We talk a lot about remote work. If you’re new here, we are a 100% remote company and we LOVE the flexibility that it provides. It is a benefit that attracted many of us to our roles. We have written before about why we love remote work so much, but it’s time to come clean. Remote work is amazing, but like all things it is not perfect. There are parts about it that can be really hard. Luckily, we have all come up with strategies to overcome these difficulties to make remote work successful. Today we wanted to share a few of these struggles and how we overcame them.
Poor time management
Remote work means we aren’t tied to the traditional 9-5 schedule. This is great, but it can also be tempting to put off your work until the last minute since there is no coworker in the cubicle next door who will start wondering where you are. If you aren’t careful, this might mean you end up hitting snooze a few more times that you should have or trying to jam a full week’s work into only three days. To avoid this, at the beginning of each week I plan out what hours I will be working and focus very hard on sticking to it. This helps me stay on track and still have plenty of free time during the week as well.
Working too much
When working remotely, without being careful, you may find that you are never truly off. In today’s world we have email, Slack, and other office tools with us on our phones at all times and without the structure of working when you are at the office and turning off when you are not. When I first started working remotely, I became so stressed because I felt like I needed to respond to every message as soon as it came in. This was of course very unsustainable and I learned to set boundaries for myself that help me to be more productive when I am working and to help me unplug and relax when I’m not.
Asking yourself “Wait who?”
When you first start at a new company that is remote it can be hard to learn who is who and what everyone is responsible for because you aren’t seeing them in person. This can make it tricky if you have a question and aren’t sure who is best to contact about it. We have created a detailed organizational chart for new employees that makes navigating this a bit easier.
Problems with communication
When you can’t just pop over to someone’s office for a chat, communication can be a bit tricky. However, there are plenty of tools that make it easier including Slack, Google Docs, Google Hangouts, and Discourse. Regularly scheduled check-in meetings are also a great way to make sure no information slips through the cracks.
For better or for worse, when you work in an office you are surrounded by coworkers which can prevent you from feeling isolated. When you begin working remotely it takes a little more effort to maintain human connection. The connections you do have will not involve someone stealing your yogurt from the fridge so we think it is worth it. When I begin feeling a bit lonely I head to a co-working space or a local coffee shop to get some work done and then make plans with a few friends. This leaves me feeling connected and happy.
“Weird company culture”
Working with people from across the globe, many of whom you have never met in real life, does have the potential to create a “weird” company culture. At Kuvio, we worked to solve this by putting in time and work to get to know each other. We have interest-based Slack channels where people can talk about their shared hobbies and interests as well as a bi-weekly, optional meeting where we all can get together and talk about anything that isn’t work. This has made us all feel more connected as a team.
We live in a world full of distractions and staying focused seems to be getting harder and harder. Add in the ability to work from anywhere and access anything from your computer while working and before you know it you may find yourself off track. Using the Pomodoro Technique has really helped me stay focused. It involves timing your work into bursts followed by short breaks. During the breaks I can indulge in the many distractions the internet has to offer, but while I am working I give it 100%.
We hope this article helps you to work out any kinks that may be found in your remote work process. Do you work remotely? What is your favorite part and biggest challenge? Let us know on Twitter, @KuvioCreative.
Kuvio Creative is a web design and development company comprised of remote workers spread across the globe. We are united by one goal: using innovation to solve our clients problems and bring their ideas to life.
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