Many times, those who work in a conventional office environment may see others who work from home as more privileged individuals. A friend once said this to me, “Chi, I envy your style, all you do is sit at home with your phone all day, you’re really enjoying “. To her, I was enjoying it for obvious reasons of not having to jump buses and waking up by 5:00 A.M to meet up with resumption time.
It’s normal to feel that way but don’t forget that anything that has an advantage surely has a disadvantage, the idea of working from home may seem so appealing due to some reasons which include, little or no commuting, not having to rush off to work very early in the morning to come back very late, looking all tired and worn out due to long working hours etc.
With some of these reasons, working from home may become someone else’s prayer points but it is also important to note that irrespective of some of these advantages, it also has its own challenges too, some of which will be pointed out in this article.
If you have always desired to work from home, below are some of the challenged you may likely encounter;
1. YOU HANDLE ALL THE WORK ALONE
In a traditional office setting, different tasks are delegated to employees which makes work less stressful but for remote workers, this is not so. As an entrepreneur it is a person working from home, you’re left to handle all the tasks alone, especially when the work is not a group one.
If eventually, the business expands, that means more responsibilities to deal with and sometimes, this may probably have health implications.
One of the reasons why some organizations don’t employ remote workers is the fear of having to deal with employees who they presume will slack on their work roles due to lack of physical contact, but in the real sense, remote workers tend to overwork themselves.
In a conventional office setting, employees have a stipulated opening and closing time. Once it’s closing time, everyone goes home, leaving every office work on hold till the next day but for remote workers, the reverse is the case. It is difficult to ascertain the opening and closing time of a person who works from home. Such a person can wake up in the middle of the night to check a mail and from checking a mail, it may turn to an all-night work session.
Moreso, since your home life has automatically become your work life, you’re faced with juggling between home chores and office work.
At this point, the term workaholic comes to play.
When faced with this challenge, create a strict schedule and follow it, prioritize your work and try to get adequate rest to avoid breaking down.
3. YOU NEGLECT SPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY
This is a major problem for remote workers that are married, probably have children or just living with a loved one. Since your house has become the new office, you’re likely to spend hours working like you would have done if you were working in a conventional office.
Of course, in order for your business to thrive, especially for startups, you’re expected to spend more time working. Sometimes, if care is not taken, this may result in spending less quality time with your family. Cases like this, try as much as possible to balance work with family life.
Not too many people understand the concept of working from home. For many, working means leaving the house every morning to an office and returning at a certain time in the evening. Anything outside that does not work.
It is possible that you may encounter such people in your life, people who do not believe in the existence of remote working.
As a remote worker with such people around you, they may start developing some level of resentment towards you. In this case, try as much as possible to get such people to understand the concept of remote working to avoid this feeling.
5. CONSTANT DISTRACTIONS
Working in a normal office setting doesn’t excuse you from distractions as there are colleagues who may stop by to gist and chat you up, the birthday celebration of a colleague that may warrant you to push aside a work in progress etc, but as one who works from home or planning to work from home, prepare your mind for greater distractions.
Procrastination is one of the most common interruptions. When working from home, you can accomplish what you do not necessarily have to at the moment, it can be remembering to weed the lawn, arranging your wardrobe, etc.
In the home environment, you may have your kids playing around, dogs barking outside, music blasting from the neighbour’s house, generator noise, visitors trooping in and out, piles of home chores to attend to and many other distractions. These distractions can hamper your ability to concentrate on the job at hand.
I work from home as a freelance writer and graphics designer. I have come to the conclusion that distraction is inevitable with my people around but I have devised workable means to deal with distractions. This is what I did;
I made them aware of the fact that each time I’m locked away in the room, it’s strictly because I’m busy with work. Secondly, I ensure I do all the chores that will warrant my attention being called and other times when the environment becomes too noisy and in-conducive, I simply go to a more quiet environment. My phone can be one hell of a distraction too, I try as much as possible to turn off all notifications.
In order words, if you’re faced with this challenge, have laid down rules to guide those in your space, for those with kids, keep them busy with something, it can be getting them to read or play games or better still, get help. Also, you may just escape to a more quiet environment.
6. LACK OF HUMAN INTERACTION
When working in a conventional office setting, you are surrounded by colleagues to chat and laugh with. This act makes work more lively, lessens fatigue and boredom
As one who works from home, chances are you’re likely going to be alone some of the time when others are out for their daily activities and it is even worst if you live alone. Even with internet access, you might still develop “cabin fever” from being in the same place for too long all by yourself.
People who work in shared offices experience impromptu moments of interaction and maybe even share after-work meals and drinks together. For remote workers? They often work asynchronously with teammates and in other cases, may have only their houseplants and pets to talk to.
So, when you see a remote worker constantly talking to himself, it’s not madness, it’s simply boredom and loneliness symptoms.
To avoid feeling lonely, incorporate social breaks into your schedule. This allows you to hang out with a friend for a snack or the likes, talk a walk or just sit out to get some fresh air.
You can also decide to FaceTime, call a friend or go through chats. These things can help to combat loneliness.
7. TIME ZONE DIFFERENCES
This is a big challenge for remote workers with team members in different locations with different time zones.
For instance, I work from Nigerian with a team member from the United States. Now, knowing that these two countries have different time zones, my work time is likely to be his sleeping time and at this point may not be available to attend to an urgent issue.
In cases like this, you need to come to a consensus with your team member and set aside specific hours to discuss pressing issues.
8. TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGES
As a remote worker, there is nothing as scary as having internet issues or having your PC and tablets pack up amidst urgent work. The case is always different when you’re working in a traditional office setting. You can get immediate help from your colleagues.
For peace of mind and to avoid missing targets and deadlines, have a backup plan. A mobile hotspot device or a cell phone plan that allows tethering can save you the stress when your internet goes out.
Also, to deal with this challenge, one has to be tech-savvy to some extent and this does not only apply to the devices, like a laptop, tablet, or smartphones, but to different types of apps, software, etc.
9. ISSUE OF STAYING MOTIVATED
This is one major aspect I have had to battle with a number of times. Staying motivated is not so easy for remote workers without the presence of supervisors and team members who are there to pressurize one to get work done as it is in a conventional office setting. Sometimes, this makes some remote workers who lack self-motivating abilities to miss targets.
The organization has a lot of work to do in this aspect. Checking up on the workers will go a long way to deal with this challenge.
In conclusion, many individuals dread the idea of working from home especially after having a feel of an office environment with colleagues to interact with.
Despite the challenges above, remote work is very rewarding as long as you know what you’re getting into and can handle these common challenges. If you persevere, you’ll enjoy the flexibility, autonomy, and the chance to work in your best environment.
The pandemic has affected the world economy and people are losing their jobs on a daily basis. This singular development has given rise to more opportunities that will warrant people to work from their homes. This implies that remote works have come to stay and more people are embracing this opportunity.
This article is basically to guide and expose you to the new world you’re about to embrace. The world of a remote worker. It’s not so bad after all. Apply the few tips included and you’re good to go.
One needs to get used to working from home. Shifting from remote work to office regime or vice versa is always challenging. The pandemic made everyone get stuck at home but this time it appeared to be challenging even for those who got used to working from home for years.