Although we’re often happier and more productive than the average office worker, us remote workers do face our own fair share of struggles and annoyances that shouldn’t be overlooked.
In this blog post, I’ve recruited the help of my fellow co-workers to bring you five remote struggles us nomadic workers regularly face.
1. Forgetting to take breaks
I think being alone makes you develop all sorts of habits, like not actually taking a break when you have lunch and instead having it in front of the laptop. Obviously, the lack of face-to-face interactions and the fact that you become lazy and don't really get out of the house much doesn’t help. - Ioana Negulescu, Graphic Designer
Allowing some breathing space in between tasks is essential for your physical health and productivity. Ideally, the average computer-based worker should take a 15-minute rest after every two hours of work to prevent burning out their mental capacity.
However, as many remote workers will know, taking breaks is often hard to implement and keep track of. Without a dedicated break room to escape to, and no colleagues to share a coffee with, allowing time out can feel unnatural.
We try to bridge the gap by encouraging frequent virtual coffee breaks and regular exercise, even if it’s just a quick stroll to the nearest coffee shop to grab lunch.
2. Malfunctioning technology
As a remote business, we’re completely reliant on technology for researching, working and communicating with colleagues and clients. We don’t have dedicated IT support to turn to when something goes wrong. So when things decide to break it can be very frustrating.
Fortunately, our colleagues are very sympathetic and understanding when it comes to technical mishaps. We’ve all had our share of power cuts, unwanted computer updates and software glitches. It’s just an everyday annoyance in our lives that we’ve (begrudgingly) learnt to work with.
3. Struggling with self-care
Absenteeism drops significantly when employees are offered flexible working options. 11 percent of organisations cite ‘flexible working’ as one of their top three most effective approaches for managing short-term absence, according to a recent CIPD survey. The percentage rose to 13 percent in response to tackling long-term absenteeism.
However, for us permanent remote workers, we often feel guilty for taking any sick days. After all, even if we’re crippled and incapable of moving, we can still work from our bed or sofa, right?
I struggle to look after myself. I have often worked through illness when I shouldn’t have. If I'd been in an office then I would have gone home to rest. It's just so easy to justify powering through when you're already home. – Grace O’Brien, Marketing Copywriter
Here at Turbine, we have a quick, simple and paperless approach to calling in sick or taking time off, which makes it easier for us to prioritise our health and well-being. It also means that we don’t have to call our boss while sounding half-dead, which I think is an added bonus.
4. People assuming we’re always ‘free’
There’s a common misconception that remote workers have a lot of free time or are able to arrange their work schedule around other people. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
On a day-to-day basis, my co-workers and I have numerous deadlines, meetings and calls to work around. Interruptions and extracurricular activities can not only be impossible to attend to, but they can also distract our workflow.
Here’s an example of a common pet peeve, courtesy of my colleague Jess:
I am apparently the designated person to stay in for parcels/builders/meter readers because I work from home. – Jess Lawrence, Marketing Copywriter
Fortunately, we always have the option of eloping to the nearest cafe to escape these annoying household disruptions.
Living in leggings. – Grace O-Brien, Account Manager
For some of us, staying in a pair of leggings or pyjamas until the next call is a regular struggle. Although I don’t relate to this particular scenario, there’s definitely something to say about us all having our own unique experiences. After all, working from home can be difficult, and the individual problems we face can differ.
At the end of the day, your struggles can only be remedied by effective communication and support. So try to be open about your difficulties with your colleagues, but also your friends and family. Remote working is not the easy ride people often think it is. But you can make it work for you with the right tools, mindset and a few gentle words to those who think we spend most of the day watching Netflix in bed.
Are there any other struggles you face when working from home? Let us know in the comments!