For many people who have spent their entire careers in traditional work environments, the idea of working remotely might seem mysterious. It might even seem glamorous. So, what is it exactly, and what are the best practices for working remotely?
6 Things Nobody Tells You About Working From Home
What Does It Mean To Work Remotely?
At its core, remote work is any work that is undertaken outside of your normal workspace. In many instances, these environments are switched for home offices. However, remote work can also take place in a cafe, hotel lobby or even a beach if the internet connection is stable enough.
With advances in technology over the past several years, more and more of the global workforce has been shifting to either an entirely remote work relationship or a hybrid where time is split between the office and other remote spaces. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this trend has increased exponentially with many more workers considering the virtues of a remote work engagement.
But before jumping head first into building your home office or taking your next conference call from the pool, it’s important to take a critical look at some of the challenges and aspects you may not know.
Challenges of Working Remotely
As we discussed here, working from home presents its own list of unique challenges. Carving out a dedicated work space, using technology to boost productivity and organizing your space might be obvious, but what are some of the more unexpected challenges remote workers face?
First, it can be quite lonely to work from home. After all, aside from any roommates or family who are also at home, it’s just you and your computer. Advances in technology allow us to hold virtual video conferences with our colleagues, but it can’t really recreate a normal coffee break or office chit chat. In fact, you may find yourself envying your office-bound colleagues who are surrounded by other people all day.
While being separated from the usual office distractions can help you maintain focus, a home environment has a whole other set of attention-grabbing goodies. These are arguably even more distracting than in the office environment, since you’ve picked them all out yourself. For instance, your favorite food is on-demand in the fridge, Netflix is a click away and nice sunny weather will peel you away from your desk without a supervisor looking over your shoulder.
Tech tools can help us battle these seemingly endless distractions. Here we addressed some of our favorite productivity tools and how to be a successful remote employee. However, these tools can only take you so far. All technology is prone to having an off day. You may forget a password, your internet can go down or some code breaks. Next thing you know, half a day has been spent trying to fix it. These risks are amplified when you move your work space to a more exotic location like the beach or a public space. Security can be a huge challenge, too. Check out these remote working tips from digital security experts Kaspersky.
But let’s say you’ve built your home office, you’ve adapted to loneliness, your technology is stable and you are super focused. What could go wrong? Well, you could become a bit too focused. Yes, too focused. As we mentioned before, it’s important to set work hours for yourself to avoid the urge to work through the night or answer emails at odd hours. After all, when you don’t have a separate office to go to, the lines between your personal and professional time can blur quickly. You. can find some great tips for maintaining proper balance here.
6 Things Nobody Tells You About Working From Home
So, with all of that said, let’s dig into the juicy bits about what it’s really like to work remotely. What’s the odd inside scoop that nobody ever tells you?
1. We All Take Netflix or YouTube Breaks
Yes, it’s true. Now, you still need to meet your deadlines and get your work done, but a quick break for some midday entertainment is a great work-from-home perk.
2. People Are Judging Your Background
With the explosion of video conferencing technology, judgmental tendencies from the office have also made their way into the digital sphere. Do you have a messy house, unmade bed or a TV playing video behind you? People are definitely looking at it, and judging you, on those video calls.
3. Video Conferences Are Stressful
You might not think so at first, but those video conferences are stressful. Even more so when more people join the call. In a normal in-person meeting, there are natural points when you can tune out or relax for a second while someone else is talking. On a video call, though, you subconsciously understand that people can be staring at you the entire time – even if you’re not the presenter. Studies are beginning to trickle out about this stressful phenomenon, but multiple Zoom calls per day can be surprisingly draining.
4. It Is Tough To Advance Your Career
When you work remotely, you’re more isolated. That includes from your team members as well as your boss. You miss out on the little conversations and opportunities to position yourself for advancement opportunities. By being out of sight, physically, you also tend to be out of mind when new opportunities arise. To counteract this, try scheduling a purely social 5-minute virtual coffee with your manager, or meet up after office hours if possible.
5. It Can Be Great For Building a Side Gig, Though
As you get into the groove of working from home, you may find that you can work on other activities throughout the day. This might be spending more time on a hobby, or building up a side gig for some extra cash.
6. The Lunchtime Shower Is Real, And It’s Fantastic
Let’s say that you, as a remote worker, have your first call at 8 or 9am. Truth be told, you are likely going to roll out of bed just in time to throw on an acceptable shirt and comb your hair — if it’s a video call. If it’s a normal phone call, you are probably just sitting up in bed about 5 minutes before the call starts. Next thing you know, it’s lunch hour (or lunch 2-hour) and also shower time. And if you’re really on top of your deadlines, you can even turn it into time for a hot bath. It’s a potentially life changing experience.
So, do you think you’re ready to take on working from home?