work and finish it at a set time, and be sure to let your teammates know before you leave and turn off your computer.

If you forget to take breaks during your work, use tools such as Windows Task Scheduler to set up reminders every couple of hours so you can stretch or take a little walk.

Remote is the future of work.

Despite the challenges listed above, remote work can be extremely fulfilling and rewarding – as long as you can handle these common issues. 

If you are interested in working remotely as a freelancer, you can join our vetted talent pool at WINaTALENT that allows you to connect with various organizations from across the globe.

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