Working remotely has its perks. My commute consists of me transitioning from my bed and pajamas to the dining room table…and my pajamas. I don’t have to change or worry about the weather and I don’t have to pack a lunch. When considering working from home, it’s easy to see the benefits. But as with everything, there are drawbacks and challenges.
Here are 4 challenges of working remotely and how to overcome them:
CHALLENGE #1: BOUNDARIES
When you physically leave an office at the end of a workday, it’s much easier to “turn off.” Whether you’re headed home or to happy hour, exiting those doors triggers a switch to focus on other things. But when working remotely, the boundaries of business hours can blur. You may find yourself checking email more frequently after dinner or prioritizing tasks that can simply wait until tomorrow. It’s important to set (and stick) to a schedule that allows your brain the downtime it needs. I have two words for you: log off.
CHALLENGE #2: DISTRACTIONS
When you first start working remotely, time is abundant. You’ve cut out your commute. You’re no longer chatting as you make your morning coffee. You get right to work. However, you’ll quickly find that there are plenty of distracting things at home that begin to fill in those gaps. Errands, chores and even pets can be a cause of disruption. A perk of the flexible schedule is to be able to tend to these type of things, but don’t let it negatively impact your productivity. Consider a WeWork space or other co-working environment to add more structure to your week, even if it’s only for a few hours here and there. Try out different productivity techniques to see what works best and always maintain an up-to-date calendar so your boss or coworkers know where you are. Don’t disappear!
CHALLENGE #3: LONELINESS
It only took a week of working remotely for me to realize how much I value in-person conversation throughout the day. Conference calls and emails just don’t replace face-to-face interaction or company. If you have a day scant of meetings, take advantage of your mobility. Grab your laptop and head to a coffee shop or your co-working space mentioned above. Even if you’re not chatting it up with the person sitting next to you, just having them there and feeling the buzz of people around you can provide inspiration and fuel focus.
CHALLENGE #4: COMMUNITY
When you stop going to the office everyday, it’s inevitable to feel out of the loop. And I’m not talking about water cooler gossip. You miss out on the little things like birthday celebrations and team building events. Even the day-to-day dynamics of your own team can start to feel distance. In order to maintain a sense of community, you have to put in extra effort when working remotely. Challenge yourself to set monthly or even weekly catch up calls or video chats to stay connected. Take the time to actually read and comment on those company update emails you used to delete. And most importantly, continue to network.