Whether you’re writing content from the best coworking offices in Melbourne or setting up shop at your favorite cafe in Manchester, remote work can offer a significant number of benefits. Chief among them is the ability to work wherever and whenever you choose.
That being said, remote work isn’t all lattes and roses. It comes with a unique set of challenges. Below are four of the most common ones, including tips for how to solve them:
1. Feeling disconnected and isolated
One of the central benefits of working in an office is that you’re surrounded by coworkers and peers. Although imperfect from a productivity standpoint—aka, a lot of water cooler procrastinating—it does foster a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself. Since remote workers miss out on that in-office community, they can feel isolated from their peers and disconnected from the company.
One way to combat this sense of isolation is for companies to foster more connectedness. Virtual meetings, social events, and team-building activities are tried-and-true methods for doing so. Additionally, joining online communities and industry forums helps build connections with like-minded professionals.
2. Difficulties communicating and collaborating
When you can work from anywhere, that sometimes means you’re working in an entirely different time zone from your clients or company. If peak work hours for you correspond to 3 am for your colleagues across the world, that can make collaboration difficult. In addition, you may face language barriers and a lack of access to necessary tools.
Luckily, there are quite a few solutions to this in the form of project management software like Trello, Asana, ClickUp, and many others. These tools help everyone keep up to date, allowing you to communicate clearly with coworkers and clients through shared files, texts, videos, and more.
3. Lack of a structured routine
Just as the ability to work from anywhere can make it difficult to collaborate, the ability to work when you want can make it difficult to stick to a schedule. Regardless, it’s important to try. A structured work environment is known to boost productivity and focus.
A structured workday starts with a dedicated workspace. Ideally, you want one that’s in a quiet area with appropriate lighting and seating. After that, create set work hours that you stick to as much as possible. Make sure to include regular breaks to stretch, walk, and give your eyes some rest from the screen.
Finally, when work is finished, set it aside. Establishing clear boundaries between work and life is essential for avoiding burnout.
4. Issues with technology
The ability to work remotely relies heavily on strong wifi, a capable computer, and other technical necessities. However, that doesn’t mean the technology will always function perfectly when you need it to. If you work remotely long enough, you’ll probably deal with bad wifi or a malfunctioning computer more than once.
Companies can help remote workers minimize the negative impact of these issues by providing them with reliable equipment and technical support. However, if you want to enjoy smooth sailing, it’s best to develop your own backup plans to mitigate potential technical problems. Whether it’s using your phone’s hotspot to cover bad Wi-Fi or automatically backing up your files to the cloud, ensure you have a plan B for every potential tech failure.
Remote work is showing no signs of going out of fashion. Although it certainly has a host of potential benefits, it also comes with some of the problems described above. By making yourself aware of them and taking action to overcome them, you can enjoy the benefits of remote work while avoiding the risks.