4 Frustrating challenges of teleworking and how you can solve them

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This is your first month working remotely, and you love it!

It is a serene spring morning, you are at the dinner table with your laptop, working, participating in the Zoom conference call with senior executives and key clients on a major project you are leading. It is silent in the house, and the meeting is going quite well. In fact, your manager is about to give you a floor to provide an update on the project progress. You are excited!

Suddenly, you realize your Zoom screen froze, and you can not share your screen, nobody can hear you, and you dropped off the conference line. You are confused about what is going on?

You feel sick to your stomach and start hectically click various icons on your PC, attempting to restore control of the meeting. You check the Internet connection. There is no connection!!! You feel like crying, you run downstairs and check server and connection status. Everything looks good, but there is still not wi-fy in your house!

You scream in despair, knowing that there are half a dozen people, including your boss waiting on the line for you to reconnect.

The story happened to me, more than once. In fact, the scenario is your bosses and your worst nightmare: your home office set up failed and you let someone down.

Today, we will talk about typical challenges you can expect when you are working as a teleworker. The post will help you to prepare better and overcome your obstacle in building your remote career.

 

1. Staying focused and organized

There are three major challenges of teleworking when you work from home office. There are distractions of your family, your routine, and your working space.

Family. Routine. Working space.

I recall landing my first remote consulting gig with a local tech startup. My contract stipulated hourly pay, and it is a three-figure fee. I never did consulting work before, so I was stressed out and hyper-focused on my client’s needs. My family did not know any of this, so they would walk in into office and chat with me.

Kids would ask for snacks, and I would be continuously interrupted. Since I was new to the teleworking, I did not have an established daily routine. Of course, I had no manager either to direct me or give me focus.

I also tent to work in whatever place in the house that was comfortable: kitchen, bedrooms or a closet (it was dark and quite there). That was almost five years ago, and I learn a lot from the first experience. Here are some lessons learned on how to address the challenges:

My personal lessons learned:

  • Family- set boundaries. Have a conversation with your immediate family, explain that you have a job and it is a compensated time, that belongs to the company you work for. Communicate your expectations and needs in terms of privacy, noise level, and interruptions.
  • Routine. You will find your rhythm. Listen to your body, figure out the time of the date when you are the most effective. Sometimes it helps to change your clothing to get in the working mood. It seems strange, but it works. Lastly, communicate your working hours to your boss, team and your family.
  • Working space. Dedicate some space in your house, however small or big it is for your home office. For example, we have a spare bedroom upstairs. It has a huge eat facing the window. Space is sunny, warm and has no extra furniture on it. I love to be there, and I love to work there.

Create a space that makes you feel good and where you can be more productive.

 

2. Feeling isolated, unmotivated or unsupported

At the time you may feel like you are all alone. You are not alone in that feeling, most of teleworking folks at times feel anxious, worries and can succumb to feel unmotivated to get things done. I feel like that sometimes.

My personal lessons learned:

  • Build relationships. Focus all your efforts after you get a new gig on building a strong network and a foundation of productive working relationships with your team, colleagues and your boss.
  • Ask for support/feedback. Last week I created a draft of a presentation for my boss, but I was unsure if my manager would like it. After some thought, I texted my colleague and asked for 20 min of her time to review my slides. She agreed, I screen shared my slides, and she provided some valuable insights about my work. I revised the draft and made it better.

 

3. Eating too much

Maybe it is just me, but when I stressed out, and frankly that happens a lot, I eat. It is a bad habit and when I work from home and utterly alone and under pressure, I tend to overeat and gain weight.

        My personal lessons learned:

  • Learn new ways to cope with stress. I started walking or even running when I am really stressed, I just put on my tennis shoes and get going. It feels better to get some fresh air, move and get perspective by leaving work chair for a bit.
  • Set up snacking station. Basically what works for me is to have a dedicated place in my office with huge glass of water, berries or grapes (healthy finger food) or apples. When I am hungry I just reach out and grab some food, I do not lose time, and the choices are limited to healthy foods, so I do not gain weight while keeping my energy levels up.\

 

4.  Communicating with your team

Today I am working as a part of a global team of colleagues, located in Europe, Asia, and Mexico. I rely heavily on Skype Business, Zoom and other video-conferencing tools to stay connected. Sometimes it may feel frustrating that there are so many meetings on your calendar, but it is the realities of the new working era.

My personal lessons learned:

  • Set up a robust Internet Connection. I cannot emphasize this enough. Test your internet speed and assure your wifi provider can support teleconferencing and teleworking needs you have.
  • Request or buy the right equipment. My first PC was terrible. The unit crashed all the time. Eventually, I announced that I could not deal with this anymore, bit the bullet, drove to the nearest Best Buy and purchase myself a great laptop that served me for the past five years, and I love working on it.
  • Set up the right software and embrace technology. Contact your IT team and ask for a full list of access and software requirements for your job. Request it as soon as you can. Download software and create accounts for all the sites you need access to before you need them. It can take more time than you think.
  • Get IT support when you need it. Reach out and ask for help and assistance if your technology is not working or glitching. Resolving things fast will help you to stay connected, avoid missing important meetings and losing valuable time.

Conclusion:

Teleworking came with many benefits and brought a great deal of relief for working parents with young kids or in situations when you need to provide ongoing care, like sick or aging relatives. Teleworking also comes with a set of challenges that, with the right approach you can learn to overcome. That said, I think, personally, if you are focused, self-directed and love your family you will find the way to make your remote job work for you.

Thank you for reading the post an please comment and ask questions below, I would love to know what you think.

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