Before we start, let's check out some statistics on what are the top 10 challenges of remote working.
1. Productivity MIA
Fact: Remote work is all about self-discipline! And if it is not, that means your company is seriously micro-managing your ass. I'm not going to talk about the latter cause there's nothing that we can do about it. What we can work on is how to increase productivity when your self-discipline is failing you. I've actually covered productivity and how to be more productive in my previous post HERE.
Next tip is to create an environment (read: home setup) that you are able to enhance your productivity.
Lastly, another method that my colleague and friends claim to work is dressing better, and I am obviously not be the best person to advise you on this (cause sis here is in her PJs all day everyday!) but this lady here definitely can. Check out her minimalistic and chic wardrobe HERE.
There are a lot of other ways out there to increase your productivity, so just try and find the one that fits you!
2. Lack of routine/structure
You need to have a structure starting from the time you wake up and it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to not wake up 2 minutes before work begin or a work-call begins. There are tons of morning routine checklist and find one that works for you, else see if you can find something HERE. Alternatively, you can get a dog or a cat. I just got a puppy 1 month ago and workday or not, I wake up before 8am.
Another important structure to have in the routine is to unplug from work. Be firm and set a time for unplugging and do something immediately after you unplug --- it could be anything from exercising, playing with your puppy or even preparing dinner. Now that you are not commuting/driving home it's easy for you to not close the tabs in your head and leaving those tabs in your head open for an extended amount of time will cause you to:
1. Burnout really fast
2. Counter-productive for your work/task
3. High level of stress and anxiety at home
4. Not be present with the people that deserve your time and attention after work.
And that, ladies and gentlemen is is the importance of unplugging.
3. Art thou lonely, O my brother?
With monitors becoming your new work buddies it's really easy to feel lonely and demotivated when you're working remotely and I know I've said it before but I'll say it again, ULTRAWORK. This has been a game changer in my remote work-life. I'm not saying that you need to subscribe to them but explore the idea. Imagine this, going to work and being able to choose who you want to work with without having any other random people coming up to you and asking you random questions and breaking your focus. That's the idea of ultraworking, keep yourself and said person accountable with your to-dos and bond over what are you currently up to. That said, they (that ultrawork company) do have some free sample/structure in exchange for your email.
Or if you're like me, who works extra hard when people are watching (read: kiasu mode on) then this might help too! Can't be slacking off when another person is working so hard right?
4. Miscommunication all day everyday
Rule of thumb for communication for remote workers: Over communicating is better than under
No one will blame you for over communicating, the most they can say is "you've said this before" and that is definitely better than having a big project starting soon and everybody be like "this is the first time I've heard of it!". I work as a product manager for my current company and due to my "I think I've repeated enough times of this" nature, most times my colleagues are not aware of even what is the next product I'm launching hence now I've taken a loud and proud approach.
There are tacts when it comes to communicating and obviously nothing can replace being there physically but sometimes being on a video call is close enough and my HR recently sent this over for us to watch and I've got a few wisdom nuggets (and currently practicing as well) out of this Tedtalk by Celeste Headlee on 10 ways to communicate better.
5. Vacation time, when why how where?
1 word: BURNOUT
Trust me when I say this --- Take that time-off!
It's so easy to think that you do not need time-off because you're at home. And why waste that leave if you have no where to go right? WRONG!
When your body (physical, mental and emotional) shows signs of burning out, take that off day. Shut off work and give your body, mind and soul time to recover. Even if that means staring at your ceiling whole day, binge watching Netflix, play game till your thumbs are swollen, whatever that works for you!
If you're unsure what are the signs of burnout, I've found a pretty good article to identify burnout and what stage you're in, article HERE -- you're welcome. Don't be calculative with your leaves, it's there for a reason.
So that's it guys! 5 challenges in remote work that you may not realise or notice. Was it obvious for you? Have you personally felt these challenges?
Let me know in the comments below if remote working is for you?
Have a great day fellow remote and non-remote workers :D