Home is Where the Hurdle is: 7 of the Most Common Challenges for Remote Workers and How to Overcome Them
7 of the Most Common Challenges for Remote Workers and How to Overcome Them
After the pandemic, remote workers continue to fuel the economy. Despite the convenience of working from home, employees have challenges to overcome so they can stay productive. Finding solutions is worthwhile, as remote workers are usually highly productive and have a better work-life balance than on-site workers.
Distractions from other household members, pets, online activities, and errands can impact productivity in the home. Still, remote workers have plenty of solutions to consider, including having a separate room for your home office. In doing so, you can have a space insulated from potential diversions, especially as you can close the door to limit distractions.
In addition, you can use a virtual address, so you don’t have to waste your time with excursions to the post office. If smartphone apps and online activities like shopping or playing video games are eating into your productivity, you have options.
For instance, you can remove apps from your phone to avoid temptation in the first place. Alternatively, schedule your day with video game time during your non-working hours. By doing so, you’ll get your work done first, then reward yourself with play.
Likewise, pets don’t understand when their humans are busy at work. If your dog is craving attention throughout the day, enroll them in doggie daycare, or hire someone to come to your home to walk your pup so you can get your work finished.
Separating work and life
When your home is your office, it can be challenging to separate the two. The best way to keep the two distinct is to work between certain hours, then stop and “go home” as you would from an on-site office. You could even ask a friend or family member to alert you when it’s time to stop working.
Some remote workers become lonely working from home. They also find they have more tasks because they do not have a team to help with the undertakings. After all, many workers become friends with the people in the office, but it’s tough to get to know someone through virtual meetings and online conversations.
Employers can help their remote workers by organizing virtual meetings and activities. Remote video conferencing tools can be especially valuable as they can build team connections and encourage collaboration. However, if that is not enough or you struggle to connect with others, consider psychological help if you become overwhelmed.
When you’re not at the office daily, decision-makers might forget that you exist. The boss might ignore your questions, and they might skip over you when the best projects and promotions arise. Not all bosses know how to work with remote employees, so it’s a good idea to make yourself known where practical.
Some remote workers spend a day or two at the office. If this isn’t a possibility, try to attend occasional in-person meetings or go to lunch with colleagues. You could also send a weekly or monthly recap sharing your achievements with your boss so they know what you’re working on and how you’re contributing to the company.
You might have to make an effort to get your name in front of your boss. Nevertheless, remember that you aren’t fighting traffic on a daily commute.
Managing time zone differences
The beauty of working remotely is that it allows people to work for great companies without relocating. Of course, you might have to coordinate schedules with people who work in different time zones.
When that’s the case, you’ll need to work on your work-life balance. You might find that 8:00 PM is the ideal time for meetings, but it interferes with your time. Employers and remote workers will need to figure out how to make time work for the team and relaxation.
One option is to track your hours and accomplishments, so your boss knows why you might not be available during traditional office hours. You could invite your boss to your evening meetings to show you are working.
Remote workers are often highly productive because they don’t have workplace distractions. However, some remote workers try to multitask as a way to get work and life in balance. Multitasking does not improve productivity. Instead, it’s liable to slow you down.
You can solve the problem of multitasking by focusing on one task at a time. Remote workers often turn to the Pomodoro technique, where they schedule short bursts of work followed by a period of relaxation. With that in mind, set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes. Work during this time and then set the timer for five minutes of downtime. People are more efficient when they work in short bursts.
Successful remote workers set daily goals, then focus on completing them. They also remove distractions from their workspaces. Workers who use the Pomodoro technique spend their five minutes of free time on their phones or reading a book, then do a short-burst work time.
When you work on-site, you have a dedicated tech team readily available to address problems. Moreover, businesses typically have higher-grade internet connections compared to what is usually subscribed to at home. So, when you’re at home, you’re on your own. If your internet goes down, you might have to reschedule your day.
You can avoid this problem disrupting your work day by having a backup location, like a coffee shop or library, that you can use if your internet stops working. You can also ask your boss to ensure easy access to the tech team so you can work without any problems.
Remote workers around the world need to have a common language. Unfortunately, language differences can make remote collaboration challenging.
Given this, try to show your appreciation for language skills and send emails giving non-native English speakers time to read and understand your messages. Native speakers should be available to answer questions.
Challenges arise in every workplace, but in a remote setting, the problems seem larger because you’re the one who has to solve them. When there is a problem, pause and give yourself time to work through it, then ask for help if you need it.