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9 Jan 2020

The Hardships of Working Remote and How to Solve Them

Working remotely is a growing lifestyle for many coming into the new decade. And while tech, new industries, and forward-thinking companies are enabling more and more people to work wherever, the lifestyle itself can come with a few setbacks at first.

Working remotely means being your own boss, project manager, and coworker at times. A lot more is on you to self-motivate, to manage your own workday, and to find that work-life balance. But that doesn’t mean it’s not doable. Instead, working remote enables you to approach these hardships head on and enables you to create your ideal work-style.

Staying Focused and Being Productive

While working remote gives you the freedom to manage your time and work, it also gives you the responsibility of keeping yourself productive for the day. Because while deadlines are easier to manage with the right planning, staying focused with your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities can be harder when you work from home and are not near your team.

In a way, the traditional 9-5 set-up helped combat this because it had a designated space to work, included a boss or supervisor who kept you on task, and you had your coworkers nearby to influence you simply by working themselves.

When you work remote, it’s up to you to find what work style suits you best. This can mean setting up a morning routine or daily schedule for your tasks to get you into the mental space to work. Or maybe creating a space in your home where you work— a desk set-up or a separate room. Just make sure you don’t work from bed. That can keep you lethargic and unmotivated.

The goal is to get your head in the direction of work and to keep away from distractions in your home, like the television, the snacks in the kitchen, or even your roommate or family. Give yourself the space or even the routine to ease yourself into the workday so you can switch your brain onto whatever project is at hand.

Working Solo and Finding a Community

Remote workers often find themselves working solo at home. Yes, they have their managers or teammates accessible via Slack, Outlook, and on videocalls and meetings. But working by yourself and being removed from your team day in and day out can get lonely.

To find that balance of social time and getting yourself out of your own thoughts, you can start by getting yourself out of the house. Try stopping by and working from the local coffee shop. It’s a simple way to get some social interaction, maybe even meeting a few other laptop workers.

Or, if you’re able, checking out a nearby coworking space and trying it for the day or even working it into your routine can help you meet fellow remote workers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other start-up teams.

Try other resources like Meetup or Eventbrite to find local coworking days— most groups will meet in a coffee shop, someone’s house, or even a coworking space. It’s a nice way to meet people who share your workstyle and know how hard it can be to meet others.

Or you can use those sites to check out classes, happy hour groups, or even gaming communities in your city. There’s always a community to join and a place to socialize, and meeting other people will help your productivity as you gain more work-life balance.

Keeping a Healthy Work-Life Balance

So it can be hard to work at home and to keep that separate from your own personal life. Many times, it feels natural to work on your computer, then switching gears to household chores or errands on your break. But if you’re not allowing yourself time to rest or to take a step back, then you’re just taking away from your own energy. And this will lead to burnout.

Having a routine can help in this way too: set time aside for you to focus on work, then make sure you give yourself time to take a break. This can be a walk outside, maybe a gym class, or a lunch without a screen open. Do something for yourself that allows your brain to completely switch off work. You’d be surprised by how refreshed you feel coming back to your desk.

Communicate with your team and set boundaries for yourself with your time off. This means, if you decide to shut down by 6PM or later every day, let your team or manager know ahead of time that you won’t be checking your email until the next day. You want to set expectations for when it’s best to reach out and when to check-in. If you’re using vacation, communicate this to your whole team who would be affected.

On the other side, you need to set boundaries for yourself too. Turn off email notifications on your phone on the weekends. Don’t open Slack after hours.

Respect your teammates time as well as your own, and once everyone’s on the same page, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to balance your own time and that itch to check your inbox.

Ready, Set, Work

Working remote is a growing lifestyle, and the freedom that comes with it enables you to carve out your own path. Whether that’s working from your home office, traveling the world, or meeting with a community every week to cowork at a coffee shop, remote work gives you the opportunity to decide and see what suits you best.

About the contributor

This post is brought to us from our friends at Croissant, the coworking-on-demand app that helps you find a workspace near you. In 70 cities and 500+ spaces, you can find a coworking space to work for a few hours or even a whole day.