Remote work is on the rise. In fact, 83% of professionals say that a remote work opportunity would make them feel happier and more satisfied with their job.
No matter how hard a remote team works, there are bound to be some challenges and obstacles. Here are the seven most common distractions for remote employees and how to overcome them.
Challenge #1. Distractions in home office
When remote employees work from home, distractions make it all too easy to get sidetracked. Household chores and family obligations have the biggest potential to take away your focus, while other people are tempted by social media. One of the best ways to eliminate these distractions is to provide structure to your workweek. Wake up at the same hour each day, get dressed, then sit down at a dedicated desk in a quiet area of the home.
Even though smartphones and other digital devices are essential tools for work, they can also cause some serious distractions. Fortunately, there are applications that can block certain social media websites during certain hours of the day. Coffee shops and co-working spaces also provide distraction-free areas to work if the interruptions are too overwhelming at the home office.
Challenge #2. Overworking
Since there’s no clear way to unplug at the end of the day, it can be challenging to separate work and personal tasks. Sometimes people find themselves checking and responding to emails late into the night. But when employees work too many hours without a break, the result is burnout. Burnout is a mental and physical issue in which a person breaks down because of stress. This can impact your work-life balance and affect the quality of your work.
To solve problems associated with burnout, block out time in your calendar with set times to work and participate in meetings. It is important to refrain from work-related tasks outside of these hours, even if the task is small. Workers should also commit to scheduled lunch and coffee breaks throughout the day. This gives people a chance to step away from their desks so they can take care of themselves and rest as needed.
Challenge #3. Loneliness and lack of interaction
Surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges of working from home long-term is loneliness. Being away from an office full-time can be isolating, especially when you are used to casual water cooler talk and spur-of-the-moment conversations among colleagues. Organizations should recognize the importance of human connection and provide a way for employees to socialize. Some teams have developed dedicated instant messaging chats where people can talk about their favorite sports teams, for example.
Another way to overcome loneliness is to set aside time to get out of the house. Go to your favorite coffee shop and chat with other working professionals. Local networking opportunities and conferences also allow people in the same industry to come together in the same room. If you feel especially disconnected, reach out to other remote workers in your community – they may be facing similar challenges.
Challenge #4. Team communication issues
When working remotely, communication among team members is key. But with so many channels for communication available, it can be difficult to choose for the right remote work tool and to make a decision between email, instant messaging, or video. Over-communication, or scheduling too many meetings during the day, can prevent you from spending time on projects. To address these obstacles, businesses should establish clear protocols for which channels to use in different situations.
Remote workers should be on the same page in terms of when to use each platform. Team communication could include a messaging platform like Slack to talk about issues in real-time or Google Cloud platforms so everyone can collaborate on documents and presentations together. Video calls are a good strategy for brainstorming solutions or when a longer conversation is required to solve a workplace problem. Email can be utilized when a response is not necessary right away.
Challenge #5. Lack of motivation during work
No matter your work ethic, it is normal to feel unmotivated sometimes. It happens to everyone at some point in their career. The trick is not to let a lack of motivation get in the way of staying productive. Organizations should make daily or weekly check-ins a priority and invest in strong communication strategies. Employers should make an effort to understand the concerns that may lead to a lack of motivation in their teams.
Remote workers can also motivate themselves in a number of small ways. Try starting your day on a positive note. This means participating in any activities that give you joy. Wake up in the morning a few minutes early and engage in a quick yoga session. Grab a cup of coffee and make breakfast before starting your task list. Take a walk outside, listen to your favorite playlist, or read a chapter of a good book.
Challenge #6. Inefficient time management
Time tracking is one of the biggest challenges of working from home. Even though it only takes a few minutes to do the laundry or wash the dishes, stopping work to get them done can be counter-productive. A regular routine will bring order to your workweek and give you enough time for all of your commitments. Google Calendar allows users to block off certain hours for projects and meetings to help with time management.
Remote workers often juggle many responsibilities at once. Google Calendar has useful features that can make managing a busy schedule much easier. Even better, the G Suite has an application that allows remote workers to plan meetings with people in different time zones easily. This setting is a life-saver for individuals who travel frequently or if there is a large time difference between team members.
Challenge #7. Keeping healthy lifestyle
If you work in close proximity to the kitchen, it can be tempting to eat takeout and sneak into the cupboards for junk food throughout the day. This may lead to unexpected weight gain or a sedentary lifestyle. So, how can remote workers stay healthy during work hours? Try stocking your shelves with wholesome meals and nutritious foods. This can go a long way in creating a healthier working space.
One of the best benefits of working remotely is that individuals can set aside time to prepare their own food instead of ordering out. If you learn how to plan meals ahead of time, you can eat healthier and save a little money. Start by doubling up on a recipe and saving half in the freezer for later. During your lunch break, all you have to do is heat up the meal in the stove or microwave.
Happeo for workplace challenges
Remote work is gaining in popularity as it gives employees a more flexible work environment. Companies are exploring the right technologies so they can properly manage and support teams. Happeo is the leading digital workplace platform that brings together intranet, workplace collaboration, and social networking into one solution. If you would like to provide your remote workforce with the right tools, reach out to one of our knowledgeable team members for more information.