Remote-Work Column: Issues & Solutions
Welcome to our new blog column all around remote-work. We will provide you the next weeks with a lot of information all around problems, solutions, opportunities, tools and a lot more focused all on remote-working. For our first column, we are concentrating on Issues that appear while pursuing to work at home while travelling or anywhere else. We added some suggestions to the issues to stay solution-orientated and help you avoid these problems or get rid of them.
Remote-Work in General / at Home
In the best years, the way we work has evolved faster than the places we work at which brings a lot of benefits such as the opportunity for a few people to be able to work remotely. Remote work makes your workday a lot more flexible and helps you to save time and even money depending on where you are working. This also means that in general your productivity increases and you get more work done than usual. On the other hand, there are a few problems we want to highlight.
One of the biggest issues of working remotely can be the feeling of being lonely. There is no quick chat with co-workers or in general seeing other people face to face. Especially for extroverted personalities, this can be a big challenge to stay productive and motivated.
Solution: One way to avoid or deal with this issue is to have team meetings and 1on1 meetings via video chat for example through Zoom or Skype. Another solution can be to organise after-work gatherings with your co-workers or friends. If you are in a new town and don’t know anyone yet, then you could join a Co-Working Space to get to know other remote workers and join community events. Furthermore, if you decide to stay longer in one location, you can join a Co-Living household.
Working Remotely involves often working with different people over different time zones. This can be quite a challenge and it makes it harder to “leave” work. This can also lead to working too much and not taking enough breaks which are very important for your productivity.
Solution: One solution could be to make sure that your team knows which time zone you are in and that you know which time zone they are in. There are different tools for example on your phone to have an overview of what time it is in which time zone. Another solution is to plan your day ahead and exactly know when you are starting to work and when you are finishing. This can be done as well through having an office in your home or going outside to a Co-Working Space or café to work. This will separate your work time and your free time, so you can relay easier.
Especially working at home can sometimes be a blessing and a curse. You are able to spend more time with your family, but you should be careful not to mix both together. It is easy to get distracted at home by doing chores or other things.
Solution: Here you can apply the same solution as above to have a dedicated workspace or go out of your home to work. As well, to set goals for the day to make sure you know how much you want to achieve and to motivate yourself to get it done.
For remote working teams, communication can be a very challenging thing since you rely on internet connectivity being good, and there not being too many background noises. As well as, brainstorming and coming up with new ideas while working with others, is harder to achieve while working remotely and in general getting to know your co-workers better.
Solution: One solution for this issue is to have a platform like Asana or Slack to keep the work transparent and to inform everyone about new updates and announcements. Another great thing could be to organize a team day which can be virtual or physical, to get a good base going with your team and for them to feel comfortable around each other. Video Chats like Zoom or Skype, can also be useful here to make sure your team is seeing each other and working together.
Bad Health Habits:
Working from home doesn’t mean that you should stay home all the time. It is important to still maintain a healthy lifestyle, by going outside, eating healthy and exercising.
Solution: For this problem, there are great solutions like online guides for recipes and workouts and fitness apps. Alternatively, going to a gym to get out of the house or going for a walk is very important as well. Here again, one solution can be joining a Co-Working Space and joining their fitness programmes if they offer them.
Remote-Work while Travelling
One of the biggest benefits of remote working is that you can work from anywhere in the world. This is why a lot of remote workers take this opportunity to travel through the world and get to know new locations and cultures. One week, you can choose to work by a beach looking on the ocean and the next week you could work on top of a mountain, overlooking a beautiful valley. Unfortunately, this way of working also has some downsides.
While travelling from one place to another you usually have to rely on the connection of your phone or the Wi-Fi at airports, trains, buses or other transportations. This can be quite distracting when trying to talk to your co-workers or business partners.
Solutions: One simple solution, can be to not schedule meetings while travelling and let your team know when you are travelling so they know not to call you. If that is not possible then make sure to let your meeting partner know that you are travelling, so they can expect possible background noise or disturbances. Another solution can be to check online before travelling if the internet is reliable or there have been issues before.
While travelling to a new country, you obviously would like to get to know the place and go on a few sightseeing tours. Here it can quickly come to an issue of a mix of work time and fun time. Once these two are mixed up, it is hard to concentrate on your work or to relax and enjoy your time.
Solution: One Solution is to have dedicated work and fun time or even better days, so you can fully separate those two.
Especially with the current COVID-19 situation a lot of remote workers have been affected and had to postpone or cancel their travel trips. Many were able to go back to their hometown, but a lot sold everything and now have to settle down and find a play to stay until the pandemic is over. This issue is nothing new though because as a travelling remote worker you can also face natural disasters or political situations in various countries.
Solution: One big advice is to research about the country you are travelling to, what are dangers or complications that you could face. Some things you can’t research such as an epidemic or pandemic, but it is also good to have a Plan B if things don’t go the way you thought they would.
If you travel to a new country in general, you will get to know a new culture. This can quickly turn into a big challenge to try and quickly understand the new behaviours and “rules” of the new culture. This can not only affect your daily life, through for example new food and living conditions but can also have an effect on your work life, through a new working culture and manners.
Solution: Similar to before, research about the country you are going to before you go there and talk to people who have already been to the country or are living there. It is good to set your own expectations right as well and prepare for any difficulties which may occur.
Overall, there is a solution to almost every problem and it is important to stay solution-oriented and work to avoid these issues or get rid of them.
Next: Remote Jobs & Companies