Loneliness and lack of human interaction
To a certain extent, your co-workers are your social circle. Sometimes it is hard to explain to others that all your friends are online.
If you don’t have family members home with you when you’re working, you might have the opposite problem: isolation. Even with internet access and tools like Slack, you might still develop “cabin fever” from being in the same place for too long all by yourself. “It is too easy to get the habit of working from home all day,” says CEO of ad tech firm MonetizeMore, Kean Graham, “and then remain in your home for the remainder of that day and sometimes for subsequent days.”
Perhaps remote work jobs should come with a Warning: you might become a hermit label. “Finding the courage to go out into an unforgiving world and talk to potentially scary human beings” can become a new challenge, editor Michael Crider says.
People who work in shared offices experience impromptu “watercooler” moments of interaction and maybe even share meals together or after-work drinks. Remote workers? We often work asynchronously with our teammates and perhaps have only our houseplants to talk to.
This one’s going to take effort, especially if one of the reasons you enjoy working remotely is to get away from being around too many people. It’s about striking a balance use a link.
Include social breaks in your schedule, if you can, by working a few hours then spending an hour or two doing something social outside of your home, such as lunch with friends, then going back to work, Kean advises. Just going out and grabbing a snack while chatting with the counter person can be rejuvenating.
Try working at co-working spaces or coffee shops so you’ll at least feel like you’re still a part of society. You might just find, as Conrado Lamas has, that you’ll make friends with the people who work at and from the coffee shop. Think of it as your second office.
Be more intentional about joining local groups or organizations. Find a Meetup, attend networking conferences, or take some classes at your town’s recreation center.
Communication Issues and Being Out of the Loop
In their book, REMOTE: Office Not Required , Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier explain why communication is paramount for a remote team-and why it’s such a challenge:
When the bulk of your communication happens via email and the like, it doesn’t take much for bad blood to develop unless everyone is making their best effort to the contrary. Small misunderstandings that could have been nipped in the bud with the wink of an eye or a certain tone of voice can quickly snowball into drama.
Programmer Bryan Rehbein adds: “As somewhat of an introvert, it can be hard to communicate enough with your colleagues. Remote work needs extra communication.”
The communication issue is compounded if some of your team works in an office but you don’t. You miss all the overheard discussions and cubicle wall meetings, says Peter Smith. You might feel paranoid that others are having meetings and making decisions without you-and you’d probably be right. Unless the company has built a culture of inclusion for remote workers, you might be out of sight and out of mind.
The only real solution is to communicate as much as possible-clarifying anything that could be a misunderstanding-and to be proactive in speaking up.
Time zone differences
Related to being or feeling out of the loop: those terrible time zones. You might be waking up just when your teammate is going to bed. That means you can’t always rely on your fellow team member to be available to answer a pressing question or solve any other immediate need.