Challenges of Working Remotely and How to Overcome Them
Working remotely can be one of the most rewarding ways to earn money, but it is not without its challenges. Work from home jobs can allow you to live where you want and spend more time on the things you love, but if you are used to spending your days in an office or meeting with your team members face-to-face, working from home can be difficult.
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can overcome the challenges of working remotely and make it work for you.
It is easy to get distracted at home. You may have roommates, pets, kids, video games, a kitchen that needs to be cleaned, and any other number of distractions to keep you from doing your work. If you’re not careful, you can let the distractions get you off task, and before you know it, the workday is over and you’ve gotten nothing done.
The best way to manage distractions is to avoid them. Set aside a part of your home that is dedicated to working. Make it clear to the other people who live with you that while you are working, you have to stay focused. Ask them nicely to leave you alone during your work time so that you can get things done. If you have small children, you may need to define what counts as a necessity and what can’t wait until you are done.
It’s also important to make this area distraction-free. If you have items that will compete for your attention, such as a video game system, move it to another room.
Time management is fairly easy at work. You have a time when you get there, times to take breaks, and a time to leave. When working remotely, there’s no one to set the schedule but you. Other than calls and video chats, you can likely do your work when you want.
With this newfound freedom of time, you may find yourself working too much or too little. Both can be bad. The best way to make sure you are doing the appropriate amount of work while not overdoing it is to create a schedule. Figure out what you need to get done and when. Set deadlines. Make sure you also include time for breaks, leisure, and self-care. Balance your time wisely, just as you would if you were going to the office each day.
If you are new to working remotely, it can be difficult getting used to the isolation you may feel. This can be especially true if you had lots of work friends and spent the day chatting and collaborating. It can be even more difficult if you live alone.
Try not to let the isolation get to you. If work was the bulk of your social life, it is time to get more social outside of work. Make plans to grab dinner with friends. Take up a new hobby that lets you spend time with others, such as a class or a sport. If your house gets too quiet during the workday, pack up your laptop and head to a coffee shop. Sometimes just being around other people can make you feel less isolated.
You probably didn’t realize how much you relied on in-person communication until you started working remotely. Now, if you need an answer on something, you have to wait until your coworker checks their messages or emails. Plus, you don’t want to send a message about every little thing.
There are easy ways around communication problems, especially with all of the great resources to help us stay connected. First, try to set up a daily video chat with members of your team. That way, everyone can touch base and stay productive. Throughout the day, use a note-taking app on your phone to record ideas and questions you want to bring up at the next meeting. Encourage others on your team to do the same.
You can also set up a tool like Evernote, Google Docs, or Milanote, which lets everyone on your team record ideas in one place. This system can really keep everyone connected.
Just as technology makes working remotely possible, it can also pose challenges. You may not be fortunate enough to have the caliber of high-speed internet at home as you did at the office. You may find yourself having slow connection speeds right when you need to make an important video call with a client.
There are a few ways to deal with connectivity issues. If you are working in a corner of your house that doesn’t get a good WiFi signal, consider getting a booster. Tell everyone else in the house to get off the internet if you have an important meeting. If issues still persist, you may need to look into getting better internet service. Your company may even be willing to help pay for this.
Working remotely presents a unique set of challenges, but all of these challenges can be overcome as long as you are willing to make a few changes. With the right setup and the right mindset, you can make working remotely a positive experience.