Many people complain that it is next to impossible to stay productive at work when you’re part of a remote workers team. At the same time, this type of work environment is a standard for millions of employees around the world; especially after the COVID-19 crisis.
In the U.S. alone, close to 10 million workers had the benefit of remote work available to them before the coronavirus crisis. During the crisis, these numbers have quadrupled and proved that remote work can function in practice.
For those who are still adjusting to the work-from-home setting and battling low productivity and motivation, we have prepared this overview of the main productivity killers of remote work.
To successfully resolve these issues, you have to deliberately approach your new work environment with a problem-solving attitude, to raise your productivity levels.
Productivity Blockers for Remote Workers
Here are some of the things at home that are likely to kill your productivity. If you do get time, don’t forget to watch this video on managing remote work teams. It might fill you in on few tips from long term productivity perspective.
The most obvious difference between office work and remote work is that, instead of your colleagues, you’ll be surrounded by your family, roommates, or no one. To start with, you will need to set clear boundaries and discuss your needs with the people you’re living with.
If you allow your toddler to show you their artwork every 5 minutes during your work hours, you’ll probably get nothing done.
If you live alone, the quiet and the feelings of isolation can also be a big productivity killer. Some people prefer to work and think in absolute solitude, but most people find that it reflects negatively on their productivity. You need to practice self-motivation to master productivity in solitude.
2. Lack of Structure and Routine
Have you ever noticed that 8 hours in the office go by much faster than when you work 8 hours from home? That’s because the human brain is used to fitting periods and action into rigid structures, which produces an effect of a quicker passing of time.
This structure and routine that you have in your daily office life (not only in the office but from the moment you wake up and start getting ready to when you’re home again) is also what keeps you productive. Some creative tasks can benefit remote workers from a lack of structure. However, in a vast majority of cases, it is quite the opposite.
3. Lack of Boundaries Between Work and Life
“When I first started working remotely full-time, one of my biggest issues was to draw a line between my work and my private life. I would find myself scrolling through my inbox as I was watching a new episode of a TV show in the evenings with my partner.
Also, I often worked a lot of overtime and during the weekends because I felt guilty about not being in the office at the beginning”, says Marie Fincher, Head of Content at GrabMyEssay.
If you can, set up a fixed structure of time when you’re on the clock and when you’re not. At first, it may seem like you’re giving up on the freedom and flexibility that come with remote work, but clear boundaries and differentiating between work life and rest is crucial for productivity.
4. No Access to Appropriate Tools and Services
In the office, you will have access to a wonderful pool of services and tools that make your life easier. If you get stuck on something or you need help, you just send over an email to the IT department and they fix the problem in a couple of minutes.
Remote workers can also rely on top-tier cybersecurity services from time to time. This is important because we often ignore simple security measures that need to be followed when working from a remote location.
On that note, you can forget about most of that when you’re working from home. Firstly, you will have to tackle the issue of cybersecurity with your employer.
Since you’ll likely be using your private network on a private computer, you need to set up a protection system that’s powerful enough to shield all the data you’ll be entering and viewing.
Check out this remote tools market map.
5. Burnout Syndrome Effect for Remote Workers
According to psychologists and mental health experts, burnout syndrome is one of the biggest issues in modern workaholic culture. Every worker is at risk of suffering from work burnout at least once during their career, while many employees working high-stress jobs suffer from it all the time.
Usually, burnout syndrome is related to long hours at the office, but surprisingly, it can develop in the remote work environment as well. Sometimes, remote workers feel the need to prove their productivity and efficiency, so they take on too much work. This results in burnout much quicker than in the office, where there are fellow colleagues who can warn you that you might have taken on too much.
You can outsource some of your tasks to reduce the pressure you have at work and focus on a single task at a time. Try Studicus (a professional writing service) for any tasks related to writing, proofreading, reporting, or research.
6. Too Little Movement/Exercise
Sitting down for prolonged periods of time is connected to all sorts of issues, but in this context, it’s important to move as much as you can at home because not doing so can hinder your productivity levels.
Even if you’re not a super-active person, you would still get a minimum of movement and exercise simply by commuting to work or walking around the office. At home, your commute is those couple of steps between your bed and your work desk.
Productivity in remote work implies a whole lot of responsibility, self-reliance, and resourcefulness. If you’re the type of person that needs a lot of outside motivation and pressure to do work, you’ll definitely need to work hard on changing your habits while you’re working from home.
Still, as you do so, you’ll learn many different tricks for productivity that will continue to be useful even in your private life.
Marques Coleman is a blog writer and specializes in marketing and copywriting. Moreover, he is an avid traveler and always tries to learn something new.