With brands and businesses expanding right across the globe, the option of working remotely is becoming more and more common. While there are many advantages to working from home, it is not without its challenges, especially if you’re an employee trying to connect with other co-workers in the office or around the world. Here are 5 common issues for remote workers and ways to overcome them.
Even with an abundance of technology at our fingertips, nothing can replace a good old face-to-face conversation. However, when you’re working remotely, this is not often an option. Most of the time you are working with people you have never even met before. This barrier of not being on the ground and having face-to-face interaction can often lead to communication breakdowns.
Email and chat systems can only go so far, so it’s worth getting in the habit of picking up the phone or engaging in video chat. Take the initiative, especially if there’s a history of miscommunication or you need to get specific about deliverables.
2. Time zone differences
First, there’s the challenge of working remotely and being away from all the action, and now you’re having to work across time zones. Despite the inconvenience of being a day behind or ahead of your co-workers, more and more businesses are getting connected all across the globe.
The first thing you can do to overcome this challenge is invest in a world clock. Understanding what day and time it is for your co-workers will help you appreciate where they’re coming from. You’ll also need to adjust your expectations accordingly. If it’s Monday for you, but Sunday for your co-workers, don’t expect your request to be done by the end of the day.
When you’re working from home, away from your manager or your direct report, it can be hard to have any sense of accountability. This usually swings one of two ways. Either, you feel like you always have to justify your commitment to work, or you can seriously struggle with motivation.
It’s best to keep some sort of routine to help with accountability – and to prevent yourself from overworking. Start and finish work at the same time where possible. Send your manager an end-of-day or end-of-week summary of your tasks just to confirm what you are working on. Always be transparent about your projects and remember to share any wins and celebrations with your wider team – no matter how big or small.
4. Relationships (or lack of)
Extroverts often struggle with the notion of working from home, due to the loneliness and disconnection they feel from the office. It can be incredibly hard to build relationships with people you never get to see in person, but it’s not impossible.
You need to do what you can to continue to build relationships, even when your working remotely. If you’re in the same city, pop into the office for a co-workers birthday or a team lunch. Join team meetings by video chat and engage with everyone on camera, not just on the phone. You can also try a co-working space if you prefer to get out of the house and find like-minded individuals who are also working remotely.