So, you decided to join the bandwagon and started teleworking, but to your dismay, it does not seem to be the ideal job as you first imagined it to be. You then start to question if switching to a remote job was the right move after all.
Before throwing in the towel and say goodbye to teleworking, you can backtrack a few steps and see if you have fallen into some common remote work pitfalls. More importantly, go through some of the steps that you can take to overcome these challenges.
Why People Switch to Remote Work
There are many reasons why a lot of people seek remote jobs. For many, it’s a great way to balance work, family, and travel, for some it is an escape from the struggles of the daily commute, and for others, they understand that teleworking is here to stay. They choose to seek career advancement in this arena as it is a thriving industry after all plus it has known benefits too.
Remote work has definitely climbed up the worldwide ranks as a more preferred way to earn a living. In fact, in the United States alone, around 5 million people work from home and 35% of those who do not, look forward to finding opportunities to work from home in the future.
However, remote work is not without challenges. Study shows that a significant percentage of remote workers struggle with loneliness, lack of communication, and issues in time management. If you are part of these statistics and feel that this kind of work isn’t for you, here you can learn the seven critical items that can make anyone say that this type of job is unsatisfying.
Why Remote Work is Not Working for You
Remote working can be a fulfilling way to make a living if you have the right attitude and mindset so do not lose hope just yet.
Here are some of the common pitfalls of remote working and tips on how you can get out of them fast.
1. The Doorway Effect
Have you ever tried walking into a room and suddenly forgetting why you went there in the first place? That is the doorway effect.
The doorway effect is what psychologists describe as the resetting of the brain as soon as you walk through a door, causing a mental block and making you forget what you are doing there. This is a common problem among remote workers who live with small kids or with other people who constantly call or need their attention.
When you repeatedly need to get up from your work desk to attend to someone else’s needs or to do a house chore, you lose your concentration and momentum, making you lose time and ideas. This can leave you exhausted and not to mention, very unproductive.
This then can ultimately lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and even frustration about not being able to do many things at the same time.
What to do — You need to manage your time effectively and stick to it. Finalize your work schedule then set proper expectations with your family that you need to be “at work” during those hours and request that they honor it. You can also hang a do-not-disturb sign on your door or on your desk to remind anyone not to barge in or intrude. By doing this, you are assured of uninterrupted focus time which can then lead to better productivity.
2. Zero Accountability
The key to your own success is personal accountability. Understand that by fulfilling your tasks correctly and on time, you are contributing to your team or company’s success. When you have zero accountability and miss deadline after deadline, this can ultimately lead to your team’s downfall and every one carries the burden.
Signs that you are lacking in this department include blaming other people or the situation for your poor performance and low output, you delay working on things until the very last minute and even miss deadlines at times, and lastly, you do not believe in the goals of the team which results to your lack of motivation to work.
What to do — Understand what your role is, find out what your team expects from you, then go above and beyond to complete your tasks. Stop procrastinating! No one is perfect but make it a habit to reflect on your past errors or mistakes, so you can work on doing better in the future.
3. Caught Napping
This is when you are in a position that you are in no way prepared to do it or have had little preparation for. This could be that you realized too late that you are not as skilled in a certain area of your work, or you do not have the proper tools needed to complete your task, or this can also be not knowing what to do simply because you were not paying attention to the instructions when they were given. This can definitely make you feel frustrated and even demotivated especially when called out.
Nothing is as bad as realizing that you do not have the right tools four hours before the work is due.
One can hope that the process of getting a successful online job is as simple as 1. Upload resume to LinkedIn 2. Get hired and then 3. Get paid. It is not.
Remote work requires a lot of preparation and a continuous one at that. You also need to work smart. Before applying for the job, you make sure that you have the right skills for the job via education or training and that you have the right tools needed for it. Once you have landed the job, you upskill so you are ready for the ever-evolving technology required to do your work. You even prepare daily so you can do your work smoothly and efficiently. Preparation reduces cramping and work-related anxiety, so you need to step up your game.
What to do — Get clarity on your tasks, take notes on things that seem vague so you can do your research later or check with your manager, and most importantly, act on them. Note that there is a big difference between knowing and acting based on that knowledge.
4. Communication Breakdown
A big contributing factor to your success as a remote worker is communication. Because meetings and touch bases are done virtually, so many things can get lost along the way. Trying to get a message across the internet effectively has its challenges; when this is not remedied, communication breakdown happens. This then leads to unmet expectations or conflict among team members.
Aside from the differences in how to process the information given to anyone in the team, there is also the factor of cultural differences and preferences. The best way to resolve this is to practice self-awareness and exert conscious effort in staying in touch with people in your team in a professional but friendly manner. Although you meet virtually, you still need to have a healthy work environment.
What to do — Encourage your co-team members to have an organized correspondence via a tool on a regular basis. This can be either to update people on your progress or simply just to catch up on your team. Encourage them to do the same too. Do not hesitate to seek clarification when something is not clear to you. Do not be shy in raising work-related concerns. Always aim for collaboration because although you are working alone, you are still part of a team. Having some sort of camaraderie can make online work less lonely and more enjoyable.
5. Allowing Yourself to Rot Away
The best way to kill your online career is to allow yourself to get behind on trends. Most companies these days hire people who have multiple skill sets. If you are looking forward to advancing from your current position, you need to keep up with these constant innovations via skill training.
When you allow yourself to stagnate in a certain position for too long, it usually ends up leaving you discontented with your job. It is human nature to thrive under challenges and when your interest in a certain job plateaus for the lack of it, it can leave you feeling demotivated and frustrated with work.
What to do — Set your goals and proactively seek skill advancement. Check with your manager if your company offers skill development courses, and if not, there are plenty of courses online that you can enroll in. The point is to challenge yourself regularly to keep your interest up high.
6. Lack of Self Care
Do you go to work in the same clothes that you sleep in? Do you eat in front of your computer while you work? Do you slave away on the desk even if it is way past your work hours? Do you go for days without taking a shower or changing out of your clothes? If you answered mostly yes to the questions above, then you need to step up your self-care game.
When you do not take care of yourself, there is a big possibility that that attitude will start spilling into your work. The next thing you know is that you stop caring about putting in an excellent wok. You do not care about deadlines anymore, and ultimately, you will stop caring about the job itself.
What to do — Set boundaries between work and personal time to avoid feeling burned out. Avoid checking work emails outside of your working schedule so you can fully enjoy your me-time. Also, it is important to take the time to freshen up, eat a healthy meal, and do a quick exercise daily because a healthy routine can help you achieve that work-life balance that many people talk about.
7. Social Isolation
Do you forgo going out with friends because you prefer staying home after work? Whether you are an introvert or not, you need human connection to thrive. Remember that unlike working in an office, there is no catching up in the hallway and no chit chat during breaks when you work remotely.
One principle of adult learning is that social relationship is a great motivator. There is a reason why the quote “no man is an island” is widely popular. One needs social interaction in order to thrive as human beings. Without human connection, people are prone to developing low self-esteem that mirrors negative results which can greatly affect our views on work and life in general.
Therefore, it is important that you go out and meet other people. It is one way for you to have a healthy relationship with friends, family, and even your work.
What to do — Maintain connections outside of work, go out with friends once in a while, do things that you love or anything that will take you outside, and nurture friendships.
There is no denying that remote work can be hard but just like any other job out there, how you treat your work right now is going to circle back to you in the future. When you exert effort to learn and advance your skills and capabilities so you can do your job better, you will also see that you will gain good returns soon through recognition and even promotions.
There are plenty of tools and apps available that can help you with time management and productivity. There is also an abundance of skill enhancement training available online if you wish to improve. But ultimately, your success will depend on your ability to stick to positive and healthy work habits and your perception of work,
To sum it all up, a positive outlook, discipline, and drive to be successful can make a huge difference in your remote work experience. Know that you can always do better if you choose to identify your challenges and be willing to work on them. With the many benefits that you can get from online jobs, it pays to take good care of it if you plan on doing this for a long period of time.