12 Nov Challenges of Working Remotely
Regularly you will find video stories and photos from remote workers on Instagram and it’s easy to think that their life is perfect, but let’s be honest, behind all of the pool-life photos, and video stories of beach walks with a sunset in front of them, there are struggles that you have to overcome as a remote worker.
It’s those challenges of working remotely that are important to talk about in a world which revolves around social media.
Going from working in an office full of people, to working alone, in your apartment or a coffee house can be a lonely experience. It’s important to keep connected with loved ones through technology like messaging apps. For work-related conversation, the tool of choice for many remote workers is Slack.
In my situation, I am an introvert and love my own company, so, working remotely suits me perfectly, but if you are an extrovert or like to be around other people you might want to look at events where you are staying on sites like meet other like-minded people.
Another option is to work in a co-working space where you can network and have conversations with others business people. Your mental health is important, so, take steps to socialise with people and strike up conversations in coffee shops and when you’re out and about.
As a remote worker, not being able to connect to the internet to work is probably one of the more stressful things that can happen to you.
Firstly, without delay, purchase a MiFi hub that is unlocked to any network. Then when you arrive at your destination purchase a sim card which includes internet data. Use this as your backup, should the internet in your accommodation not function.
If you have a mobile phone, it’s also recommended to have this unlocked so you can use any sim cards, and then set up a personal hotspot. This means you have at least two backups.
Airbnb is my chosen accommodation provider and when contacting hosts there are a series of questions that are asked: Is the internet connection shared with any other apartments? Basically, is the apartment on a dedicated WiFi box that you have access to for any issues.
What speed is the internet? Most will not know this but it’s a good idea to at least ask for the download and upload speeds because these will be important depending on the work that you do online. Is the internet reliable? If the host wants your experience to be positive, especially when you tell them that you will be working online there, they will be honest. There was only one occasion where the internet was not what the host had said and a negative review was left for them.
Travel can be stressful
Let’s be honest, travel as much as it changes our lives, can be stressful. Flights can be cancelled or delayed meaning you miss your connecting flight. Accommodation might not live up to its expectations, believe me, this happens a lot. You also have to continuously have your wits about you when contending with tourist scams.
Yes, these issues are trivial to many, but they can cause additional stress and frustration. It’s important that you deal with these issues head-on and move past them as quickly as you can.
Being prepared and organised can save you a lot of stress, believe me, this is one of the biggest lessons learnt – have the address of your accommodation written down and also saved to Google Maps, make a note of your flight details, keep a copy of your password, securely but easily accessible online.
As was said earlier, Accommodation can throw up some unexpected surprises like unclean apartments, noise disturbances, inaccurate information. Read through any reviews, take a close look at the photos, and ask any questions to the host – if you have any doubts, go with your gut instinct and don’t book it.
Struggling to get motivated to work
It happens to us all, no matter if you are working 9-5 in an office, or, sat working in a coffee shop in Tokyo. Since you have no one watching over you to motivate you, it can be a struggle at first. More so since you’ll want to explore the places you are staying in and not spend all of your days sat staring at the walls in your accommodation.
Let’s be honest though if you do not put the effort you’ll not generate enough revenue to work remotely.
The solution is introducing a routine into your life. Initially, you will want to tweak this routine until you find the time of the day when you are most productive. For me, working in the evening was the best time because during the day it was important for me to get out and explore.
Don’t feel though that this routine has to be strict, you could decide to change it on a specific day of the week. What’s important is that you build the perfect work-life balance and give yourself the freedom to enjoy life.
Poor management of your money
When you generate revenue it’s important to manage your money. Every time you are paid, put a percentage away in a bank account for taxes and try and save a high percentage of your income for emergencies or, to pay for future luxuries. Then budget how much you have left to spend until you are next paid.
As a freelancer, money management is especially important since you will not know when the next invoice will be processed.
Highly recommended is Quick Books for the Self Employed, especially if you connect your bank account to the service, since this will allow you to manage personal and business spending, and saves you a ton of time when it comes to completing your tax returns, which sadly you will still have to do!
Feeling unwell abroad
Keeping healthy is essential when you’re working remotely while travelling and having adequate travel and/or health insurance is a must unless you want to lose all of your savings on medical bills. The price of healthcare can be considerably more expensive than your home country, especially if you are from the UK and used to the free NHS.
Make sure you take time out each day to exercise and it doesn’t have to be a session in the gym, it could be a leisurely walk, swim, or, participate in a hobby/interest that is going to get you out and about – it’s one of the reasons why you will find me creating videos because it gets me out walking and exploring.
Regular check-ups with a doctor, at least once a year is advisable. Make sure that you have the appropriate inoculations depending on where you are travelling to. If you have medication make sure that you take enough to last you for the duration of your trip and take a copy of your prescription should you need to more tablets?