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8 tips to beat the downside of remote work

Search Remotely Beat Downsides of Remote Work

We’ve heard a lot about the advantages of remote work; better work life balance, no commute, increased productivity improved mental health and lower costs. But what about the downsides? If we don’t have an impartial view of remote work, we may forget to identify, analyze and provide solutions to the disadvantages of remote work. This article give you 8 tips to help you beat the disadvantages of remote work

Remote work makes it difficult to ‘keep your nose in the wind’ and react swiftly to non public  information

In the absence of in person meetings, impromptu gatherings, and informal discussions while passing by, seeing a colleague in the elevator, lobby, by the water fountain or restroom, remote workers can miss out on vital office intrigue. How important is office gossip? If you are not on the inside or ‘in the know’ you are on ‘the outside’ and may fail to grasp an innovative business opportunity, latch on the coattails of an ‘up and coming’ colleague, become a mentee of an experienced veteran soon to be picked to lead a new division, or avoid a colleague who is ‘on the outs’ because of poor performance, mentioning a taboo subject or going against corporate culture.

Solution:  Socialize regularly with colleagues in face to face settings

Make it a point to socialize in person on a regular basis with colleagues who work remotely. Schedule weekly gab sessions where you plan to talk about anything but work. Of course, once the discussion turns to work, the latest happenings and gossip, do not shy away from it. Rather, take mental notes and ask specific questions  to seek answers to who, what, when, where, why and how?

Solution: Routinely meet with your supervisor, face to face if possible and virtually as a fall back

Remote workers must stay abreast of the latest corporate information. This is true whether working remotely, reporting to work in the office full time, hybrid, working from home, or working from anywhere. As you talk about your goals, objectives related to your performance plan, you should also find out about the corporation’s vision for its future. Does it plan to open a new office, expand into other service lines or products, acquire a competing company, or divest from a certain area? The answers to these questions will impact you, most definitely.  You need to know this, particularly if you are a top performing remote worker. Information is an asset. The more you know, the better able you are to plan for your own future.

Remote work can make remote workers overly dependent upon technology

Let’s face it. When working in the traditional in office environment, rather than call a co-worker or send an email to communicate, we often walked to their office in another building within the corporate campus, their cubicle next door or their suite of offices on another floor. Now all we do is send a text, check the corporate forum, make a comment on a shared document posted on the corporate intranet, schedule a virtual meeting, or send a quick email.

This means that we rely almost entirely on our laptop, tablet, desktop, smartphones or other device. We use these communication channels to communicate, relay work product back and forth and to submit completed work products.

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Solution: Keep your devices error free, malware free, and up to date.

Protect yourself against attacks and malware by installing the latest operating system updates. Also use basic due diligence when opening emails (only open emails and attachments from a trusted source). Be weary of phishing attacks were someone impersonates and copies the email or IP address of a trusted sender. And, don’t visit sites that are noted for using cookies to install malware on your system. Finally, change your password often and refrain from using passwords that are easily guessed.

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Solution: Regularly back up your important work-related documents.

Remote workers should be instructed to develop a regular schedule of backing up their work-related documents onto an offline system (separate hard drive device, in the cloud, or USB). These weekly or monthly offline backs should be done to lower the risk that critical documents and data are lost in the event of a power outage, cyber attack or human error.

Remote work may lower the visibility and accomplishments of remote workers.

When remote workers work in isolation, their visibility is lowered also. This may mean that they have fewer chances to be seen by others and fewer opportunities to present their ideas and accomplishments to higher up personnel. Ultimately less visibility may lead to fewer opportunities for advancement, professional learning and development.

Solution: Seek out opportunities to visit the office and/or serve on a task force or committee.

As with the solution to socialize to hear about the informal ‘ins and outs’ of a corporation, remote workers must also visit the office whenever possible to share your interest in moving up, learning more and doing more for the company with your supervisors and upper management. If they are not informed of your aspirations, they arguably have an excuse for not lending a hand or guiding you in the right direction.

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Solution: Meet with your supervisor monthly to stay on track to achieve your professional goals.

While the primary role of a supervisor is to ensure that the work gets done within their purview, another key task of a supervisor is career development of their subordinates. Even though this is true, many may not carve out time specifically for your professional development. Often corporate goals and objectives are paramount and when a top performer is meeting and/or exceeding targets, professional development is placed on the backburner.

As a top performing remote worker, therefore, you must schedule a time (in person or virtually) to meet with your boss to make sure that you are on track to meet your professional goals. Where do you want to be in one year, three years, or five years? How can the company help you get there? What do you need to do to reach your own goals (as they relate to your employer)? Who should be in your sights?

Solution:  Reach out to human resources to broaden your net.

When you regularly meet with your boss, you may ultimately ask them if it would be wise for you to check in with human resources from time to time. Are more opportunities for advancement projected in the next two years in a different division for instance? You need to know these things to plan accordingly. Also, you are planting a seed and growing your professional network within the company to connections beyond your supervisor. This will be vital to your career success.

Distractions and Interruptions can be hinderance to success for remote workers

During the workday from 9 to 5, professionals who work from home are often distracted by pets, children, parents, neighbors and even the mail carrier.  Further,  its hard  to refrain from watching a favorite television program, reality cable show,  listen to a radio announcer, or peek at the college or professional sports game.

And, who hasn’t gotten lost into the rabbit hole of Wikipedia, social media networks and TikTok?

Not to mention the mistaken belief that your friends think your working from home lifestyle means that they can come over and chat or phone you at any time of the day, because ‘you’re not really working, right?

All of these distractions and interruptions have the potential to dramatically lower your productivity.

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Solution:  Develop a schedule and use self control to adhere to it.

Top performers working remotely understand the importance of developing a schedule, a daily ‘to do list’ at the start of each morning, and checking off each completed task. While doing this systematically and methodologically may seem like a lot of effort, it really isn’t. There are pencil and paper agenda books, online calendars, task tools and apps to help you along the way.



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