Why Remote Working Is Bad
Tips for when the novelty of remote working wears off
(Originally posted on https://aboutsnack.com/blog/why-remote-work-is-bad.)
Many of us have unexpectedly found ourselves remote working this year. At first, it seemed like a dream — no more commute! No more tedious office politics! An extra hour in bed in the morning! But now that we’ve all been working away in our spare rooms and on our sofas for weeks on end the novelty is beginning to wear off.
Here are some of the downsides to remote working, and tips for how to overcome them…
It’s impossible to focus
When you’re working in isolation it can be really hard to keep your mind from wandering. Whether it’s taking a minute to load the dishwasher, feed the cat or plan your weekend it’s all too easy for those five minute breaks to become half an hour of mindless scrolling on TikTok.
It’s a fine balance between keeping on task, and allowing your mind a bit of breathing room — after all in the buzz and noise of an office you’d likely face micro distractions all day.
A great way to keep yourself motivated, productive and focussed is to try the Pomodoro Method. It’s a scientifically proven technique where you knuckle down and work in 25 minute bursts, followed by timed five minute breaks to refresh your mind. There are great Pomodoro apps available so that you can time it on your phone, or even on your Fitbit!
It can be lonely
If you’re used to going into an office every day it’s a big adjustment to miss out on the team culture. All those water cooler moments, team meetings and coffee breaks really help to top up your mind’s need for social interaction. You might have found Greg from accounts seriously annoying with his constant holiday stories, but now that you don’t speak to him (or anybody else) for hours on end you strangely find yourself wondering if he ever got to go to Cancun?
Teams using Slack can help their members to keep social interaction going by using tools such as Snack, which enables spontaneous video chats between colleagues, with ice breaker questions and timers to keep it fun and brief.
Work/life balance becomes a blur
You’ve always wanted more ‘life’ in your work/life balance, but now that work is in your home, and you only have to walk a few steps from your bed to your desk, it all seems a bit too close for comfort.
The ideal situation is of course to have a home office that you can close the door on at the end of the day, but if that’s not possible, consider solutions such as a Murphy desk that you can close up when you clock off so that your work space isn’t staring you in the face as you try to relax.
Creativity can dry up
When you are sitting in the same environment day in day out, without the stimulation of your team around you, it can be hard to keep coming up with fresh new ideas. When you find yourself hitting the brick wall, take some time to see what the competition are up to. Also have a look at your customers, see what they’re talking about on social media, or how they are adapting to current circumstances. By bringing the outside into your day you can create serendipity by stumbling across something that inspires your next brilliant project. Sometimes you have to get out of your zone and create your own lightbulb moment!
Unexpected video calls
There’s no getting around this one. Just make sure you at least change out of your pyjamas each day!