It’s that time of the week where we feel the need to impart a bit of honesty. There are thousands of articles that all sing the praises of remote working, and it can lead readers to believe that there are no downsides. Like any path leading to a magnificent result, there will be bumps along the way, and the life of a remote worker is far from rainbows and lollipops. It takes a certain set of skills to be successful as a remote worker, but as we have discussed in previous articles, those skills can be learned and perfected.
So, the bad news. There are downsides to remote working.
The good news. We can learn to minimize these downsides through practice and discipline.
So let’s talk about some of the things people don’t really want to tell you about working remotely.
Priorities are at the core of any self-management program that seeks to educate people on mindset training, productivity and creativity. For remote workers, having a set of priorities is paramount to maintaining focus and drive in spite of a lack of accountability. Some of the main pitfalls that many people working remotely run into are overworking, and a lack of a personal “priority” routine.
When we first leave the office, we are making our own schedules, juggling our own time and in a lot of ways being our own boss.
This transition can often bring with it an increased amount of free time, which ironically enough is the main motivation for many to go remote.
But with our work patterns conditioned to a distracting and fast-paced office, it will take some time to re-adjust to the new flow. Many people try and fill in the gaps, and end up working more hours than they would if they were still in the office.
Often motivated by a sense of productivity guilt or a loss of structural control, we act out by working ourselves so hard that we risk burning out.
Often in line with this idea of overworking comes an omittance of a personal routine to keep balanced. Exercise and fitness is often the first priority to be sacrificed, and many would argue it’s the most important to maintain.
When we work remotely, we are often more sedentary than when we were in the office. Make sure you are exercising every day, eating well and spending time with friends and family. Once again, that’s the reason you made the transition.
In a recent study done by Standford University, some unfortunate yet expected results were found regarding the disadvantage remote workers have regarding progression and advancement.
Remote workers were found to be promoted at half the rate of non-remote workers.
When we aren’t interacting with our superiors or management on a day-to-day basis, there can become a disconnect that can lead to lost chances for advancement.
It goes without saying that if you are constantly having interactions with your employees, you are most likely to consider them when an opportunity arises.
It’s not all bad news remote workers. We might just have to make it a priority to not sacrifice these interactions.
Good communication with your boss is essential for ensuring they know you are being just as productive (if not more so) from your new remote position. Schedule face-to-face calls using Zoom to stay personal, or even better increase your social gatherings outside of work.
Networking & Mentorship
A common downside expressed by many remote workers is the difficulty in networking and attaining mentorship while working from home.
As we go through this transition, it is easy to get stuck on traditional networking strategies, and feel like working from home is undermining these. If we see the cup as half full, it tells a different story.
Networking and mentorship are not only more accessible than ever via access to the millions of professionals on the internet, but with your new work-life balance, you will have more time to seek out these opportunities.
Sign up for that convention you have always wanted to go to, but never been able to take vacation time for. Reach out to “out-of-your-league” professionals on LinkedIn with virtual confidence and no expectations.
In this digital age, networking and mentorship resources are abundant, we just need to use different strategies to tap into them.
With a newfound sense of independence, remote workers can initially feel on top of the world.
As time progresses we start to understand that along with this independence comes a responsibility to stay informed and stay relevant without anyone telling you to do so.
If you are working in different time zones, getting immediate feedback may be impossible, so the team communication needs to be efficient.
If something was wrong with your computer in the office, you’d call the IT guy to come and take a look at it. Well, Google is now your new IT guy, and you are responsible for finding solutions to problems that might not be written into your job description.
Your ability to conduct self-directed learning is essential at finding success as a remote worker. Better yet, you will learn a whole slew of new skills that will become invaluable as you continue to work independently.
It’s Possible to Be Better, at Everything.
So enough doom and gloom for one day, let’s look at a positive side you might not always hear about working remotely. It is possible to be more efficient, more social, more financially stable and more balanced while working from home. It just takes discipline.
Those that invest in themselves as remote workers reap the benefits. Exercising is not just a luxury to be granted, it’s a necessity to maintain productivity. Your new home office will have different demands than your old workplace, but there are still demands.
Make sure to use some of our other resources, such as our 10 tips to working more efficiently to help you on your way to being a satisfied and energized employee, working comfortably from your home.