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Remote workers share their biggest challenges

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Remote work is on the rise, and it brings along a lot of challenges for people who work remotely. 

For that reason, we’ve asked 19 distance workers about their biggest remote work challenges, and they gave us valuable tips on how to deal with them.

Diane Lee, Freelance writer, editor and author 

“When I worked in an office back in Australia, my colleagues were also my friends.

As a freelance worker since 2016, Diane Lee’s biggest challenge is social isolation. She used to work in the office and had a hard time getting used to the new work environment. 

Diane’s remote work tips

Befriend other freelancers.

Never turn down an invitation for a coffee, meal, or workout with colleagues. 

Get a part-time job.

Sumit Bansal, Founder of an online platform

“I found myself working all the time, as there was no clear distinction between work and home.

Summit Bansal has been an online Excel consultant since 2013.

As some of his biggest challenges when working remotely, he singles out juggling different time zones and lack of proper routine.

Sumit’s remote work tips

Adapt to your client’s zone. 

Work in a dedicated room and limit the number of working hours.

Chris Schalkx, Travel journalist and photographer

“While the ‘working while traveling’ thing definitely is a lot of fun, I do feel like I’m missing out on all the sights of a new destination when I’m glued to my laptop screen.”

Chris Schalkx’s biggest concerns, as a distance worker since 2017, are lack of personal interaction and making travel and work doable. 

Chris’s remote work tips

Don’t miss weekly video catch-ups.

Make a clear agreement about your work days — notify your colleagues about when you will be absent from work.

Use days off for fun travel activities.

James Rice, SEO and Growth marketing professional

“It can be tricky to integrate yourself in company culture and be visible to management.”

James Rice has been working remotely since 2015, and having no set work hours is one of his biggest concerns. 

He also adds loneliness and not being able to fully participate in company culture to the list of challenges. 

James’ remote work tips

If you plan to work late, save the hours during the earlier part of the day for yourself.

To beat loneliness — interact with people online or in-person, or try a co-working space. 

Participate in important team meetings and events to feel a part of the team.

Leslie Truex, Author and founder of a remote-work website

“Many managers and workers haven’t had training in how to communicate and coordinate in a virtual world.”

Remote-work pioneer Leslie Truex has over 20 years of experience in distance working.

Leslie’s downsides of remote work are problems in communication and coordination.

Leslie’s remote work tips

Use project management tools, online storage tools, and video conferencing. 

Provide proper training for both managers and workers.

Melissa Smith, Virtual assistant

“Routines are extremely powerful and can be a great attributing factor to success when working remotely.”

Melissa Smith started working remotely in 2013.

Her biggest challenges are creating healthy routines, isolation, working across time zones, and working and traveling. 

Melissa’s remote work tips

Stick to your routines while at home or traveling alone. 

When you feel lonely, go to the park and read a book, start a small talk. 

Make plans beforehand, find the times that work best for you and your clients.

As for traveling and working, one must create boundaries and proper routines. 

Act like a tourist when not working, to make working from your permanent place of residence as much fun as working while traveling.

Charlie Heck, CEO of a creative marketing boutique

“There is a common misconception that if you perform remote work from home, you can do whatever you want.”

Charlie Heck started leading her marketing company remotely in 2016.

She struggles with people who have a misconception that remote work is not ‘real work’.

Charlie’s remote work tips

Learn how to say “No” and explain to your loved ones that working from home involves as many responsibilities as working from an office.

Alexandra Tran, Marketing specialist

“I get distracted by chores that take me 5 minutes to do at home. I end up doing 5 small chores and there goes 25 minutes of my lunchtime!”

As a remote marketing specialist since 2016, Alexandra Tran’s biggest struggles are distractions at home.

Alexandra’s remote work tips

Use a timing tool to help you stay on track.

Hannah L. Miller, Senior editor

“Traveling can be tricky and a bit stressful you never know if you’ll have reliable Wi-Fi or if someone will reach out to you with a crisis you can’t solve ASAP.”

Hannah L. Miller became a digital nomad in 2016.

What she finds most stressful about working and traveling is lack of WiFi on planes and delayed team communication.

Hannah’s remote work tips

Keep your coworkers up to date about your travels and work hours.

Always have a personal hotspot on your phone. 

Connor Mollison, Freelance photographer, content writer and designer

“Lack of social interaction has led to poorer mental health and not as much mental energy.”

With Connor Mollison’s transition to remote work in 2014 came lack of social interaction and poor mental health. 

Connor’s remote work tips

Keep in the loop with people and work in coffee shops.

Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper, Freelance writer and social media manager

“One of the biggest challenges I face as a remote worker is turning down trip invites.”

Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper went 100% remote in 2018.

Since she is a travel enthusiast, she finds it difficult to manage working and traveling. 

Also, she struggles with spending too much time in front of the screen.

Hannah’s remote work tips

If you travel and work, make sure to stay in one location for a longer period of time to form routines even on travels. 

Exercise when you are not sitting down and take frequent breaks to help your blood circulation.

Nate Gell, Digital nomad and founder of a website

“I think the challenge of not working all day mostly comes down to discipline.”

When he first started working remotely in 2016, Nate Gell had problems finding a daily work routine.

Nate’s remote work tips

He finds discipline and workouts the answer to forming proper remote work routines and habits.

Sireesha Narumanchi, Remote career blogger

“I would say my biggest challenge of working from home was to give my best to work and yet be present for my family.”

Sireesha Narumanchi has over 10 years of experience in distance working.

Her biggest problems are establishing an effective work/life balance and handling work and travel. 

Sireesha’s remote work tips 

To establish a better work/life balance, don’t rely on quantity as much — rather focus on the quality of your work.

Work when you can focus on your tasks. 

To combine work and travel successfully, be a super-organized digital nomad — always carry an extra set of digital equipment with you.

Earl White, Real estate attorney

“I hadn’t anticipated one of the biggest challenges from working from home was being totally stationary.”

As a remote real estate professional, Earl White singles out physical issues and team monitoring as his biggest mobile work challenges.

Earl’s remote work tips

Invest in a chair with lumbar support or try out a standing desk and make use of a yoga mat.

Start or join a Google Hangouts group or join a project management program. 

Make sure to provide guidance for all your remote team’s questions.

Jon Hayes, Online marketing expert 

“When working from home, you can soon find yourself feeling trapped within your house or apartment and relying heavily on the convenience of having everything you need right next to you.”

Jon Hayes has worked as an online marketing expert since 2017.

His biggest remote-work challenge has to do with creating active routines such as leaving the house to get lunch instead of ordering in, and the like.

Jon’s remote work tips

To be more active, don’t stock your fridge — this will force you to go outside for lunch. 

Add in some variety to your daily routine.

Michael Alexis, CEO of an online team-building company

“With remote work, you need to be much more intentional about getting social time with coworkers.”

As the CEO of a company that deals with organizing team-building activities, Michael Alexis is a firm believer in bringing people together.

With more than 10 years of experience in remote industry, he states that one of the biggest challenges is lack of social interaction.

Michael’s remote work tips

Simple team building activities that are easy to implement or random small talk with your colleagues may boost your relations with your remote teammates in the long run.

Kirill Sajaev, Executive director and founder of a digital marketing agency

“Employees working from home must have a similar experience to those working in the office.”

Kirill Sajaev started a digital marketing business in 2018. Since then, he struggles with working across different time zones, lack of common courtesy among teams, and employee inclusiveness.

Kirill’s remote work tips

Agree on a shared working time zone and develop a team calendar.

Show kindness and respect toward your team.

Use communication tools and apps to bring the team together.

Kyle Risley, CEO of a remote company

“One of the biggest challenges is finding ways to prioritize communication with team members working asynchronously.”

As a CEO of a remote company since 2016, Kyle Risley believes that the most demanding thing about mobile working is asynchronous communication.

Kyle’s remote work tips

Use reliable tools that make distance communication much easier.

Build a culture of communication.

Brian Nagele, CEO of a digital marketing agency

Remote work provides much less accountability to stay committed to a fixed schedule.”

The start of the pandemic made Brian Nagele move his work fully remotely.

What he finds most challenging about distance work is focus and maintaining regular work hours. 

Brian’s remote work tips

Organize online teamwork sessions using a team collaboration platform where teams can huddle together to complete tasks and bond with each other.

Further reading

This is just a summary of an article previously published on the Clockify blog.
To learn more about remote work challenges and the tips to overcome them, we recommend reading the full article: