Remote work looks great from the outside.
You get to work from home; you can be a digital nomad wandering the world with your laptop; you can stay in your PJs all day if you want; there’s no boss or nosy coworker peering over your shoulder to see what you’re working on.
It’s kind of awesome.
And kind of not.
Once the initial buzz wears off, remote work can be challenging. And isolating. And frustrating.
A recent Buffer report, titled State Of Remote Work, looked at what it means to be a remote worker in 2019—the good, the bad, and the TBD.
One of the most interesting sections of the report rounds up the top struggles remote workers face. Here they are.
Top 9 Struggles of Remote Work
9. Finding Reliable Wifi: Coffee shop wifi is unreliable, overcrowded and insecure.
8. Other: This one leaves quite a bit to the imagination. I’d like to know what the “other” struggles are. Maybe childcare, or taking the dog for a walk? Not sure.
7. Taking Vacation Time: I think this is a huge challenge for everyone these days. Expectations of being available, or responding to email, or furthering a project, are inhumanly high. I kick myself every time I do work on a vacation, yet I find it tricky to avoid completely.
6. Staying Motivated: Without the collective hustle, and with all the distractions of home (Hello, couch.), motivation can be a challenge
5. Being in a Different Timezone Than Teammates: This is hard. It makes for early mornings and late nights.
4. Distractions at Home: Working from home comes with lots of distractions. Whether it’s a leaf blower outside, interruptions from friends and family members, the allure of that stack of unread books or records waiting to be played, that show you’re binge watching, or just the sudden (and recurring) need for a snack, home has a lot of distractions.
3. Collaborating and/or Communication: When someone is sitting a few seats down from you, it’s easy to clarify todos or get an opinion. When your whole team is in-house, quick stand-up meetings are as easy as sending out a Slack notification. But, when your collaborators and bosses are distributed, everything has to go through tools: email, project management, DM, text, Slack. Communication gets slowed down and bottlenecked.
2. Loneliness: This is a big one that I think about a lot. We are facing a loneliness epidemic, and the rise of the independent workforce isn’t helping. It’s not the only cause, but, if a growing number of people are all working by themselves, holed up in their homes, we’re missing tons of informal social contact—the kind that keeps us connected and engaged. Loneliness among remote workers is real.
1. Unplugging After Work: When you work on your own schedule, there’s a danger of working all the time because there’s always something to be done. You end up responding to emails before your morning coffee, working all day, then using your laptop into the night, taking care of work odds and ends while you watch your shows or attempt to hang out with people.
What to Do About the Challenge of Remote Work
The answer for me is simple: cowork.
Maybe it’s not for everyone, but if it is for you, it will transform your life and work.
It has definitely transformed mine.
In a coworking space, you will have:
- Reliable wifi
- Clear boundaries between work and life (and vacation)
- Motivation to boot, as you’ll be surrounded by people doing amazing work
- Less distraction and more focus-enhancing work areas
- A built in community of friends, colleagues and collaborators
- Less loneliness
Coworking spaces are full of remote workers, independent professionals, freelancers startup founders and more.
Find a space near you, that suits your needs and preferences, and take it for a test run.
You don’t have to work alone.
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