The 5 Pitfalls of Working Remotely (and How to Avoid Them)
In the past, working remotely was sort of taboo. People didn’t know what to think about this style of working and would usually raise their eyebrows at the thought. This is no longer the case, thanks to growth in technology and a new mindset. Working remotely is now very common across a variety of industries and demographics.
Having worked remotely for the past decade and now running a 100 percent remote company of 30-plus employees, I have found there are five common mistakes that cause the initial decline in productivity for new remote workers.
If you are new to remote working or hiring someone who’s new to remote working, here are the five mistakes you want to avoid:
1. Not having a dedicated office.
Every remote worker needs a dedicated office–with a door. Working on your kitchen table may be fine on certain days, but there are times when you’ll need to retreat behind closed doors to enjoy some peace and serenity. Do not underestimate this fact.
In addition to offering privacy, a dedicated office gives you a “home base,” so to speak. This is your workspace where you go to accomplish tasks and make things happen. If you have files and computers strewn out around the house, then you’ll feel disheveled. This lack of organization will ultimately permeate your job and lead to poor performance.
2. Failing to set ground rules.
One of the biggest issues remote workers encounter is being distracted by an environment that was once reserved for your personal life. If you’re going to work from home, you need strict ground rules. Here are some things to think about:
- Family members: Do you have other family members in the house when you’re working? Whether it’s a spouse or children, you must give them clear boundaries. For example, you may require them to knock before coming into your office. Or you may tell them you’re off-limits during certain hours. They need to know you’re working and cannot be bothered with issues that aren’t important or time-sensitive.
- Friends: If you have close friends who are stay-at-home parents, you may find that they feel as if it’s okay to simply “drop by” now that you’re working from home. You should address this if you believe it’s going to be an issue. Make sure friends know that you’re still unavailable during work hours.
- Household chores: The other thing you need to watch out for is commingling your household chores with your work responsibilities. While there’s nothing wrong with taking a break to take out the trash, be careful about getting too distracted. It’s easy to put other things before work when you have a long to-do list.
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