The Challenges of Remote Work and How to Overcome Them
At the beginning of the pandemic, many of us thought that remote working would be a temporary set-up. But now, with the global health crisis still making waves across the globe, many companies are considering making working from home a permanent affair. At first, the idea of working remotely sounded ideal- having the freedom to work from wherever you want, not having to deal with long commutes, dress codes, supervisors breathing down your neck- the list goes on. But as the pandemic shows no end in sight, a year of remote work has led many of us that we may have been taking working in an office for granted.
Find out how remote setups can take a toll on employees and how you can manage them to work more effectively at home.
What Makes Work From Home Stressful
Lack of Choice
Autonomy, or having the freedom to make your own decisions, plays a critical role in self-motivation. When people feel more in control of their choices, they’re better motivated to complete tasks and achieve their goals. However, the situation that many of us are going through- locking ourselves up at home to protect ourselves from the virus and having no choice but to work from home- can feel frustrating.
Higher Chances of Overworking
What many of us thought would benefit from working from home was having the freedom to pace ourselves when it came to our assignments and tasks. Some employers were reluctant to implement remote work for the reason that employees would end up slacking off. However, the opposite is true. Because there’s no solid line between one’s work and personal life, many employees find it difficult to pinpoint when the workday starts and ends, and because of this, employees are more likely to overwork rather than slack off.
This can lead to a sedentary lifestyle that is extremely bad for your health. It may also lead to more severe issues such as chronic fatigue syndrome, which can affect your work and needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Having to Manage Your Own Time
Not everyone is an expert at time management. In an office setup, you feel more obligated to get your tasks done as soon as possible because your boss might look over them at the end of the day. At home, on the other hand, it’s straightforward to procrastinate on a project and binge-watch your favorite Netflix series.
When working from home, you no longer have to worry about your co-workers coming up to your cubicle and interrupting your progress. However, you may have more to worry about when you’re working remotely. Family matters, pets, chores, and even deliveries are just some of the responsibilities and interruptions you’re going to have to deal with.
Chances of Miscommunication
Even with messaging applications like Slack making communication much easier for teams, companies relying primarily on messaging are more likely to suffer from problems due to miscommunication. In messages, you can never really tell what another person is feeling and what emotions they’re trying to convey, which can easily lead to misunderstandings.
Feelings of Isolation
In most cases, working from home can bring a sense of calm that you can’t find in the office. However, too much of anything is never good for you. Remote work can lead to social isolation, heavily impacting one’s motivation to finish their tasks. This is especially true in stressful work situations, where isolation can harm productivity.
How to Overcome The Challenges of Remote Work
Despite all these challenges, it isn’t impossible to manage or even enjoy working from home. Whether you’re a freelancer or an employee doing remote work, you can benefit from these tips to help make working from home more enjoyable.
Remember to Take Breaks
When your days don’t have any structure, it can be easy to forget to take a break. If you don’t set up a schedule to take breaks, you’ll find yourself sitting at your desk for hours on end and realizing that it’s already the end of the day. Set up a timer every hour that reminds you to take a break to stand up, stretch, and move around the room.
Organize Your Tasks
It’s essential to prioritize your tasks and remember to deal with them according to your energy and not the time you have. Your energy may fluctuate within the day, so take advantage of the time where you feel most motivated to do your work and consider taking breaks at times when you start to feel tired. If possible, try to limit the number of tasks you deal with per day and use anti-distraction applications that can help you focus when you need to.
Create a Solid Line Between Your Work Life and Personal Life
Your work-life balance plays a vital role in helping prevent burnout caused by working from home. You can separate your work life from your personal life by setting routines, using time blocking, and setting work boundaries by not allowing work-related tasks to bleed through your time.
Make Time for Socialization
Both physical and social isolation can take a toll on our mental health. Consider including social breaks in your daily routine, allowing you to interact with friends or family, and temporarily taking your mind off work. Even a simple conversation with someone at home or a quick call with a friend can make a big difference.
Working from home isn’t easy, but with a bit of effort, time management, and self-care, it doesn’t have to be all bad. And while work is important, it’s also essential to prioritize your health and make sure that you’re allowing yourself time to rest and recharge to work more effectively. For now, it may feel like a struggle, but with enough practice, who knows? You may find that remote work may be the best thing for you and your career.