4 Challenges Of Working Remotely (And How To Rise Above Them)

. 5 min read

Working from home may seem like the perfect solution for employees who are tired of the nerve-racking commute, micro-managing bosses, and distractions in the workplace. While there is no denying that remote work has benefits when done right, it’s not without its issues.

The Biggest Challenges Of Working Remotely

According to the Buffer's State Of Remote Work report, employees struggle most with the following problems when working remotely:

A report published by the United Nations International Labor Organization also explores the state of remote employees. It divulges that despite being more productive, employees in remote work settings are also more likely to work longer hours and at a more intense pace.

They are also dealing with more intrusion and interference at their homes, and as a result, they deal with tremendous stress. Additionally, loneliness, communication issues, and time management complications are also major challenges of working remotely.

Below, we take a closer look at some of these issues, and what you can do to overcome them!

1. Increased Workload and Difficulty Unplugging

1 in 4 remote workers struggles with unplugging after work

It can be perplexing for remote workers to separate personal and professional life and maintain a typical work-life balance. Even though remote working is perceived as a flexible way of working, in reality, it isn't always how it works. In fact, remote employees tend to work for prolonged hours.

Home distractions are every remote worker's challenge. When working from home, multiple interruptions can break the routine. Unannounced visits, deliveries, emergencies, kids and pets looking for attention - it's all part of the remote working package.

Buffer's report states that 22% of the remote workers find unplugging after work a prevalent issue. This is partially because employees often feel guilty about getting distracted and try to make up for it by increasing their workload. Besides, it's easier to leave the workplace with pending tasks than it is to stop working at home.

Possible Solutions

If you need to manage your time and projects adequately, it is essential to strike the right balance between work and personal life. Set precise times to start and end your work, set up reminders for breaks, establish physical boundaries between you and your virtual workspace, prioritize tasks, and get childcare for kids if necessary. Ask a friend, colleague, or spouse to remind you when it's time to shut down everything. That way, they can keep you accountable.

2. Difficulty Ensuring Personal Performance

Self-evaluation is yet another challenge encountered by employees working remotely. To hit big targets, it is vital to assess the current responsibilities, i.e., how well and timely you complete your tasks. It can be daunting to monitor and keep track of the progress while meeting the deadlines.

In that case, remote working feels more like the cause of problems than a flexible solution. Gauging your own productivity is not an easy job, even more so in a remote working setting. Quite often, it can get overwhelming for employees to manage the workload as well as evaluate their performance simultaneously. Studies show that multitasking can hinder an employee's productivity by up to 40%.

Possible Solutions

It is critical to plan and execute a direct approach that can maximize your productivity and assess your performance throughout a project's journey. Set realistic goals and benchmarks and evaluate your performance against those.

Try to eliminate productivity killers from your schedule, such as multitasking and distractions that can reduce your productivity levels. Adopt new working from home habits that work well for you.

3. Overall Lack Of Communication

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the low bandwidth communication compared to face-to-face communication, which is considered 34 times more effective as compared to an email.  Communication challenges can be detrimental to an employee's morale and productivity.

While companies transitioned significantly towards low bandwidth interaction, such as emails and chat, it can hardly replace personal connection and information exchange. When the conversations don't occur in real-time, the essence of communication can be lost in deferred replies. Also, it can be cumbersome for employees to collaborate if they are located across different time zones. Above all, the body language and tone are crucial, and the messages are more likely to be misinterpreted when exchanged virtually.

Possible Solutions

It is pivotal to recognize the importance of seamless communication and ensure to make it the greatest priority. Establishing some guidelines and rules for remote team communication help tremendously with this.

Work towards making virtual communication as close to its ‘real world’ equivalent as you can. Opt for virtual team meetings instead of email communication whenever appropriate. To make sure that your team’s virtual meetings are as efficient as possible, implement these essential tips. Choose the right web conferencing tools that facilitate communication processes.

If you’d like to get the most out of your remote communication tools, consider integrating Otter.ai. Otter provides real-time transcriptions of your meetings which can be edited and shared with ease. Not only does this make it easier to keep track of conversations, but it also helps team members who miss meetings stay informed. This is one of many ways in which Otter.ai helps businesses create a thriving remote work environment.

4. Impediment To Bonding Among Employees

1 in 5 telecommuters feels lonely while working from home

When it comes to remote employees, trust issues can exacerbate as you can't interact or socialize with your peers in-person. In some cases, colleagues may have never met in person. This hinders the establishment of a bond between the coworkers, and the engagement suffers.

The physical barriers make it difficult for employees to connect and limit their interaction to work-related meetings and tasks. When there are no peers around to share pleasantries in virtual office environments, remote workers can feel pretty lonely.

Possible Solutions

Social interactions are critical to creating and retaining relationships with a remote team. Managers and CEOs should engender support and promote a transparent work culture where employees can interact on a deeper level.

Team-building activities can provide the team members with the opportunity to bond with each other, create and maintain relationships, and build trust. For one, consider using these virtual ice breakers during your next team meeting.

Empower Live Conversations With Otter.ai

As the world embraces the work-from-home trend, it is imperative to create and foster a remote-friendly office setting.

When it comes to improving the ways in which teams can communicate, share and collaborate, Otter.ai offers a unique solution: an AI-powered note-taking and transcription software that provides accurate, real-time updates. Sign up for a one-month free trial of Otter for Teams today!