Let me guess, you’ve seen Facebook ad after Facebook ad from people marketing their get rich quick program that shares how you can work from a remote location on the beach or where ever your heart desires while raking in six-figure incomes.
We’ve all had those ads shoved in our face from time to time, it makes the remote working lifestyle look like all fun and games with no downside.
Honestly, there are a lot of perks that I take for-granted having been remote working for a while now. However, there are more than our fair share of downsides that most media won’t show you because well… they’re still trying to “sell” you on it.
I have mentioned 7 Things Only Remote Working People Could Understand before and would be interested to hear your thoughts there.
But first, let’s demystify the myth that having your own business or working for a remote team means you can jet set into the sunset while your business makes money without you. Sitting on the beach sipping on margaritas just isn’t the case.
Unpredictable environments can
cause pains when working from remote locations
For me this hits home when I’m on the road. Typically I decide to venture into new coffee shops to get my work done during the day to day when away from “home” base. Coffee shops by design are all different. I find myself always dealing with either too loud of music or too loud of background chatter. There’s rarely a perfect silence in coffee shops since by design they are crafted as a prime meeting place. I don’t mind this background noise, it’s actually why I seek out coffee shops in the first place. But making phone calls when you work from remote location like this can get challenging and annoying.
However, I love working out of coffee shops when the wifi is decent and the environment is tolerable. There’s something about working out of coffee shops that keeps my creativity flowing. The thought that others around me are in the same creative boat keeps a certain type of allure in the air (along with the wonderful smells of coffee).
Not to get off on a tangent, but this goes along with my Wilbur Agency philosophy: Work where you’re most creative. At my agency I have my employees work wherever they feel they are at their creative peak. Whether it be at home, on the road, or even (yes) in the office. Whatever keeps them productive and even more importantly creatively inspired I want them to do EXACTLY that.
But that’s not to say remote working is predictable. It isn’t and that is sometimes the beauty. However, you just want to make sure you take the important calls in silence which sometimes means braving the cold to step outside in February.
Remote HACK: At Starbucks I find it to be a bit more silent than typical local coffee shops. Less cool vibes, but in the cold months it prevents you from having to step outside resulting in frozen fingers.
Collaboration is MUCH harder (if you want to do it right)
Like I mentioned earlier, I have a creative agency. If you follow me at all on social media I probably talk about it way too much.
Anyway, we are almost fully remote. With that comes a new way of collaborating. When you work with a team, teamwork and collaboration is always vital. Especially in a creative industry. This is why finding ways to keep the communication flowing while miles apart is critical.
For this, our team uses a mix of Slack and Google Hangouts. We correspond minute by minute on Slack and when we feel we just need to have a face to face work jam we use the Google Hangout integration with Slack /hangout command to pull up a video hang session right away.
This is honestly great, video collaboration works for us. It makes iterating on projects so quick and nothing can get lost in translation that way. With other tools like Dropbox and cloud-based solutions, it’s like we’re in the same room while working together from Ohio, Washington, Florida, etc…
Notice I mentioned nothing about email… because we hate email.
Moral of the story is, collaboration can be really hard to overcome in a remote working world. It can be painful if your team isn’t fully on board with being overly collaborative to compensate for the fact that you aren’t working together in a physical space.
There is a Natural Loss in Respect
I can’t count the number of times that I have told someone I work out of my home or out of coffee shops to see their demeanor change right in front of my eyes. For every one or two people that find it really cool that I work remotely, I get someone like this. Personally, I couldn’t care less at this point because it’s a lifestyle choice that I take very seriously. If I wanted to work in an office the rest of my life (nothing wrong with that), then I could have easily stayed in the job I had. Instead, I wanted to start an agency that kept remote working and the freedom to follow your daily passions at the core of the culture.
So it’s natural for people to take you a bit less seriously at first, mainly because they don’t understand how it is possible. Some will think your business or what you do may not be as big as it actually is just because of the fact that you can freely work from wherever.
There is no pleasing everyone, and this is where being unconventional takes an extra bit of humility and the ability to rub it off when you get “the look”.
It’s Hard to Fully Shutoff in the Remote Working Lifestyle
For me, I hate shutting off because I love my work and growing it. But it is entirely needed to stay healthy. So although I work from a remote location many times a week, that also means that I wake up at 6:00AM only to have my computer in my lap in bed by 6:05AM. Just as easy as it is to get started in the morning, it is very easy to keep working and pounding in the work until you literally fall asleep with your laptop in bed.
Trust me, I have done this more than a time or two.
I would say this is the most difficult part of working remotely. I always want to be on, but my body tells me otherwise. In fact, as we speak I am battling having some weird eye strain from looking at the computer too much these past few weeks.
It’s shitty, but its also a part of the territory.
If you’re an employee of a remote team, set those boundaries of when your working hours are. It would be just as easy for you to feel you need to work more for the added freedom you gain. Make sure your team has set office hours and stick to keeping in those as best as possible to give some structure to this problem.
Me, I’ll likely never learn to shut off but that’s my personal problem and doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.
I mean, I snack a lot more. Mid-day bowls of ice cream are a lot easier to acquire.
But I guess this isn’t the worst thing about remote working 😉
Do you work from remote location? What’s one shitty thing you find during your day to day that I missed? (answer in comments below!)