Culture

The Most Common Remote Work Challenges and How to Get Past Them

Over the past few months remote workers have shared the pros and cons of working remotely with Remoter. Over 85 percent of those surveyed say that travel and schedule flexibility are the biggest pros, with better work-life balance and a less stressful work environment coming in not far behind. Most of us can agree that working from home is pretty great, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

Remoters also got real about the remote work challenges they struggle with. Below we’ve ranked the most common remote work cons based on the percentage of Remoters who reported struggling with them. Then, to help you overcome these common remote work challenges, we’ve listed the tips and tricks our surveyed Remoters swear by.

4. Less focus

When you work in an office you go there to work and are surrounded by people who are doing the same. Working from home requires pointed self-driven focus. There’s laundry that needs your attention, errands to run, and kids, partners, or pets that are begging for your attention. Over 23 percent of Remoters report that they struggle to maintain focus while working from home. Sometimes being at home is a constant reminder of all the things you need to do, making it hard to focus during the work day.

Remoter tip: Julia says, “If I’m having trouble focusing, I force myself to go to a coffee shop–I tend to get less distracted there.”

Just because you’re working from the beach doesn’t mean you’re not working hard. | Submitted by Jenn Amenta

3. Fighting the stigma of not working as hard as non-remote peers

If you’ve ever worked from home, this remote work struggle is likely as familiar as it is offensive. When you work remotely, you spend the entire day working without the distractions of water cooler gossip, loud colleagues, and cubicle chats. A study by SurePayroll found that two-third of managers report that employees who work remotely are able to increase their overall productivity.

No matter how hard you work, the fact that your office-working peers downplay your career and ethics can be tough. In fact, over 30 percent of Remoters struggle with this remote work con.

Remoter tip: According to Rachel, “Fighting the stigma of not working as hard as non-remote peers is a toughie. At first, it was hard being barraged with questions such as ‘Do you even work?’ I’ve found that the simplest solution to this is to not take things personally, and to let your hard work and results speak for themselves.”

2. Struggles with clear communication

Even with video call and chat programs like Skype, Hangouts Meet, and Slack, it can be difficult to really get to know your team members when everyone is working from home. Facial expression and body language nuances can be lost on video calls making it difficult to read or get to know your colleagues. The challenge is widespread with almost 40 percent of Remoters reporting that they struggle with clear communication while working remotely.

Remoter tip: Liz manages several people and her advice is to meet your team in person, at least once, “Often there are misunderstandings because you don’t understand the person. You meet once face-to-face and you know ‘get’ them.”

Meeting your team in person can go a long way. | Submitted by Leilani Franklin-Apted

1. Isolation

Working from home can feel liberating at first, but after a few months, it’s not uncommon to start feeling socially isolated. When you wake up and work alone all day, only communicate with people via your computer and phone, and work at odd times of the day, you may start to miss human-to-human connection. A whopping 58 percent of Remoters say that working remotely makes them feel isolated.

Remoter tip: Remote workers like Patrick and Fabrizio check into a coworking space to emulate the social office experience. MeganLeilani, and Dan have joined work and travel programs like the No Desk Project, Unsettled, and Remote Year to create a social remote work atmosphere. According to Leilani who works with Unsettled, “When we have retreats going on everyone brings their whole lives on the road and this means that my environment can be highly social even though the people around me are not my work colleagues. I love the diversity and companionship while still getting all the autonomy of working remotely on my projects!”

Share your remote work tips with us by filling out this 10-minute survey to get featured in our Rolling Remote series!