A remote work lifestyle can provide organizations and professionals with many advantages. However, working remotely does have its own set of challenges. Historically, these challenges of working remotely have often been used as an excuse to restrict remote working within some organizations. That being said, each of these challenges can be addressed with the right planning and creative problem solving.
Here are some of the common challenges of working remotely, plus handy tips to address these challenges.
1) Poor Time Management
Time management seems as though it'd be a non-issue for remote workers. Without long commutes to and from the office, remote workers should have all the time in the world, right? Not exactly. Typical at-home chores such as cooking, cleaning, or even arranging a working room can easily distract you from your remote work tasks if you're not careful. The blending of home life and work life can be a blessing or a curse.
Tips for working from home to improve your time management:
- Use time tracking software to measure outputs
- Create to-do lists for daily goals and plans
- Use the time mapping technique to organize your work better
2) Internet Connectivity Issues
Here comes one of the most well-known challenges of working from home. Each time remote-based professionals go to work from a new place, there is a common risk: the lack of a stable Internet connection. Remote professionals working from coworking spaces or local coffee shops may face this problem once in a while. Digital nomads in a new country or city are likely to encounter this problem as well.
Tips for working from home that may improve your connectivity issue:
- Invest in an excellent global mobile internet service
- Look for a location free from many people
3) Team Communication Challenges
When working remotely, seamless online contact between team members is crucial to achieving results, because it is not possible to walk to your coworkers' desks to explain any potential misunderstandings or exchange ideas. Organizations must then set clear communication protocols and create channels to promote easy communications between their team members while working remotely, right from the start.
Tips for working from home that may improve communication:
- Use handy communication tools such as Slack and the best videoconferencing apps such as Zoom.
- Look for tools that offer remote control and share screen options.
- Set a weekly summary call to call out the future goals and plans clearly
4) Security Risks
If you're working remotely, you can connect to work from anywhere – home, a coffee shop, or when you're traveling. Office environments typically have some safeguards in place to prevent many types of security risks, such as cyber-attacks, but remote workers often do not. When working remotely, you are more likely to connect to an unsafe network, be hacked, or have your work equipment lost or stolen. It is then essential that remote organizations develop the required security protocols.
Tips for working from home that will give extra added security:
- Install antivirus software in all the devices you use for work
- Install a device tracker to find or block any malware over the internet
- Use offline protection to maintain some privacy in public places
- Use a VPN
Distractions are a nightmare for any remote worker. Procrastination is one of the most common distractions and leads to mental fatigue. That's why it's important to create your own room where you can function quietly, away from distractions of any sort — that means no working from your bed or in front of the TV. Remember that such a place, a room, or an office, should only be equipped with the tools necessary for your work!
Tips to overcome distractions at home:
- Turn off your mobile phone when you work.
- Don't engage in social media activity.
- Block a calendar for every task.
6) Bad Health Habits
You spend most of the time sitting on your computer when you work from home. If you're not moving, then you may gain weight, experience weakening of muscles and bones, and your immune system won’t be as effective. Poor sleep is also a concern. When your health worsens, so does your work efficiency.
Tips for working from home to improve bad health:
- You should take breaks during your work, and be sure to get outside.
- Always exercise and eat healthy.
- Make a proper schedule for the whole day.
7) Working Too Much
While working remotely means being flexible and working at various times, some people seem to spend far more time working than they need to. Stress related to working from home leads to a lack of sleep, a feeling of weariness, and a lack of energy. Overload can reduce concentration and contribute to a substantial productivity reduction.
Tips for working from home to overcome stress:
- Use time tracking and set working hours to a limit.
- Prioritize your task as per your day schedule
- Take short breaks to relax.
In spite of the above challenges, remote work can be incredibly gratifying — as long as you know what you are doing and are willing to take smart approaches to coping with these common problems.