The world is changing fast, and remote work is not a fad or a stage in someone’s life anymore. Working remotely is part of an interconnected world that saw a surge in geographical barriers being broken due to the technology, as much so that we can start pinpoint not only the great benefits of this lifestyle but also the challenges that people might not recognize at first.
We at Xoxzo like to advocate in favor of working remotely, as you may already know. But we’re also keen on discussing the problems that such new format raised in both professional and personal lives of workers.
In a recently published piece on the State of Remote Work report for 2018, respondents answered that the three biggest struggles they face are loneliness, communicating, and distractions at home.
Instead of going with the “stop complaining and go back to the office” speech, we sourced some ideas from our team here at Xoxzo on what can you do to fight those problems. So let’s hear them.
1) While the vast majority of remote workers – not just in our team, but everywhere – chooses their own home as the main place for professional activities, it’s important to balance that convenience with environments that help you feel more socially connected. That’s why some of us also work in nice coffee shops and the eventual coworking space. Sitting down with fellow nomad-minded workers and even with friends, people that you can talk about other things instead of the specificities of the job, helps you not only to avoid isolation but refresh the mindset to come back to work-related issues with a clear mind.
Tip: Find out about the best coffee shops in your city, and invite a friend to join you.
“Remember when I had to commute 3 hours a day?”
2) Talking online will probably never have the same feeling and feedback that doing it live has. Still, using voice and camera is the closest thing you can have to an office environment. Like everything else in life, practicing will make things easier. So try using your camera more often. Call fellow workers not only to discuss problems but to have a casual chat. Understand the rhythm of someone’s phrasing will smooth out even those meetings when the internet connection insists on making things harder for everyone.
Tip: Have a “watercooler” channel with your company so you can have casual and random talks more often.
3) Before we complain about distractions, we should step back and think about what is really a distraction. Are we talking about having to give attention to your family, or checking constant unimportant notifications on Facebook? Somehow it’s in human nature to impulsively assert blame to other people, and not to our own habits. Putting your work on hold for 20 minutes to spend time with a family member is the kind of experience we’re going to remember in the future, while the sum of the brief minutes we get distracted browsing the internet and checking our phones will definitely not.
Tip: Make a self-assessment on your distractions, be strict to the unimportant ones and fully embrace the meaningful ones.
“Sorry honey, I can't look at you know. Someone posted a funny cat on teh interwebz”