Remote work is not a new concept. Almost all people worked from their homes before the Industrial Revolution. Skilled people used to set up shops at their homes and sold the goods that they made right on their porches.
The Industrial Revolution brought the need for the creation of factories. Later, the need for larger offices, corporate headquarters, and cubicles also got bigger. The development of technology and the internet paved the way for remote work as we know it today.
But as remote work is slowly becoming the new norm, many people see only the positive sides of it. At the same time, they fail to realize that remote work can have a fair share of drawbacks on its own.
In this post, we will be taking a look at some of the most significant drawbacks of remote work and what you can do to avoid them.
Networking Is Harder for Remote Workers
If you work from home, you might not be able to stay on top of everything that is happening in your industry. Remote work will likely take you out of this circle. Plus, since you are physically away from your peers, it might be a bit harder for you to stay involved with them and their professional lives.
If that is happening to you, you need to make an effort to stay connected with your peers and industry. As much as you can, talk to the other people from your line of work. Go to events and connect with people. Check out your local coworking spaces, they usually organize networking events, seminars and brief courses - it’s a great opportunity to meet with likeminded people from the industry.
Remote Work Can Be Lonely
Whether an extrovert or an introvert, remote work can get lonely after a while. For most people that are just starting to work remotely, the lack of socialization may feel strange at first.
As much as being alone can do wonders for one's productivity, constant isolation can also affect it in a negative way.
If you are feeling lonely, and are missing socializing with people, instead of working from your home, go to a coffee shop. Many local coffee shops around the world have turned into unofficial offices for remote workers.
If you are running a company with many remote workers and are afraid that your employees are feeling lonely and disconnected from the colleagues, you should organize company events for some or all of your employees to attend.
Self-Direction Is Necessary
Remote work requires a certain degree of self-discipline. For remote workers to be successful at what they do, most of the time, they need to be self-starters and proactive at what they do. Because they cannot just ask their manager for directions, remote workers need to be able to work most of the time independently.
Being an independent worker does not equal working alone; it just means that even in a collaborative environment, each remote employee needs to be on top of what they are doing.
Remote Work Makes It Difficult to Switch-Off
Working in a traditional office makes it easier to differentiate between your work life and your home time, as most of the time, you are done with your work as soon as you leave the office.
If you work and live in the same space, differentiating the two can be harder.
Unwinding after a stressful day is not easy when you cannot just leave everything at the office. To separate your work from your home life, you need to give yourself proper time off. That means no emails, no checking your computer, nothing like that.
In addition to shutting off from work, make sure you often leave your home after you are done with work. Just take a walk around your neighborhood. It will help your head relax and unwind.
Remote Work Is a Skill
Remote workers need to excel at communication. They also need to be resourceful with what they have. As a remote worker, you need to be disciplined and have a strong work ethic. If you are hiring remote workers, you need to be skilled in all of this. Your life will be much easier when you can trust your employees.
However, just saying that your remote employees will do their tasks does not mean that they will. As a remote manager, you need to know how to monitor staff working from home correctly. Most remote companies rely on employee monitoring software like Workplus to help them with that.
Knowing how to monitor staff working from home will help you determine whether or not your remote employees are as resourceful and self-disciplined as you need them to be.
Hopefully, this post has given you a more realistic view of what is actually like to work remotely. If you are considering making the switch to remote work, know that the only way to tell whether or not you will be successful in remote work is to try it.
Just like anything else worthy in life, being successful in remote work will take lots of effort, focus, and discipline.