COVID-19 has turned remote work from an emerging trend to the new norm and it’s here to stay. As more people are working from home, all social interactions and work collaborations have to happen with the use of tools that facilitate remote work.
Stats reveal that there are numerous perks associated with working from home. However, there are changes that are neither positive nor negative that new remote workers have to manage. From forgetting what day it is to having to be more intentional about making social connections, there are a lot of unexpected changes related to working remotely.
Working from home isn’t in the future anymore, but it is already here and now. Consequently, we are all going to have to become comfortable with this new normal. However, for many of us, accepting this change isn’t always easy.
All Change Is Challenging, Even If It’s Good
We are creatures of habit, and most of us thrive when we have a routine. Whether you always brew your coffee at 9:00 am or made a point to stop by your co-worker’s desk before lunch, the absence of these events can genuinely knock you for a loop when you start working remotely.
Even if transitioning to a remote work situation is the best option, you may be surprised that you miss certain things about the traditional office setting.
Not surprisingly, this happened to me.
At first, I was excited about no longer having a commute when I started working remotely. I already knew the WFH tools that I wanted to use, and I had my eye on a few other remote work collaboration tools and resources that would make me even more productive.
Ultimately, I was looking forward to having more time to do my work. However, I didn’t realize I was going to miss one thing about commuting. Before, each day I would check out SoundCloud for new music and podcasts. This was a highlight of the day and made me actually look forward to commuting to work.
When I eliminated the commute, I didn’t realize I would be missing out on this activity. Today, I still listen to music and podcasts while I work, but I don’t get the time to truly focus on what I am listening to since I am trying to get through projects.
In short, remote work comes with a lot of surprising changes, and it can be a challenge to deal with them at first.
The Unexpected Changes of Working From Home
Whether you are managing teams remotely or supporting a remote team as an employee, there are numerous changes associated with working from home. And guess what?
It’s okay to acknowledge that this change is hard to manage.
So, whether you are already working from home, or are planning to, here are some unexpected remote work-related situations that you may encounter:
You Will Miss Those Social Interactions, Even the Annoying Ones
We have all fantasized about not having to deal with office distractions, especially those random walk-ups. As data has shown that it takes workers over 23 minutes to recover from a disturbance, it makes sense that you would be ready to work from home. Nevertheless, you may not realize it now, but you will miss these interactions.
You are going from consistent physical interaction to zero. Even if you can connect with your colleagues with the help of remote work tools, the communication isn’t the same. You will notice this and it will impact you. Therefore, make sure you stay committed to communicating with others, even if it’s virtual.
The Days Will Start to Run Together
Within the #remotework community on Twitter, the running joke is that no one knows what day it is. There are many memes and gifs about not knowing Monday from Friday. So, know that this will happen. When it does, use this as a signal that it is time to switch up the routine. As humans, we need to be able to have new things that inspire and motivate us. So, you may want to add in a mid-day Yoga session, or a virtual hangout with friends, just anything to break up the monotony.
You will Switch to an “Outcomes” Mindset
Your presence is no longer tied to your performance. Whether you are a manager or employee, your standing at your company depends on what you accomplish (not just the fact that you showed up). If looked at in the right way, this realization will cause you to become more creative, and you will find yourself thinking of ways to differentiate yourself from your colleagues. Embrace this new mindset and allow it to drive you forward.
You Are Now Your IT Department
You may have an IT department that can help you virtually. However, they won’t be able to visit you to handle problems quickly. If you need to update a remote work tool, the responsibility is likely on you. Consequently, you will have to become more knowledgeable about fixing technical issues. Places like YouTube and Reddit will become your go-to for technical advice.
Trust Will Become The Most Important Factor in Teammates
Talent is important, but it won’t matter if you can’t trust your teammate or employee to get the job done. Workspace trust will become the most valued trait that you look for in people you work with. The last thing you want to do is to continually have to monitor remote work collaboration tools to see if someone did their part on a project.
Any disruption related to disorganization and a lack of engagement in your teammates will be a significant hit to workspace trust. Again, you can no longer walk up to someone to ask their opinion or encourage them to do their part. Therefore, how much you can trust someone will profoundly impact your working relationship.
You Have to Create Your Own Structure
While you may have been motivated in the office, it is going to be challenging to establish your own way of working at home. Even if you are responsible, you will have a rough time solidifying a routine in the beginning. Your lunch breaks, work times, meetings, and personal errands are all for you to manage. This can become overwhelming.
The best advice is to be patient with yourself. Give yourself room to experiment with your remote work routine. Also, be sure to add breaks and have a hard stop time to avoid burnout.
Managing Family Communications
We have all seen the videos of children and even spouses walking into the frame on a video remote work tool. It has made for some hilarious memes. Yet, many of us cringe at the thought of colleagues seeing our families or us in a compromising position.
You are now going to have to figure out how to bring these two worlds together, and the best way to start is to discuss boundaries with your family members. You have to walk them through what you need as a remote worker. Fill them in on your schedule and discuss times when you will not be available. The more your family knows, the more they can help make life more comfortable.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Remote work is still a new way of working for many. Even though it can make your work life easier in the long-run, there are aspects of your office life that you may miss and have to account for. All change is challenging, but if you walk into this new experience with an open mind and a plan, you and your team can thrive. Be patient with yourself—and others, and allow for the bumps in the road. No work situation is ever going to be perfect, whether you are in or out of the office, and that’s okay.
Remote working has already the norms of work-life balance to a greater extent and it will take some time to get used to this new way of working. We all need to be strong, patient, and start supporting each other to be more productive while working from home. Managing teams remotely is the most crucial for the success of the company.
Need not worry when Flujo is here to assist you in managing teams remotely. Schedule a free consultation with our experts and learn how Flujo makes remote working easy!