There’s no getting around it — working from home presents some unique challenges. While it’s liberating to not have to commute, you’ll still have to work hard to make sure you’re on top of everything. Remote teams have great advantages, as well, and some of them (like lower overhead) make a lot of sense for startups with both limited budgets and high ambitions. Despite this, it can be quite an adjustment for people taking on a remote position for the first time. We also know there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding remote work.
Having a hybrid work-from-home environment offers a far different experience than working in an actual office. In an actual office, you have colleagues just down the hall who can help you out with a question or a problem. On the other hand, working remotely requires you to take care of things on your own.
As more jobs are becoming available for remote workers, it’s a good idea to be prepared for the challenges of working from home. For those who’ve been working from home (WFH) for years, and also for those who are new to it, here are some of the typical challenges that you can pretty much relate to:
- Feeling isolated: Working from home may feel isolated and lonely in many ways. You may feel disconnected from your co-workers and the work environment. It may be difficult to stay focused when you’re home working by yourself, especially if you’re working on more than one project at a time. It can also be challenging if you struggle with distractions like kids and pets. However, there are ways to stay connected. You can use different messaging and social media apps like Skype to stay in touch with colleagues and clients, or join an online forum to share ideas with others in your industry.
- Overworking: Working from home can be a great perk, but it also has its drawbacks. It completely changes your mindset, especially if you try to be on-call 24 hours a day. Sometimes, once you’re fired up, it’s hard to stop working and switch from “work mode” to whatever else. Now that you’re all working thousands of miles away, you’re going to have to communicate more- this means you’re going to have to schedule more meetings. However, before in an office situation, meetings once a week would cut it. Therefore, working remotely is as demanding as a regular job, but the extra responsibility of communicating with coworkers adds to the pressure, especially during deadlines.
- Establishing boundaries with family members and friends: Hey, we get it; you work from home, but someone else lives with you. It is a challenge to establish boundaries with people around you. It can be hard for others — especially kids, but also other grownups — to understand that yes, your location has changed, but your workday hasn’t. Create healthy boundaries with people living in her house — because otherwise, spending too much time working could ruin relationships at home.
- Staying motivated: Most people work better when they’re around other people, so you have to find ways to keep yourself motivated when working from home. You will always be tempted to put off work and do something else instead. Motivation is a core force in accomplishing anything. The more motivated you get, the easier it is to finish tasks.
- Communication is tricky: One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is getting the team communication right. Keeping the entire team in a loop is not easy. The key is to create the right work culture and environment where people can communicate their needs and feelings freely. It’s important to make sure you’re doing all you can to communicate effectively as well as keeping everyone up to date on what you’re doing and how things are progressing.
- Striking a balance between your work and home life: It can be hard to strike a balance between your home and work priorities. When your family and work-life collide with each other, it can be difficult to know how to handle it. You may feel guilty knowing that you don’t spend enough time with your family, or you might feel like you’re letting them down if you devote too much time to work. However, it’s important to strike the right balance in your personal and professional lives.