Remote work culture is like the two sides of the same coin as it has its own set of pros and cons. Right now, remote work is the closest substitute to the traditional work culture, but to fully replace on-site jobs, it must overcome the challenges that full-time and part-time remote work pose.
Irrespective of all the perks and advantages of remote work, there are many challenges that arise from it. Some examples of challenges at remote work include loneliness (19%), collaboration with a team (17%), issues of different time zones (8%), and the problem of getting distracted (10%). According to Hubstaff, a powerful employee work tracker software, businesses' most significant challenges to efficient remote work setup include communication, linguistic and cultural barriers, scheduling, and tracking performance.
Luckily, there are highly beneficial remote tools and applications for remote workers that can ease this transition a bit. Buddy system and team building activities can bring the employees closer to one another.
The biggest struggles of remote workers
1. Feeling of loneliness
Work-from-home conditions are absolutely different from that of on-site work.
- Remote workers don't get to chat with their fellow workers.
- They don't go to lunch breaks together and don't even hang out after office hours.
- All a person does is sit alone inside the four walls of a room and work to meet the deadlines.
This schedule looks fascinating initially, but it becomes monotonous and tiresome after some time. When we don't get to interact and be a part of a group, then we feel lonely and left out. Not being able to share leads to piling up of things, which further leads to loneliness. Hence one of the biggest struggles of remote workers is that it causes loneliness in the lives of the remote workers.
How to overcome loneliness
- Conversations outside work
Work conversations are not the only conversations one can have. Engage in active conversations with friends, family members, and sometimes even coworkers.
- Visit cafe or co-work spaces
Starbucks is an established name when it comes to working from anywhere. But not everybody wants an expensive coffee. After remote work became widespread, many new work cafes, co-work spaces, and shared desk places have come into the business. You can interact with other remote workers and establish your own social space there.
- Optimize your daily routine
Instead of working, eating, and sleeping, you can add a lot of other activities to your schedule too. For example, you can opt for your hobby classes or even develop new skills. Go to the gym or swim for healthy and recreational activities.
2. Distractions at home
Another prominent example of the struggles of remote workers is unintentional distractions caused at home. Getting something from a nearby shop is not a big task. But once you get up, it definitely becomes a big distraction. Not only does the flow of the work break but also you don't feel like sitting to work again. A simple five-minute break at home becomes a huge distraction and may even waste up to an hour.
Such distractions caused at home lead to utter waste of time, which further leads to reduced output. Hence struggles of remote workers prominently include distraction in home.
How to overcome distractions and reduce the struggles of remote workers
- Set a signal for focus modes
Set up various signals such as wearing headphones, locking doors, or door charts to let people know that you are focused or working on something important.
- Train your brain
Train your brain to stay focused. Distractions will come in many forms but staying focused will help you meet your goals. If you have younger children, then get a daycare facility for them. Keep your older kids busy with acquiring new skill sets.
If none of this works, then escape working cafes or co-working spaces where you can work without being distracted.
3. Not so spontaneous conversations
Spontaneous conversations that boost trust and rapport amongst employees cannot be established in a remote work setup, no matter what. Short water breaks in the office instill a bond of faith and unity in the hearts of employees. But such breaks do not take place in remote working conditions. With the fewer number of conversations, the trust also decreases. The feeling of oneness and belongingness deteriorates as you speak less and less to the other co-workers. Thus non-spontaneous conversations are a part of the struggles of remote workers.
How to have spontaneous conversations at remote work
- Frequent fun meets
The company should organize frequent fun meets where all the employees get together and interact. Such fun meets should include both the office employees and the remote workers.
- Online activities/team-building activities
Many activities can be organized online. Such activities can include both teamwork and individual play. These activities will enhance the bond between the employees.
- Buddy system
A buddy group is a system in which 3-4 buddies, a.k.a employees, can get together to form a group. They are supposed to help each other. These groups can be changed on a monthly basis. The buddy system boosts the number of spontaneous conversations.
4. Unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle
One of the major struggles of remote workers is the sedentary lifestyle that it leads to. We've all come across this proverb "All day work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." The same is the condition with remote work.
- All the meetings and seminars are held in front of a laptop or computer.
- Walks to commute to work end. Such kinds of physical activities end in your daily routine.
- In a remote setup, majority of the things you may need are within the reach of your room which makes your lifestyle passive and inactive.
A solution to an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle
It isn't easy to stay fit but here is how you can do it. Maintain regular exercise time. Start your day with a detox drink, yoga, and stretching. Eat balanced diets and make sure you walk enough.
5. Extended Work Hours
Working remotely definitely kills your work hours, but at the same time, it also increases the chances of working early and ending late. The issue of catching a bus or train is not resolved. Instead, it is replaced by another issue of sitting in front of a laptop. Lack of proper work and personal hours separation can often lead to longer working hours.
Solutions to extended work hours
- Early wind ups
No matter how much you love the work you do, too much of it will lead to eventual burnout. Thus, you must keep proper track of your invested time and output. Early day starts must end with early pack-ups as well as knowing when to work and when to stop is essential.
- Use various applications
You can use various applications to track your work hours and your output. This will help you get a hold of your work and personal life.
From the above data, we can conclude that there are a number of struggles of remote workers that affect their lifestyles but for every problem, there are many solutions too. All in all, a proper work-life balance is essential for a healthy life.