Author: Jocelyn ter Morsche, marketer at remote company Xoxzo.
If you are thinking of switching to a remote job it’s important to be prepared and have realistic expectations. Why? Because it is not for everyone.
I talked about the pros of working from home I experienced so far but there are also cons that you eventually come to realize. Some remote workers miss socializing with coworkers, others may struggle to keep work and private life separate. This list was made including struggles that I and other teleworkers I know have experienced at some point, and also included some tips on how to overcome them.
Cons of remote work
1 – Increased isolation
2 – No separation of work and private
3 – Many distractions
4 – Unhealthy lifestyle
5 – You lose living space
6 – Collaboration suffers
1- Increased isolation
Even though video conferencing tools are widely available to keep in touch with coworkers (check out our review here) I’m speaking for all remote workers when I say that social interactions do decrease when working from home. No more lunches together, chatting in the break room, or getting drinks after work.
If you meet friends and family several times a week, this increased isolation may not be a problem for you. But those for whom the workplace is the main source of social contact, working remotely might not be ideal.
Try working at a cafe, a coworking space, or at a friend’s house sometimes. Being surrounded by people may make you feel less lonely, even if you don’t interact much. I also recommend getting together with friends at least once a week or try out a new hobby to have more social interactions after work.
2- No separation of work and private
New teleworkers may notice that their professional and private lives started slowly merging into one. You eat, sleep, and work in the same space so it may be difficult to “switch off”. Even though remote workers are generally more satisfied with their jobs than office workers, for some people it might be difficult to turn off, even after finishing their workday. If you like your job, you might not necessarily see this as a bad thing in the beginning but it might wear you out over time – and get in the way of your social life.
I recommend setting a daily schedule for yourself that you stick to and close your work apps and tools once your day is done. Also taking a walk after you’re done, doing some shopping, or going to the gym helps reset your mindset from ‘work’ to ‘relax’ . This way your home will not feel like just your workplace when you’re back.
3- Many distractions
Remote workers are said to be more productive than office workers, but let’s be real: it can be easy to get distracted when you’re at home surrounded by things you like and there’s no one watching you and keeping on your toes. Time flies when you’re scrolling through Instagram or when you start doing chores around the house.
If you don’t have the discipline to keep focused on work, you might find yourself not making your deadlines or just ‘trying’ (and failing) to work until late at night, which are both not ideal.
I like to make a daily schedule for yourself (and stick to it). Schedule in several short breaks to do things you like and set alarms for when you should go back to work. There are even apps like Time Doctor that will remind you to focus on work if you start slacking or visiting non-work-related websites.
4- Unhealthy lifestyle
Even though I mentioned in the Pros of Remote Work article that your lifestyle can be healthier when working from home, this completely depends on yourself. If you don’t have a good work chair, order Ubereats every day, and eventually stop leaving the house you’re not doing your body any favors.
- You lose living space
If you’re planning to work from home for a while it makes sense to invest in setting up a home office or workspace. If your goal is to separate your work and living space, you might even want a whole room to become your office, losing a place that could have been a hobby room or guest bedroom.
Unless you want to spend your days working from your kitchen table or sofa, losing living space to create a home office might be unavoidable. If you work remotely in a large city like Tokyo, in which apartments are often small you might not even have space to create a home office and you will have to improvise with what you have. Living in a small studio apartment myself, I picked furniture with multiple purposes like a big table instead of a desk and I replaced one of my chairs with an office chair.
5- Collaboration suffers
Random brainstorm sessions and just asking your next coworker anything anytime is one of the pros of working in an office. Explaining or teaching something new can be easier too in face-to-face situations. When you work from home, you don’t always know whether your coworkers are busy, or what they are working on at that moment, and you don’t always want to interrupt someone in the middle of their activities.
You can use video conference tools like Zoom to your advantage by using features such as sharing your screen to explain things as if you were sitting right next to them. Making sure to keep in touch with your coworkers and setting weekly calls and brainstorming sessions in advance helps to improve collaboration while also making sure that everyone has time to prepare.
Our remote team also checked out and compared different video conferencing tools, such as Google Meet, Slack, Zoom, Whereby, and more. Check out our review here.
What do you think is the most difficult part about working from home? What would you miss about working at an office?
Leave a comment below to let us know!
Even though it’s not always easy working from home, don’t forget that there are many pros to this work style as well!
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