In the past couple of years, the world has witnessed significant disruptions in work. As office buildings went on lockdown, business owners found that they had to ensure that work went on as usual. Location independence provided that. With remote work, employers had a way to carry on with operations even amid the pandemic.
Now that the pandemic is waning in most parts of the world, it seems that the remote working model is here to stay for good. According to The Economist, 20% of the global workforce expects to keep working remotely after the pandemic.
Some think that working remotely is easier, while others believe they are better off with the 9-to-5 way of life. Let’s explore these issues in further detail.
Some Expectations People Have About Remote Work
The popular stereotype of a remote worker is the digital nomad, or someone who can work from any part of the world, communicating with teammates or clients through technology. Some career coaches sell this lifestyle as a golden ticket to a fulfilling life. And it could be–but not without a lot of discipline and effort.
Digital nomads need a strict schedule and must create space between their work and personal life. Without the natural boundaries of an office, a digital nomad must be mindful of enforcing their own. Besides this, here are more expectations people have about remote work, and the realities about them.
People naturally believe that they will save valuable time spent on commuting when working from home. This means they will free up more time to spend with family or doing what they love. In fact, some employees also work on their days off. Research on remote employees shows that 70% worked on weekends, and 45% worked longer hours since the pandemic.
Working longer hours and weekends leads to burnout. As a result, you cannot complete your house chores, get together with friends and families, or have a relaxing time doing hobbies.
Managing Hours as a Remote Worker
Fortunately, a remote worker can create balance between work and personal life by managing their time well. For one, instead of frequently taking breaks, it’s better to make a schedule. And remote workers shouldn’t feel guilty if you take a break, especially if they’ve accomplished most of what they meant to do for the day. It’s important that workers enjoy their break time to ensure that they have fresh minds when they get back to work.
Another way to manage one’s hours is to hire a remote assistant, especially for routine tasks like scheduling appointments, tracking work progress, and running errands. Virtual assistants can optimize your schedule and ensure that you wrap up work on time without neglecting any of your duties.
In physical office settings, managers give constructive criticism or praise to improve employee productivity and work quality. In remote setups, though, workers often find it challenging to seek out professional development. Internet connectivity issues, miscommunication, and the lack of a platform connecting all employees could hinder an employee’s professional growth.
Remote Professional Development
Workers interested in furthering their remote careers can independently seek out online mentoring programs. A mentoring program prepares you to manage multiple responsibilities simultaneously without any assistance. These skills are good to navigate personal and professional life challenges expertly.
Another way to ensure continuous improvement is by enrolling in online learning programs. A remote employee should focus on courses that will let them pick up a new skill set. Becoming a specialist is the way forward in most careers, so it’s essential to keep learning and upskilling.
Networking and Connectivity Issues
Before the pandemic, daily meetings and face-to-face communication helped workers bond and develop a camaraderie. When employees have a good bond, they work better as a team, increasing their productivity.This connection can be difficult to maintain for people who don’t see each other in person.
Even if remote colleagues talk to each other through audio or video calls, they cannot observe each other’s physical cues. Moreover, when employees don’t connect, they become isolated and alone. This directly affects their mental health, physical health, and work productivity.
Staying Connected while Working Remotely
Use a collaboration tool to ensure your team is present on one platform. These tools can send individual and group messages. A collaboration tool helps create a communication system similar to a physical setting. This means they can always talk to each other, ask for help, and stay updated with work updates.
You should also hold official employee video meetings weekly. In this meeting, every employee can share their concerns and provide feedback regarding work. But don’t make the entire meeting about work. Set the first half of the meeting to discuss work progress and issues. And in the second half, let employees interact with each other to build team bonding.
Many remote workers keep their private life on the back burner to succeed in their careers. They don’t want to come across as lazy, and as a result, they end up working longer hours and on weekends. This disturbs the work-life balance and negatively affects other aspects of the employees’ lives.
In contrast, some remote workers believe working remotely from home is like a party. They think they can watch Netflix, play games, and sleep all the time. They don’t take their work responsibilities seriously. As they waste most of their essential time surfing the internet and engaging in leisure activities, they start to panic when all the tasks stack up. At this moment, their only chance to complete every task is by putting in extra hours. When they start working extra hours, they risk their career and personal life.
Keeping Work-Life Balance
Even when working from home, you must separate your personal devices from your office ones. While working, keep your mobile phone away to ensure you are not tempted to check it every 15 minutes. Once you start surfing the internet, you will have trouble focusing on your office work. So, it is better to put your mobile far away and only check it during breaks.
You should also hire a virtual assistant to use your time on essential tasks. A virtual assistant gives you back your precious time by managing your work life. For example, they could help you create and maintain a schedule, notify you about the upcoming meetings, data entry, check emails, and organize your personal and work tasks to fit around each other perfectly.
Remote working is fast becoming the prevalent work model all over the globe. And there is no doubt that it is here to stay even after the pandemic is over. However, it is not easy to maintain all your responsibilities while working remotely.
On the plus side, anyone can learn the skills that ensure you can maintain the much-needed balance between personal and professional life. So, even if remote working is not for everyone, you can learn to be a great remote worker.
Similarly, managers must also set standards that allow employees to live a fuller life and achieve their goals for remote work. This doesn’t mean discounting employee performance and output but giving them milestones and deliverables that are attainable and realistic.
All in all, communication and managing expectations is the key to winning at remote work.
Search Remotely is an online platform for companies looking to scale up their remote teams with high-quality remote employees. We enable employees to break the cycle and start working remotely.