Disadvantages of working remotely
Most people have never paid much attention to the disadvantages of working remotely.
With the amount of stress on the increase in today’s society. It is mostly an awesome relief when you get employed by an organization to work remotely. It’s a dream come true for some. You can finally curl up in bed and work without having to bother about the hassles of commute in a bid to get to work, or you can have a cup of tea and listen to deafening music without being served a query by your boss or supervisor. The list of what you can enjoy as a remote employee is a long one and I’m certain if we wanna look in that direction this piece might be a very long one.
But just as with every other thing in life, everything with an advantage has its own disadvantages as well. Let’s take a look at some disadvantages of working remotely.
Some disadvantages of working remotely
Lack of human interaction:
This is a major challenge in the remote workspace. “You’re alone!” at least as it relates to work. This is part of but not limited to being lonely. You and your workmates could be using apps like slack, skype, whatsapp etc for communicating with each other. But this apps cannot cover for the one on one meetings where colleagues benefit from social support from one another. As humans we are social beings, and yearn to get others opinion in most of what we do, including work.
Seeking for assistance on a difficulty you’re facing on a task with a workmate via the internet is more difficult. This is sometimes due to the fact that explaining how to go about solving the problem may be more tedious than actually solving the problem. Most workmates would rather carry out the task (or that phase of the task) and as such the opportunity of learning through such interaction is lost.
This could be handled by encouraging remote workers to meet physically (offline). Such meetings could be once in a while, once in a week or once in every two weeks as the case may be. This will go a long way to foster a healthy working relationship within the team. Preferably some of such meetings should be an informal or leisurely setting with fun activities. “All work and no play makes jack a dull boy” so they say.
No actual working time regulation:
This is also one of the many disadvantages of working remotely.
Most remote jobs are not affixed to a specific time frame especially in today’s remote workspace which is ever-expanding in diverse ways. Imagine remote worker A is in the United States (US) and remote worker B is in New Zealand (NZ). These are two distinctly different time zones. It is highly likely that when Worker A is working Worker B will be sleeping and as such it would be unfair to fix a specific time frame for work. The downside with respect to the above instance is that communication between both parties will be strained because they will mostly leave messages for each other instead of talking or chatting with each other in real-time as the case maybe as such collaboration which should make their life easier as a team and also enhance the process of achieving their goals will become a slow and painful experience.
Another downside to this is the fact that an employee who is working remotely may procrastinate when to carry out assigned tasks and actually end up not doing them, this would lead to disappointments, delay project delivery time and could as well lead to the loss of a client.
One of the effective ways of curbing the latter is using a time tracking device or software. This tool would record time actually spent working by the employee and also go as far as taking screenshots of their P.C screens at intervals to enable the employer or client make verification if need be. It will also enable the employer to regulate time although in a fluid manner.
More disadvantages of working remotely:
Risk of Overworking:
It may sound funny or out of place at first to imagine one having to overwork remotely, I mean you’re the master of your time, right?
Wrong! Experience has shown that most remote workers end up spending more time on tasks or projects they have been assigned to handle than employees who work from an office within a regulated frame of time. This happens as a result of not knowing or outrightly refusing to take breaks when necessary.
As a remote worker it is important to differentiate between the hours you work and the time needed for personal pursuit. Setting a specific number of hours and a comfortable period for work is ideal if you aim to be productive. For instance if you decide to work only when you are done with your personal chores, you may find out you’re exhausted and may not be in the right frame of mind to do the needful. If necessary create a to-do list for each day schedule how you want to accomplish your tasks for that day and ensure that you leave a considerable and fitting amount of time to do your job without hassles.
Knowing when to stop working is also key especially when you’re unsupervised, but tracking time spent with a device or software will assist you know when it’s time to call it a day. It is also important to know that “stop work” doesn’t mean the task you have at hand is accomplished, it means that the time allotted for work for that day has expired and as such you should stop working and continue with other aspects of life. This will ensure that you don’t suffer along the line from brain fag or exhaustion which will lead to low productivity, focus and eventually even losing the job.
Focus cannot be overemphasized when working remotely if one is to be successful at it. Lack of focus is a recipe for failure for any remote worker. Hence the need to get rid of any form of distractions.
Distractions could be in the form of social media notifications, long phone calls from loved ones, anxiety of personal chores waiting to be carried out e.t.c. These could keep one’s attention divided and as such not focused on the task at hand.
It is advisable to put mobile devices off or at the very least activate the silent mode, phone calls can wait for the duration of work, treat your job as it is important because a lot depends on it irrespective of the fact that you’re working remotely. Try and carry out pressing personal chores prior to time set aside for work or schedule them for later and take your mind off them for the interim.
Working remotely has its pros and cons. The pros far exceed the cons though in this case but if one doesn’t pay necessary attention to the cons it is sure to be a bumpy and pretty unpleasant experience. This article by no means cover the disadvantages of working remotely. If you have other experiences and feel like sharing it with us please feel free to do so in the comment section.
This article was written by Keresifon Ekpo @stabusyproject.