Let’s face it; remote working sounds like an absolute dream to the vast majority of the general public. But only a small percentage of those people actively pursue it, and an even lower percentage manage to achieve it. Let’s face it; achieving full-time location-independent working is hard. But once you’ve spent 18 hours a day, seven days a week working toward remote glory, then the next step is solving the problems that come with it.
Inevitably when you start your journey toward location independence, you do all the research you can. You read the pros, and you understand the cons. I for sure, read about the problems with remote working before starting my journey, but before you get there, you don’t fully understand them.
I’ve been working remote since 2017, and I genuinely believe that if you don’t solve these problems, it can affect the work you produce. There’s just something about being in an office and in a team environment that sparks ideas, creativity and motivation. You don’t get that when it’s just you and a laptop.
Now, there are different types of remote working, and I think in some instances, for example, you work for a larger corporation and in a team, in one full-time position, then you may not experience as many of these problems. But when you run your own business or you freelance full time, the likelihood is you’ve got to that position by self-teaching. This is where problems arise.
I’m going to look at some of the problems that I’ve personally experienced. But don’t fear, there are solutions to them.
Now I haven’t had too many issues with this myself, but I know it can be reasonably common. What I mean by accountability is this. If I worked a regular office job and I was contracted to enter the office at nine and leave at 5, then I’m going to be there. When I’m told to have a 30-minute lunch break, I’m going to have that. When I’m told not to procrastinate on my phone, scrolling through Instagram models for 45 minutes, then I’m not going to do that.
The issue here is when you work remotely, no one is going to stop you doing this. It’s just you, your laptop, and whatever environment you decide to put yourself in. You need to have the pure discipline to get yourself out of bed every morning and ensure that everything you need to do is done.
Personally, I believe this can be slightly easier for full-time freelancers, as they pretty much have to produce work for their clients. Otherwise, they’re not going to get paid. If you’re running your own online business though, this can turn in to a real problem as you have no one to answer to but yourself.
My solutions to staying accountable are:
- Keep a routine – this is one of the best things I recommend for anyone that works remotely. Once I started structuring my life correctly, everything fell in to place. This not only helps with accountability, but it also keeps you organised and on track.
- Set yourself deadlines – this can be easier if you’re working freelance, but if not, then do it anyway. I fill out my calendar each day with what tasks need to be done, the time it will take to do them, and I make sure I stick to that.
- Get a procrastination app on your phone – these apps are super useful. One that I use is Zero Willpower. This will help limit your time on apps that don’t contribute to your working day.
Networking & Communication
We all know networking & communication is critical in business. Meeting potential clients, other businesses in your space, learning from people that have done it and bouncing ideas off people in the same position as you is priceless.
This can naturally happen in a regular workplace. You often have staff on your level, above you and below you. This stimulates creativity and motivation like no other.
This is a problem with remote working, however. If you work from home like most of us, then you miss that human interaction. The ability to just quickly bounce an idea off someone seriously goes a long way, and we miss that.
Nothing will replace human workplace interaction. However, there are ways you can simulate this and still get most of the benefits. My solutions are:
- Work from a coworking space – the idea of leaving the comfort of your own home to visit an office again almost seems backwards for some remote workers. But working from a coworking space not only helps with your routine, but it opens doors to meet new people that are in the same position as you. I like working in coworking spaces either once or twice a week. I am much more productive and comfortable working from my apartment, but human interaction and networking are priceless in these places.
- Go to networking events – working remote can often mean you don’t meet a lot of people in your industry. Finding meetups and events can put you in direct contact with people in the same position as you. You’ll be able to discuss and learn priceless information at these events. If you freelance, you may even be able to land a client or two. If you host these events you should make sure you promote them on your social media channels.
These are two of the biggest problems with remote working, in my opinion. But it isn’t all doom and gloom; there are ways to counter these issues. If you have a goal of working for yourself or of becoming location independent, it’s essential to understand that when you get there, you will run into these issues. So take note and plan to ensure you minimise the adverse effects.