The Ups & Downs of Remote Working: And How to Overcome the Odds

The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has not only turned individual lifestyles haywire overnight but also obligated organizations to go remote. A lot of companies are arguing about remote working situations and why it is or isn’t a good option. For many of you, this might be a first time experience—you are not really sure how it’s gonna work out. Individuals who aren’t new to it will know that to be able to work from the comforts of home does hold its perks.

So, how does the sunny side look like?

Zero commuting hassle

One of the biggest challenges that we all wished we didn’t have to go through is traveling to our workplace. Most of us complain about having to spend a major chunk of our time awake just commuting. Remote working provides you the opportunity to do more productive things during the time that otherwise goes into traveling across a busy city. That’s a LOT of stress off your plate.

Custom environment

Whether it’s against your grand wall of fandom posters, by your bedroom window overlooking the street, or at a corner of your seating area, you can set up your workstation anywhere within your living space.

An economical lifestyle

It’s no surprise that you get to save a lot more money when you are not required to spend on the commute, office attire and readymade meals. You can now work within your comfort zone, wearing your pajamas. It is also cheaper and healthier when you whip up your own meals.

Scope for work-life balance

With more time in your pocket, you can be there for your family, now more than ever. Since you’re already in a homely setting, you are less likely to be anxious about work. Once you’re done for the day, your time is solely yours to enjoy with your loved ones. Being physically present always makes a positive impact on social relationships be it any member of the family.

Privacy and focus

Idle chatters and gossips are a part and parcel of office dynamics. For those of you who stay at arm’s length from such exercises, remote working allows you to do it more effectively. You’re in your private space and can focus your time and energy where it’s due and improve productivity levels.

Discovering yourself

We all have an interest or two which we never act upon due to either bandwidth issues or stress. The quarantine situation is slowly helping bring out the hidden talents among the working population. Whether it’s catching up with your personal blog or trying out a new recipe, this is the time to explore possibilities, post logging out of your day job.

But, there are always two sides to a story and you have to weigh out both.

Many professionals, especially managers, are concerned about the challenge in ensuring the organizational culture remains intact. Practically, yes, although remote working is a pleasant opportunity to seize, there are things that can cause a glitch.

Way for distractions

There is no place like home! And home is where most diversions take form. Be it the constant cell phone notifications or a cozy bedspread, most of us have a tendency to laze around when confined within the familiar walls of our room. Lack of an “office environment” leads to procrastination and loss of productivity.

Feeling of isolation

As humans, we are often driven by habit more than desire. Working from home may seem exciting at first but after a couple of days, you might start missing your colleague’s daily anecdotes about her dog. You feel bored when you suddenly don’t get to interact with people you’re used to seeing every day. And it hampers your desire to work.

Lack of communication

Situational awareness is a challenge when your team is remote. You do not know whether you’re roping in members uselessly or efficiently. Various teammates will be syncing up on multiple platforms across the day and it is likely for some details to slip through. At times, you’re long waiting for a response on an urgent matter and it slows down your day.

Less ad hoc learning

When you’re connected only virtually, the scope of picking up tips and tricks while solving a problem becomes minimal. Physically, you no longer have your go-to person who usually clarifies doubts or weighs in suggestions. You have to figure most of it by yourself and might miss out on better insights.

Difficulty in maintaining accountability

This is an issue faced by many managers since remote working renders traditional management practices ineffective. You can’t have those post-lunch briefings or do your daily rounds around the office to ensure your team is working. Due to virtual limitations, it is more taxing to establish friendship and camaraderie, that would otherwise encourage accountability.

Iffy internet situation

External factors like the Internet and electricity are mostly beyond control. Not everyone has a power backup. The Internet too can disappoint you without a warning. Such issues can impair workflow to a considerable extent and leave you slogging behind.

More often than not, the grass seems greener on the other side.

When you had to get up and go to the office every day, nothing sounded better than “Netflix and chill”. Now when you’re compelled to stay at home, you’re probably reminiscing about the debate you had with your work bestie on some political matter.

But like any other real-life problems, this too has logical solutions. If you’re wondering how to cope with the remote situation, there are certain principles that can make work life easier at home, both for you as well as your team.

Stand up meetings

A quick sync-up every day at the beginning and end of scheduled work hours will help understand the team’s tasks at hand and the overall progress. Applications like Slack and Hangouts make day-to-day communication a breeze. Scheduling meetings via Google Calendar keeps everyone alert about proceedings.

Home office set up

Set up a dedicated workstation at home since your productivity depends a lot on your work spot. As a disciplined professional, it is a healthy practice to treat your station as a regular workplace. You can, of course, get creative with the looks of it but it should help you stay as productive as you are at the office, or even more.

Schedule and communicate breaks

You won’t be implicated for taking some time off for lunch or a short errand or just a break from work. But it is important to maintain a standard schedule and communicate the same to your team. It helps smoothen workflow in case of dependencies.

Be proactive

Don’t wait around to be asked if everything is okay. When you come across an issue, inform your manager or a teammate who might be able to help. Apart from your task list, you should also vocalize your concerns and suggestions on matters. Not only does it make remote collaboration easier, but it also helps your coworkers develop trust and reliability towards you.

Learn from your experience

It is important for you to identify the environment you’ll be most effective in. Time and experience will help develop your ability to focus on multiple surroundings, which is an invaluable life skill in itself. If you’re new to the corporate world, you can start by identifying where you perform your best and why.

At the end of the day, it is up to you, to give your best efforts for the desired outcome. Circumstances may not always be ideal but they offer you a better opportunity to explore new possibilities!

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