Many companies and professionals have been working remotely for a long time now. During this time, we have witnessed some challenges and pain points of this new working model.
It’s hard not to face any of the challenges of remote work, especially if you’re just starting remote work (or if you are changing to another company).
Here we will list a couple of these main challenges and some ways to face them.
A piece of advice that is mostly recommended in remote working is to over communicate, especially with multicultural teams. If you tell someone you need a task done urgently, you might have a concept of urgent while the other person has another understanding. With this way of thinking, it would be better to say: “We need to finish this task by Monday at 10:00 hs” (and ideally specifying which time one is referring to).
In the same line, clarifying your expectations from day 1 is extremely important. This means talking about what you are expected to achieve, your time availability, and more importantly your professional career inside your company.
2. Social connections and isolation
Not having that daily coffee and chatting with colleagues can be a little challenging. Social connections between teammates are necessary for team building and strengthening relationships.
Quizzes, games, and trivia are not exactly things one associates with the job. When it comes to remote team development, however, you cannot afford to overlook these.
After all of your efforts, it's important to remember that it's normal to have some fun and just have a silly chat with your team.
Bring it on once or twice a week, whether it's a fun exercise session, a chance coffee gathering, or anything else.
If your company or your team does not provide a special moment during the week for team building, be brave and promote it by yourself, be sure that it will be appreciated.
Even before remote working, it was important to have efficient meetings. Now that everything went virtual, it’s crucial that we are able to minimize our waste of time in meetings.
The first and most important part is to make sure if you have to be in a meeting or not. Sometimes we are in the middle of a meeting and we ask ourselves: “Why are we here if we are not adding value?”. If you are not sure whether or not you have to attend a meeting, ask in advance to the owner of it why you need to be there and understand if there is a way the information/idea can be sent through an email instead.
Another interesting piece of advice to make meetings more efficient is to set them up for 50 minutes instead of one hour. This comes from a Harvard article written by David Silverman where he states the importance of it. By setting up a “10-minute break” between each meeting, you allow yourself to get ready for the next one and at the same time avoid all the stress of being already late for the next meeting and still closing details from the previous one.
4. Time for yourself
Finally, but definitely not less important, is to take time for your self-care. You may find yourself glued to your computer screen for greater periods of time as the boundary between "work" and "home" blurs. While this is sometimes required at the end of the month or ending a big presentation, make time for yourself. Stick to your fun plans and arrange time to eat with family/friends.
With more flexibility, you can make sure you don't miss out on life's essential events. As a remote worker, you may care for your children without having to leave the workplace during regular business hours, work from any location in the globe, and even arrange that doctor's visit you've been putting off because it didn't fit into your schedule.
Though you may get emails and chat messages at any time (particularly if you work in a different time zone than your coworkers), it's crucial to establish a practice of "logging out" for the night. Working remotely gives you the freedom to work when you're most productive, so don't establish the expectation that you'll be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.