Working From Home: 5 Common Issues and How to Deal with Them

Working From Home: 5 Common Issues and How to Deal with Them

The benefits of remote work are undeniable. 

However, there are also challenges such as struggling to switch off, technology challenges, isolation, dealing with interruptions and distractions, and working across time zones. 

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome them and we offer solutions to do just that.

In this article, we list the main challenges you may encounter while working from home and some of the most effective ways to deal with them.

#1. You have a hard time switching off from work

In a survey conducted in 2019, 22% of respondents stated they struggle to switch off. Remote workers don’t have set hours which is a benefit and a curse as it can be challenging to achieve a healthy work/life balance. The lack of this balance can make the employee feel exhausted and eventually lead them to hate their job. We need breaks and downtime, and it can be hard to draw a line between work and home.

How to solve this problem

There are several things you can do, and apps that can help you achieve them:

  • Set achievable daily targets.
  • Set reminders/alarms for tea, lunch, and ‘stretch’ breaks.
  • Set a personal ‘appointment’ at the end of the day (gym or a walk, for example).
  • Make others aware of your work hours.
  • Have a separate workspace that you can close off/put your laptop away.

None of these involve expense. They just require thought and planning.

#2. You battle with technology problems

Few things can wreck a day the way technical problems can. If your laptop/PC crashes, you experience an outage or have an unstable or slow connection, remote work becomes difficult, stressful, and even impossible. In addition, public Wi-Fi spots can be erratic and potentially unsafe. 

How to mitigate these problems

Issues will arise, but you can take steps to reduce the risk and/or impact:

  • Have a backup plan/location for if your home connection is lost.
  • Backup your files regularly.
  • Ensure your device, files, apps, and tools are always updated.
  • Use a VPN to guard your data. For example, Surfshark’s products give their clients control of their digital lives (read how good Surfshark is).
  • Invest in a high-speed line and/or a booster to improve speed and reliability.

The investment of time and money involved is well worth it to ensure you can work.   

#3. You feel lonely and isolated

In traditional office environments, co-workers are a large part of our social circle. Some remote workers feel that lack of interaction keenly. This can be particularly acute for those without family at home. Feeling isolated and being in one location can lead to depression and/or a reluctance to leave that environment. Does this sound familiar to you?

How to solve this problem

This challenge can be a tough one to deal with, but it can be eased:

  • Break up your day by including social interaction such as lunch with a friend.
  • Use co-working spaces.
  • Use venues like coffee shops for an hour or two.
  • Join a social/activity group in your area or take some classes.

This issue requires more effort to overcome. However, once you work to counteract this problem, you will feel better and working will be easier too.

Image by 5starsday

#4. You don’t know how to deal with interruptions and distractions

Productivity-reducing distractions and interruptions happen when working at home or away. Distractions at home can be more marked as we are surrounded by things we’d rather do. Small children are especially difficult to deal with as they don’t understand why a parent is out of bounds.

How to reduce this problem

Interruptions and distractions can’t be avoided completely. Here are some concrete steps you can take to reduce them:

  • Have a clearly defined, distraction-free work area.
  • Let others know you are not available.
  • Turn off app notifications that are not work-related.
  • Keep set working hours so they become part of a home routine.

Distractions can be controlled or turned into a positive if you plan and get organized.

#5. You find working across multiple time zones and locations tough

If you are a remote worker, you know what a boon flexibility can be. When it comes to accommodating global projects and collaborations it becomes essential. However, it comes with practical challenges as individuals may not be working (or even awake) at the same time.

How to solve this problem

How you deal with this varies:

  • If you are a member of a team/an employee a regular schedule is necessary.
  • Self-employed individuals can institute a four-hour overlap with others when possible.
  • If an overlap is not possible, be clear about hours and time zones and come to an arrangement.

This area can be tough to get around. Clear, frequent communication is key.

In conclusion

As a remote worker, you may have experienced challenges we’ve discussed here yourself. 

If remote workers know what they are taking on and can overcome the practical and psychological challenges, working remotely is very rewarding. 

If you get it right, it offers benefits a traditional work situation can’t match!