Remote work is not a new thing anymore. Just a few years back the idea of working from home or remotely made many people raise their eyebrows. Not anymore. Over the past years, we have seen that remote work has gained significant popularity across the board. Freelancers across the world are managing big projects working remotely.
In fact, there are big companies like Buffer that maintain hundreds of employees remotely.
The idea of remote work draws two extreme reactions from people. Some people can’t stand the idea and deem it as an experiment that will eventually fail and others attach too much romanticism to the idea attributing personal freedom and greater productivity to it. None is absolute truth.
It is true that working from home has its advantages. More so for us given the traffic condition in Dhaka. It allows greater freedom. At the same time, there are challenges as well that you would not have to tackle if you’re working from an office. Working from home demands a lot more personal sense of responsibility and discipline.
I have recently started working at Future Startup as an Apprentice - reporting, where I mostly work from home. Initially, being an ambivert, I was super excited to get the opportunity to work remotely. But within a very short time, I have come to realize that working remotely has its own kind of challenges and if you are not mindful of your work your productivity will be greatly compromised.
I have tried to identify some of the challenges that come with remote work so that I can be more productive at my work and thought that this may help you if you are considering working remotely.
Though working from home is not a new concept for the world but in Bangladesh people are not used to it. They are learning about it where many people still don’t appreciate or don’t want to give value to your work when they heard that you are working from home and don’t need to attend office.
Even the family members don’t want to give importance to your office hour. As if not working out of an office means the work is not important. It is very hard for them to accept when you say them, ‘my room is my office’. So be prepared to deal with comments and questions and requests.
No doubt that working from home is good when you found that no one is acting bossy around you every time. You have your personal space.
But as it is your work, you have to communicate with your team on a regular basis, mostly through online channels.
At Future Startup, we use Skype and WhatsApp for communication and Trello for project management. For me, internet access is a must. But sometimes technology does not work.
For instance, in the middle of a meeting internet connection gets disrupted, skype stops working and other small bumps happen. I get at times anxious about these tiny troubles but you have to get used to it and keep backups for it.
One of the thing that happens in an office setting is that you constantly stay in touch with your co-workers and communication and collaborations happen naturally. And if you are an ambivert, it initially helps you with developing communication skills as well.
But in a remote working setting, you don’t get that. The Internet and all that collaboration apps have made things much simpler now but still you need to put extra effort in order to collaborate and work together.
I am working from home, from my own room and sitting on my own table. There is no one watching me what I am doing, how my table looks like when I am working, whether it is organized or not.
I am not interacting with my team and so forth. At times, it feels a sense of lack of working alongside a team. It feels like you are working alone which is to some extent demotivating and not good for your productivity.
One way to dealing with such feeling is to maintain a regular communication with your team and do things together regardless of the remote setting.
When you are working from home it becomes totally your responsibility to do your work properly. You have to keep yourself motivated to do your work.
There is no one pushing you during the day and there is no setting if you don’t put one for yourself, to ensure that you work hard. You are completely on your own which is sometimes a little challenging.
It is very important for one to maintain a schedule or to be disciplined when he/she is working from home.
At FS, I have the flexibility to choose my office hour, my daily tasks and everything. When I don't follow my schedule it becomes very difficult for me to get my work done on time.
Home is more of a casual place where we live as we feel like, where our guards are down. We are not always that disciplined at home. But in order to get things done, you have to be disciplined.
You have to make sure that you work during the office hours and you don’t allow others things to intrude to your work.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many other challenges that one comes across when working from home. Many of the challenges vary from person to person. If you live alone, your challenges are different from someone who lives with a family and so on. The key point is that you have to identify your challenges and then design strategy to deal with them in order to be productive while working from home. I hope this article helps you to do that. Happy remote working!
(Ruhul Kader Contributed to this story)