Remote from Life: What Problems Remote Workers Face and How to Overcome Them.

Remote from Life: What Problems Remote Workers Face and How to Overcome Them.

| Career

Many of us only tried remote working for the first time during the pandemic in 2020.

At that time, employers and employees themselves had mixed reactions to it. Still, many of both got so used to this kind of work that they stayed remote even when the "epidemiological indications" for it ended. Everyone appreciated the pluses of this format, such as reduced rental costs, saving energy and time traveling to the office, reducing stress, and many other benefits. Nevertheless, not everyone was ready for the disadvantages of remote work when they made themselves felt, but this did not happen from the get-go.

So, what are the Dangers, Disadvantages, and Risks of Remote Work?


According to the anonymous forum Blind, 73 to 81% of employees of American IT companies transferred to remote work from the beginning of the pandemic, experienced emotional burnout after a few months of work, resulting in a significant decrease in their efficiency and, as a result, the total revenue of the companies. This burnout had several causes, probably familiar to you if you worked remotely.

1. When Working Remotely, You Can't Stop Working.

Contrary to popular myths about lazy "remote workers" who don't get out of bed if they can work from home, they are much more productive than office workers. So, according to a study by Stanford University, only a third of remote workers do not work on weekends, 20% work more than ten hours a day, and 70% work at least once but at night. Of course, this is excellent news for employers, but not in the long run because productivity remains so high only until that very burnout strikes.

In the office, the workload is more evenly distributed for several reasons: firstly, the office has a clear schedule, while when switching to remote work, it became floating for many, and interaction with the manager occurs strictly according to the results, not in the process. Secondly, the employee works with an eye on colleagues, so they adapt to the general rhythm and stop simultaneously as others. Privately, it may seem to a specialist that they are lagging, not doing enough because there is no way to compare his progress with someone else's. As a result, fears get exacerbated - for example, the fear of being fired - and workaholism becomes a protective mechanism of the psyche.

2. There's a Blurring of the Boundaries Between Work and Personal Life.

This cause is interrelated with the point above because employees start working at weekends or nights when they lose the distinction between work and personal life. You live at home and work at home. You don't leave the office as you used to, so it's as if work never ends. The other extreme of this problem can be procrastination, when a person is constantly distracted by household chores or performs them in parallel with work, because of which both get stretched in time, and the end turns into a single inefficient process.

3. There's no Socialisation, and There is a Lack of Communication.

The need to be part of society is fundamental, and even those who consider themselves introverts experience it. With remote work, contacts with colleagues and the manager are minimized and limited to work emails or online conferences. During the coronavirus pandemic, when social quarantine was also in effect, that is, a ban on visiting public places, people were confined to their homes, locked in four walls. Indeed, the constant feeling of loneliness inevitably leads to anxiety disorders and depression, and the lack of direct communication can create problems at work if solid communication between departments or teamwork is needed.

4. The Sense of Belonging to the Company Disappears.

Away from colleagues and the office, it is hard to feel part of the team and the company, because of which the level of engagement decreases, and the corporate culture and ideology die. At the same time, the employee may lose the sense of responsibility for the result because he no longer worries about the company's future and ceases to realize the importance of their role in its functioning.

5. A Sedentary Lifestyle Dominates.

Another consequence of remote work and its disadvantages is the natural reduction in physical activity: you don't need to go to the office and, therefore, don't stretch your legs and leave the house. Simultaneously, the amount of time spent at the computer increases, which causes irreparable damage to your health, especially your eyesight and musculoskeletal system. The same can lead to apathy, lethargy, and drowsiness, making it difficult to work.

How to Combat the Cons of Remote Work and Turn them into Pros.


Fortunately, all these remote work problems can be eliminated, and you don't have to return to the office.

Diversify Your Physical Activity

Just because you work from home doesn't mean you don't have to leave it now. Get back into physical activity in the most minor and enjoyable ways. For instance, stroll around your home every evening, go shopping rather than using a delivery service, ride rollerblades if it's warm, or at least buy some dumbbells to take home or do yoga from a YouTube video. Physical activity is also good for your mental health and helps boost your energy levels and reduce stress, which is slowly building up, even though you work remotely.

Log your Working Hours

One of the advantages of remote working is that employers usually allow remote workers to work when it suits them. Indeed, the main thing is to complete tasks in a quality and timely manner. In this regard, however, there is a temptation to "smear" tasks for a whole day. Hence, stress, procrastination (or, on the contrary, being a workaholic), blurring of boundaries, and everything we discussed above. It doesn't mean you should wake up and get to work at 8 a.m. if you can afford not to, but set working hours with strict boundaries. For example, you work continuously from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the deadline for the last task is 6 p.m. You didn't make it? Then postpone it to tomorrow because the working day is over. So, transfer to tomorrow because the working day is over. The main thing is not to indulge yourself and follow your own rules.

Take Regular Breaks

Small breaks in work allow your brain to "reboot" and are an excellent substitute for a long and long rest, which you cannot always afford. In the office, you've probably taken a break from work from time to time, right? The most important thing is not to do other work, say, housework, during your breaks. Instead, walk around the house, pet the cat, look out the window or make tea. It's also best if breaks follow a set schedule too - this is additionally disciplining.

Plan Tasks and Track Progress

One of the most critical points in remote work is to plan and track progress so that you do not work "on current tasks" and don't burn yourself out. You can do this in many ways, for example, by using a whiteboard and stickers and dividing it into two columns - "Current Tasks" and "Completed Tasks"- and moving stickers with tasks between them. It is essential not to remove stickers from the "completed" box to see your progress and achievements. A regular day planner with colored markers where you highlight completed tasks in yellow or pink will also work.

Create a Workspace8

To solve the problem of blurring the boundary between work and personal life will help to arrange a place where you will do this work separately from the rest. Of course, it's not always easy to do this, especially if you have a small flat and share space with a whole family. But try anyway: clear your desk of unnecessary things, move it to a corner, and block it with a screen, for example. Create certain working conditions that you must respect. It could also be aromatic candles. A particular scent will set you in the mood for work or your appearance. Work exclusively in a white shirt and trousers, even if no one sees you. Once you change your clothes, your work gets done.

Make Reports and Record Agreements

In the process, small daily or weekly progress reports will help you keep track of yourself and, at the same time, maintain productive communication with your colleagues if you share these reports. Also, record in a shared document with your colleagues who is responsible for which task or who promised to send/do/acknowledge what. It will help avoid misunderstandings and gaps in information that inevitably arise when different team members are in other places.

Increase the Time Spent with Friends and Loved Ones

If you lack live interaction and socializing, make up for it by having friends and family rather than work relationships. For example:

  • Meet friends at least once a week, at the weekends.
  • Find a hobby that you do in groups, such as oil painting or fitness. Yes, that's right, physical activity is just the same!
  • Start attending workshops or conferences in your specialty so you will expand business contacts if you need them; see a therapist if these measures don't help and you're experiencing more severe symptoms of loneliness like anxiety or depression.
  • See a therapist if these measures don't work and you are experiencing more severe symptoms of loneliness like anxiety or depression.

Provide Technical Support for Yourself and Your Team!

With cloud-based platforms and services like Trello, for example, the quality of remote communication is improving by leaps and bounds. Ask your manager (if you're not one yourself) to give you access to the right platforms and technologies for remote teamwork. Everyone will have access to the same documents, and tasks performed by a colleague can be tracked in real-time. Work will become transparent, and time spent on correspondence, clarification of nuances, etc., will be significantly reduced.

Moreover, even though sometimes remote work involves a few problems and risks, its advantages are undeniable. If you are not ready to abandon them and again go to the other end of the city to the office, it is much easier to eliminate the costs of remote work because you can do it yourself. Self-discipline and strategic thinking are more important here than anywhere else - if you pump them up, remote work will become a paradise!

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