Remote jobs have become the norm over the past couple of years, with up to 59% of the American workforce working from home all or most of the time. According to the same study, 61% of the population continues to work at home even though their offices have opened up.
However, while one set of the population enjoys the benefits of working from home, a large proportion of the population has spoken about various problems. In this piece, we’ve spoken about seven daily struggles an office worker faces while working from home and given tips on how to fix them.
Working from home comes with plenty of distractions. For example, if you live with your family, you might have to entertain your kids, get the door when your Amazon delivery arrives, or take your dog out for a walk.
A few of your other remote-working friends might come over to your place so that you can all ‘work’ together. We know how that turns out.
Since you aren’t bound by fixed hours or a cubicle, you might think, “I’ll come back from lunch and complete this. It’ll only be a couple of hours.” But, unfortunately, this could come back to haunt you, and your boss won’t be happy.
If you get distracted, you could miss out on deadlines or calls. You won’t be a hundred percent focused, and it’s likely that your productivity levels go down.
However, as a remote worker, it’s not necessary you work from home all days of the week. For example, if there’s a nice, quiet cafe a few minutes away, you could spend a few hours working there.
We think it’s best to have a designated workspace at home where you can be free of distractions. Try and work around a loose schedule to separate your work and leisure time. Communicate this to friends and family, and your work timings will be much more organized.
There’s a fine line between your workspace and your personal space. Your home is a place where you’re meant to unwind, relax and enjoy time alone or with your family.
When you work from home, you cannot go to a place where you can leave the day’s work and stress behind you. You have to overcome the mental allocation you had once given to your home; the couch you sit on to watch football is now the same couch where you have to present reports to your boss.
Many employees who work from home feel like they never stop working. Beyond your fixed working hours, you’re still inclined to reply to emails and texts. This leads to longer working hours, a lack of motivation, and higher stress levels.
It may take some time to overcome this mental block. You need to draw boundaries and learn to turn off when you aren’t working.
A lack of culture and communication
One of the biggest challenges as a remote worker is not being able to communicate with your team members. Nonverbal communication is vital if you want to communicate effectively.
When you meet in person, you can communicate quickly, assigning roles and conveying feedback without much hassle. At home, all you have is a webcam.
Another major issue with working from home is not being able to befriend your colleagues. If you’re a new employee, it can be challenging to break the ice and get to know your team members properly.
Having a friendly relationship with fellow employees can help you have a more fulfilling and productive experience at work. Microsoft found that shifting to a remote work environment made their employees less interconnected and more isolated.
If you don’t live with your family or a housemate, working from home can get quite lonely. Likewise, if you work for a company that employs workers from all over the world, it can be challenging to find overlapping working hours, let alone find the time to get to know your colleagues.
While the number of working hours may go up, remote workers lack a human connection. It’s important to feel like you’re part of a team that you can celebrate with when you achieve your goals.
Struggling to stay motivated
Working from home makes it much easier to procrastinate. You might feel like going for a walk, scrolling through Instagram, or watching The Office during your lunch break.
Your boss and your team members won’t be there to motivate you. You need to stay motivated and manage your time on your own. Working from home comes with a lot of flexibility, but it’s important not to take it for granted.
One-hour breaks turn into three-hour breaks, and now you’re behind schedule. If it’s a Friday, you may think, “I’ll just do it over the weekend.” Before you know it, it’s Monday morning, and your boss wants that presentation.
Maybe that Harry Potter rerun wasn’t really worth it.
You’ve been waiting all week to tell your boss about your latest project. You absolutely smashed it, and you have your eyes on that shiny Employee of the Month badge. You’re just about to attend your meeting, and the power goes out.
Your boss will probably think you’re late; he isn’t buying any of your excuses. Unfortunately, technology hiccups are a common issue with remote workers.
Working from home can also be challenging for those who aren’t tech-savvy. Getting software like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to work can be a nuisance, especially if you don’t have good WiFi.
You can always choose to work in public areas like your local cafe, but they may not have the best internet connection or be the quietest. You can also opt for coworking spaces, but keep in mind that you’ll have to commute there if it isn’t close to your home, and you’re also likely to end up paying for a membership.
Measuring performance and output
What criteria does your boss use to evaluate your work performance? If you’re the boss, what metrics do you use when you have to assess a team’s monthly output?
Even in a physical office, some bosses frequently fail to keep track of precise ways to measure their employees’ performance. Some simply keep track of how long their employees spend sitting at their desks!
Sitting at your desk shouldn’t qualify as working. However, in many workplaces, as long as you show up on time and sit in your cubicle for eight hours, you’re good to go. This isn’t productive but it’s still a way of measuring performance.
With remote workers, it’s impossible to tell. Your boss could be in another time zone, so there’s no way for you to be supervised. This could lead to high levels of procrastination and slacking on the job.
As a remote worker, it’s important for you and your boss to be clear on what their expectations are of you, and how you can measure whether you’re doing your job well.
Remember those work parties, industry events, and trade shows? You’d meet a hundred people, exchange business cards, and be excited for new opportunities in case they came your way.
Unfortunately, you can’t attend company events as a remote worker. A lot of remote companies don’t even have offices or headquarters.
Working from home makes it extremely difficult for you to network and build a nexus of contacts. Whether you’re a freelancer, full-time employee, or entrepreneur, networking can lead to a number of opportunities.
If you don’t network, you lose contact with individuals who have the capacity to add growth to your career or company and make it successful.
As a work-from-home employee, it’s important to stay connected with your professional network. Participate on social media, take the initiative to establish contact, and make sure you stay relevant so that nobody forgets who you are.
Working from home is not a new concept – people have been doing it since 2005. Companies are particularly fond of it because they save money on office space, and they benefit from a wider talent pool.
However, remote work is evolving. Even ‘Zoom’ has become an official verb. And as it evolves, so do the problems that come with it. As a remote worker, it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons of working at home and what you can do to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
So if you’re currently finding an in-person or remote job, consider signing up with AppJobs. We can help you find the perfect job based on your skills and preferences. Sign up with a few easy clicks, and AppJobs will find a job that’s perfect for you.