Biggest remote working challenges and how to overcome them

September 21, 2021

A lot of people are wondering if remote working can be effective and can suit their lifestyle. A couple of years ago, when I started to work remotely, my friends were surprised by my choice and curious about how it works. They had a feeling that they want to work remotely too, but at the same time, it sounded strange to not work from an office. It's was something like "it's nice to work from wherever you want, but just a few people do this, so maybe it doesn't suit me." I was intrigued by their opinions because I saw the benefits from the beginning: no commuting time, work from different places, a lot of time saved, more flexibility, more time for yourself.

I'm not saying it is for everyone. It has some challenges too.

Accountability

First of all, you need to be self-accountable. You are not in the office anymore with all the team around you. You need to manage your tasks, your time, your resources. In some way, you are more responsible for your job working remotely. And at the same time, a lack of productivity is seen immediately.

Loneliness

Secondly, you don't have so many human interactions anymore. All of us need a social life, and our jobs represented a good part of it in the past. We need to talk to people, feel their emotions, interact with them. Unfortunately, chatting online can't help us, and video calls are just a poor substitute. For me, this is the biggest challenge working remotely. Sometimes, working remotely can feel lonely.

Make overtime

Thirdly, you need to know when to stop working. When you are remote, it's easy to get lost in work. Usually, from the office, you end the working day at 5 pm or 6 pm. If you have a nice workplace, you will rarely be after 6 pm in the office. But working remotely is different. There are moments when you don't have something planned for evenings, so checking some files for tomorrow is not a bad way to spend the last part of your day. You want to keep yourself productive, doing something important, improving yourself. Maybe it's not bad to do it from time to time, but if it becomes our new lifestyle, you are running directly into burnout.

Despite these challenges, working remotely can be effective. Every challenge has its solution, and if we pay attention, we can feel its benefits rather than fighting with obstacles.

How to overcome the challenges

To be effective while working remotely, you need to set clear boundaries between work and personal life. If you work just from home, you need as much as possible to set different spaces for work and relaxation. For example, don't work from your bed. Or try don't work from where you eat. I know it's not the first time when you hear them, but these are basics. Psychologically, for its' easier life, our mind assigns places with different activities. So the bed is a clear space for relaxation and sleep. Our minds can't easily be set up in working mode while we stay in bed. Also, set a clear time when you end up working. Take time for yourself. Do something relaxing, meet some friends, practice a sport or a hobby. You can also meditate or go out hiking. It helps a lot.

If you want to be more social during working hours, you can work from a coffee shop or a coworking space, at least some times per month. You can meet new people, share ideas, maybe find new opportunities. You can be productive from these places, and changing the environment can also inspire you and give new ideas about how to accomplish your daily tasks. Sometimes, you will wake up in the morning with the feel to change your "office" for that day. So, don't hesitate and listen to your feeling. Enjoy a good coffee and work from a nice place. When you work remotely, you are more flexible. There are days when you need to be highly focused, and you need to stay alone in a quiet place. These are the best days to work from home. If you don't have a hard day in front of you, or you are searching for some inspiration, go to a different place.

Working fully remotely can be effective. Maybe it will not work from the beginning, and you will need adjustments, but its' benefits are way more important than its' challenges. If you are thinking of a full-time remote job or you want to become a digital nomad, you need to give it at least a try.

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