Remote work has its benefits: No commute, low-stress level, setting your own working hours, spending more time with family, and more.
Plus, you work without shoes on. 🙂
But, remote working is not all rainbows and smiles., it also has its challenges.
According to Buffer’s State of Remote Work Report, remote workers struggle with unplugging from their work, loneliness, and communicating.
In this article, we’ll discuss seven common challenges of working remotely, and tips on how to overcome them.
7 Common Remote Work Challenges (+Solutions)
Challenge #1: Isolation
Let’s face it: You may feel isolated when your home suddenly becomes your office.
In offices, you shape your creative muscles by arguing, discussing, high-five, and celebrating together.
Or do non-work activities like playing TT, grab a coffee, or go out for lunch with your colleagues. These activities can help develop a strong relationship between coworkers.
When you go remote, you don’t have these luxuries. And you focus your time on “work” rather than relationship building and you often feel isolated and disconnected from coworkers.
The Solution: Use tools to make a human connection with teams
Today, companies focus on building a positive remote team culture because a company knows that personal bonds formed between team members actually give their company a competitive edge.
Here are some activities and tools that you can use to foster a positive connection with your teams:
Virtual quizzes: Use tools such as Trivia to create virtual quizzes and play with teams.
Movie night: Use tools such as Netflix Party to watch a movie with your team.
Challenge #2: Lack of Work Structure
One of the biggest challenges of remote working is the lack of work structure. With different deadlines, colleagues, tasks, communication styles, and priorities, keeping everything on track and running the entire process smoothly often feels like a battle. You need clear objectives to be productive, but structuring the work is tricky.
The Solution: Regular one-to-one with clear and flexible agendas
For some, working from home is a huge adjustment. Empathize with your colleagues and be patient as everyone settles in.
Check-in with your team and employee from time to time with clear and flexible agendas. Ask your remote employees to reach out to you if there’s any confusion. You can also check on their schedule and deliverables, especially if there are any changes.
Here are some ways:
Challenge #3: Burnout
One of the biggest shifts for remote work was actually the lines between work and non-work are blurring. And employees who are working remotely for the first time are likely to struggle to preserve healthy boundaries between their professional and personal lives.
So, what can you do to manage your stress while working remotely?
The Solution: Time-blocking
The key is balance. Give yourself enough time during the day to walk away from your computer screen and phone. Move around, play with your kids, take a step back, and don’t forget to clock out at the end of your shift.
Create a fun lineup of songs if listening to music while working is your jam. Share it with your colleagues too to share the vibe.
Challenge #4: Prioritizing works
One of the oldest remote working struggles is knowing how to prioritize your work. With more jobs to do, non-stop emails, and higher expectations, it can be overwhelming to decide what deserves your attention.
When priorities are piling up, you need a transparent system in place to take you from overwhelmed to under control.
So, how can you prioritize your tasks and time?
The Solution: Plan your tasks and time
Get ready like you’re going to the office. Set your alarm, take a bath, and wear nice clothes. Plan your day while making yourself a good cup of coffee too. This helps prepare your mind and body for a productive day of working.
Before you start, list down your priorities for the day. Set pockets of time to complete your tasks and make sure you stick to your schedule.
Here are some ways to plan and manage tasks:
Challenge #5: Unplugging after work
For most remote workers, this is the worst of all the challenges associated with remote working. A typical office worker checks out at 6 or 7 PM, drives home to his or her family, and spends the evening doing some leisure activity.
But while working from home, it’s difficult to unplug. The struggle is real.
According to a Remote.co survey, unplugging after work hours is the biggest challenges remote workers face in their working lives.
What’s the solution?
The Solution: Set your working schedule (and stick to it)
Start and end work on time to establish the boundary between work life and home life. Managers of remote workers need to really encourage their teams to develop healthy boundaries between home and office.
Decide your working hours and inform your manager and team. Here are some more ideas:
Challenge #6: Dealing with distractions
Distractions at home were the 4th most common challenges reports in Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Working report. It’s a productivity killer that can turn remote working into a nightmare and compromise team progress.
You may get an unexpected visitor, or your family could have unrealistic expectations of what you can do while working from home. It can reduce your productivity.
So, what’s the solution?
The Solution: Set up your home office
Working from home all of a sudden can be a major adjustment. Coordinate with your spouse, children, or roommate on work schedules and designate chores equally.
Having a space in the house purely for work can help you get into the right mindset. Working in leisure spaces like the bedroom or the couch can hamper productivity because the brain associates it with sleep or rest.
Here are some more ideas:
Activate “Do not Disturb mode” in Slack: Do you need to focus on a task? Activate Slack’s Do Not Disturb feature. When you turn on the DND mode, Slack stops sending you notifications.
Challenge #7: Effectively managing your time and projects
Working from home means that you’ll have to manage your own time and be responsible to meet project deadlines without reminders from coworkers.
So, what’s the solution?
The Solution: Time management and project management tools
Here are some ideas and tools:
Calendar tools to keep things on track: When’s a good time to sit down with the team and discuss the project? Use tools such as Google Calendar, Calendly, and Workato for scheduling meetings and reviewing important milestones.
Now it’s your turn!
We’ve discussed the seven most common remote work challenges in this article and solutions to overcome them.
What challenges do you face while working remotely (and what do you do to overcome these?