Working from home has become increasingly common, with many companies adopting hybrid work models allowing employees to split their time between the office and home. While remote work certainly has its perks, like flexibility and no commute, it also comes with unique challenges.
As a remote employee, you may struggle to collaborate with coworkers, maintain a work-life balance, stay motivated, and more. However, you can overcome the most common work-from-home problems with the right strategies and tools.
Why Do People Prefer to Work From Home?
Many employees choose to work remotely for a variety of reasons. For one, working from home allows you to avoid the daily commute, getting extra time in the morning and the evening. You also gain location independence, allowing you to work while traveling or move somewhere less expensive. The flexibility is another huge draw, as you can more easily run errands, care for your kids, and attend appointments on workdays.
Additionally, remote work enables you to craft a more personalized workspace in your home office setting. With fewer distractions than a bustling office environment, many employees find that they can better focus on difficult projects at home.
5 Challenges of Working From Home and How to Overcome Them
While working from home certainly has some stellar advantages, it also comes with unique struggles. As a remote employee, you may encounter these five common challenges.
1. Effective Collaboration Between Team Members
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is collaborating and communicating with your colleagues. You lose those organic, in-person conversations that fuel innovation and alignment without being in the same physical office space.
As an employee working from home, you may feel out of the loop or isolated from your team members in the office. Furthermore, virtual meetings full of delayed responses and technical issues can hinder remote collaboration. A lack of effective communication channels can negatively impact your productivity and engagement.
Set up regular meetings with relevant team members to overcome such challenges to align your schedules. To stay organized and up to date, leverage tools like calendars, productivity trackers, and project management software, and make sure to proactively communicate over chat channels like Slack.
Making sure responsibilities are clear, and nothing slips through the cracks means you and your team can seamlessly work together toward your goals. Thus, it no longer matters whether you log in from home or come into the office on any given day.
2. Social Interaction and Engagement
Working remotely also runs the risk of less social interaction with your peers, leading to potential employee isolation. Without those hallway chats or lunch breaks with coworkers, you miss out on casual, relationship-building conversations that reinforce the company culture.
To overcome this, try to chat casually with your colleagues through messaging platforms and hold video calls to talk more in-depth. Sync your calendars and schedule some regular in-person team days or casual meetups. This gives you something to look forward to and a chance to brainstorm ideas, bond with your team, and stay engaged. Don't underestimate the positive impact of social interactions on your performance and job satisfaction.
3. Work-Life Balance and Time Management
Working from home also introduces potential issues around maintaining a work-life balance and efficiently managing your time. You may gain some flexibility around when you start and end your work without having to commute to the office. However, this flexibility can also make maintaining boundaries between work and your personal life difficult.
Additionally, when your personal and professional lives occupy the same physical space, it becomes harder to "unplug" at the end of a long day. You may work irregular hours based on when is most convenient for your household, making it difficult to find time for non-work activities. So, set up a designated workspace in your home and establish specific work hours as if you were going into the office. Use a calendar app to schedule blocks of time for different activities and stick to that routine. During your downtime, step away completely.
Also, leverage productivity and time-tracking tools to stay focused when you're working so you don't fall behind schedule. With more structure around your work schedule, you can also better maintain your personal life.
4. Proximity Bias and Equal Opportunities
While most managers don't intend to play favorites, proximity bias, through which office workers get preferred treatment, is a real issue. Whether it's because managers forget to loop you into emails or because in-office employees simply get more face time with them, the "out of sight, out of mind" effect disadvantages many remote employees.
Companies should nurture an equitable hybrid environment, but as an employee, you can proactively manage up, too. Overcommunicate through messaging platforms and email to remain visible and at the top of decision-makers minds.
Also, track your progress so your contributions are adequately documented, not just in passing conversations. Lean on tools like Scoop to sync your schedule with those of your remote and in-office colleagues so you can easily join collaborative sessions and important meetings.
5. Technical Challenges and Obtaining the Appropriate Equipment
Spotty Wi-Fi connections, outdated personal devices, a lack of access to collaboration tools, and other small tech challenges like these shouldn't torpedo your performance, but they can definitely be a hindrance.
Ensure you have a proper work setup, including a reliable internet connection, an up-to-date computer, and access to communication tools. Also, make sure to take advantage of company resources, stipends, discounts, or device loans if they're available. Staying up to date on the latest apps and digital infrastructure enables you to seamlessly communicate, avoid frustration, and focus on getting your work done.
Discover the Best Way to Be Productive in a Hybrid Environment
Navigating the growing challenges of working from home is crucial to success in a hybrid environment. As remote work becomes more prevalent, having the right digital tools enables both productivity and connectivity.
Scoop provides flexible support and integrates directly with Slack, your calendar, and your phone to facilitate effortless collaboration. By leveraging Scoop to overcome these common hybrid workplace issues, you can thrive while enjoying the perks of remote work. Download Scoop for free to unlock the future of work.