Working from home is an ideal way to secure work-life balance and comes with a great many advantages. However, doing so does not mean you won’t face some challenges as a remote professional. Just as working in an office has a unique set of challenges, some work challenges as a remote employee can also pop up.
Here are eight common challenges of working remotely for employees, and tips on how to overcome each one:
Challenge: Maintaining engagement and focus.
Working from home is a wonderful arrangement for those who want to escape the daily commute and wasted time on the road, or be home for their kids when they hop off the bus. However, being away from a day-to-day office comes with the challenge that you may, at times, wane in your engagement and focus.
Solution: Consider starting your day off with meditation or yoga to promote focus and mental engagement. Services such as Headspace provide readily available options to start your day with meditation, which can help with mental clarity and stress release.
Challenge: Dealing with distractions.
Distractions come with the territory when you work from home. You may get an unexpected call or visitor at the door, neighbors may think they can drop in without notice, or your family could have unrealistic expectations of what you can do while working from home.
Solution: Be bold and have a direct discussion with your spouse and children about disruptions during work hours. Obviously, working from home is likely a significant benefit to your family, but be sure to set boundaries. Don’t hesitate to place a sign on your front door or office door that reads, “Do not disturb.” If you’re uncomfortable with being that direct, add a note that reads, “I’ll be available after 5 p.m.” Also, consider adding a sign stating “No soliciting” on your front door to keep salespeople at bay.
Challenge: Keeping your morale up.
Working from home means there may be no regular high-fives from your manager or teammates for a job well done. Although you’ll likely have ongoing contact with your coworkers, you still may feel isolated and there can be an occasional dip in your morale.
Solution: Request regular check-ins with your supervisor regarding your progress. If your supervisor only focuses on the areas you need to work on, specifically request feedback on what you’re doing right.
Challenge: Finding a creative outlet.
As a work-from-home professional, finding a creative outlet is an important key to keeping your mind active.
Solution: The sky’s the limit to promote a higher level of creativity. Do something totally unique, such as joining a painting or photography group or trying a creative activity that aligns with your career. If you’re a writer, consider taking creative writing classes. The convergent side of your brain (analytical) is working all day and needs some divergent activity (creative) to feel balanced and productive.
Challenge: Effectively managing your time and projects.
Working from home will mean that you’ll have to manage your own timeline and be responsible to meet deadlines without reminders from coworkers.
Solution: Depending on your personality, time management can be one of the most common work challenges as a remote employee. Use time management tools and apps to use your time most effectively.
Challenge: Honing your skills.
Depending on the role you’re working from home, you may have to ensure your own career advancement by improving your skills on your own. If your employer doesn’t offer internal opportunities for advancement or provide ongoing training, then find classes in your field that you can attend.
Solution: Now, you may immediately feel that the solution to this challenge could be costly. However, there are many no-cost professional courses you can start with.
Challenge: Working on your communication skills.
Telecommuting requires a significant amount of remote communication, whether that’s with your immediate supervisor, your team, or your clients. As a remote employee, you’ll likely use a variety of communication tools to meet with your colleagues.
Solution: If you’re challenged by expressing yourself verbally, it’s time to get some help with that. There are many reasons for this challenge, and one reason could be that you’re an introvert. Introverts tend to communicate better in writing than they do verbally. No matter what the reason, search for courses available in communication skills, group work and networking, persuasion and motivation, and others to improve your communication skills.
Challenge: Noting your progress.
As a remote worker, you’ll need to be your own best advocate for success, notability, and advancement.
Solution: Throughout each month, make note of any projects you’ve successfully participated in, your productivity, and any steps you’ve taken to improve your skills. Use this information in your regular reviews with your company’s managers or owner. Having this information is sure to be useful to you rather than grasping for information off the top of your head.
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