Working Remotely: Understanding Challenges and Maximizing Benefits

| Obsitu Ahemed

It is safe to say that these past few months have been a period of significant change for all of us. For the first time in history individuals across the world regardless of age, profession, health or income have all been affected by the novel Covid-19. As a result, we have all had to adapt to performing our duties remotely by making use of the technology we have at our disposal. While we hope that this situation will not last indefinitely, it does provide us with the opportunity to reflect on how these virtual environments have affected us and identify the steps that we can implement to succeed in this digital age.

The concept of working from home or remote work is not new. Across professions such as digital marketing, web development, sales, customer and technical support, copywriting and many more, remote work was a rapidly growing trend. It is unsurprisingly favored by employees who seek the flexibility it affords to maintain a work-life balance in addition to increased efficiency and savings. For employers, one of the many benefits it affords is the ability to attract the right talent unlimited by geographic proximity to instead focus on knowledge and experience.

Over the years, remote work has grown in potential with the rise of technologies that have since developed in sophistication, enabling us to perform our work at full capacity regardless of where we are.

Remote work is therefore not just a temporary trend, but rather here to stay in the long run.

If remote work is indeed the new norm, it is important to develop a system that allows us to best maximize its benefits while mitigating its challenges.

Overcoming the most common challenges in Remote Work Environments:

Unplugging from Work

One of the most common challenges in remote work, especially if your alternative workspace is your home is finding the ability to ‘unplug’ from work at the end of the day. It can be difficult to transition from a work atmosphere to one of leisure while remaining in the same physical space.

Our tip: It can be helpful to start setting up a separate dedicated work area within your home, by going to nearby coworking spaces or coffee shops to work from (provided that it is safe to do so). Another important tip is to create a routine with dedicated work schedules that account for sufficient breaks.

The feeling of Isolation/Loneliness

Another key concern for remote workers is the feeling of isolation that arises from having minimal physical interaction amongst one another. When all face-to-face interactions are replaced by online meetings and collaborative online workspaces, this might create a shortage of meaningful human interaction. The feeling of isolation and loneliness oftentimes precipitates over time and builds up without most of us knowing it since interactions till occur but in a different medium, digitally via email, video calls, and so forth.

Our tip: By making use of collaborative tech solutions, we can create a digital space that is dedicated to more intimate interactions and incentivize communication. For instance, at GetBEE, we have virtual happy hours and online quiz nights to help us connect better with one another and enjoy each others’ company outside of a strictly professional setting. Another important tip, as said by Elena Agaragimova in our latest podcast (click here to listen to the full episode) is to turn on the cameras while joining video calls. It's a simple yet effective tip that helps with establishing a better sense of belonging.

Maintaining Focus

Self-Discipline is inarguably one of the most crucial aspects of remote work. There are a number of distractions facing remote workers, especially those working from home. For those living with family members or others, navigating distractions can become even more challenging.

Our tip: The discipline of maintaining focus while working from home, therefore, comes down to the ability to manage time effectively. Having a clear work schedule timing that includes ample time to take care of ‘’non-work-related’’ responsibilities such as preparing food, tutoring children, or taking care of household chores will allow you to best utilize your time. The 50/10 rule is also a framework that you can easily implement by dedicating 50 mins during each work hour to focus solely on the task at hand, giving yourself a ten-minute break to refuel and reenergize.

Wrapping it up:

These past few months have been a time for significant change for all of us. Remote work has provided us with a number of benefits in terms of flexibility, giving us the potential to manage our work-life balance. While the benefits are numerous, however, so are the challenges. From mitigating distractions, dealing with a sense of heightened isolation, or even loneliness and difficulties in unplugging from work at the end of the day, remote working sure does have a set of challenges we must all understand and properly navigate. Technology tools that we have at our disposal when properly used can help address some of these limitations.

The right digital communication tools can empower us to create and maintain authentic human connections remotely. Check more at