About the author

Darren Cronian, the author of this guide, has spent eight years securing remote jobs and building a successful freelancing business. His goal is to help people escape the office. Read more >

Before you set upon working from home, take time to think about what are the disadvantages of remote working, so you can prepare.

Thinking back, when transitioning from the office to working from home, the biggest challenge was being disciplined and creating a work schedule that allowed me to have a work-life balance. This took some time to perfect.

It’s worth noting that while these issues can add a little stress into your remote work life, there are always solutions.

What are the Disadvantages of Remote Working?

When working from home, you do not have social engagement with your colleagues that you would in an office. It can often feel a little isolating, so work in coffee shops and co-working spaces a few days a week.

Take time out of your day to speak with friends, family and work colleagues or clients, rather than focusing on messaging apps, and emails.

Attend virtual events and zoom conference calls, so you have to interact with other remote workers. Remote working is easier for introverts who enjoy their own company. Look after your mental health and engage with other people from time to time.

Always switched on to work

Even after working remotely for 5+ years, this is still a problem for me. You have direct access to your computer, 24/7 and it’s easy to log in and check your emails, and then you’re into the full flow of work.

It’s important to set boundaries so that your employer or clients know that you are not available outside of your working hours. Start answering emails at 11pm, and they will expect to have access to you at that time.

Spend free time on things that you love. Hobbies, interests, or take time to meet up with family and friends. There is often an expectation that you are accessible all the time, so address this with your client or employer if it becomes an issue.

Tech issues

Within the last year, countless issues have arisen: from my laptop keys falling out to the battery needing to be replaced.

Both of these issues had an impact on my productivity and stress levels. So, being tech-savvy will help you along the way, or, at least having good tech support at hand to help you out when needed.

The software can stop working on updates, files and documents can become corrupted on your external hard drive. Then there are viruses, malware, it all can have an impact on your day-to-day work.

Make sure that you protect your data (and clients, employers) by using a VPN in public spaces, especially coffee shops and co-working spaces.

Communication challenges

One of the common reasons why people fail at remote work is not being a good communicator. This cannot be stressed enough, you must be comfortable communicating on video, email and messaging apps.

Many companies will expect their workforce to be comfortable in front of a webcam because it instils trust that the employee is focused on the call. Making sure you have a reliable internet connection for these calls, and having a workspace with natural light will help with the video quality.

Working for a company that has a global workforce, or, clients who are based on the other side of the world, can cause communication issues with time zones. This is when communication is the most important.

At the end of the working day, leave updates so your team or clients are informed, while you’re not available.

Staying motivated

It can be hard to focus on work when you have no manager to motivate you, especially when you have so many distractions. Hopefully, your employer is flexible and will allow you to build a work routine around your lifestyle.

When starting out as a remote worker, my performance was low in the morning. Since most of my clients were in the United States, I opted for working in the evening, when productivity levels were high.

Being distracted is a cause of demotivation, especially when you are working in the living room, with the gaming console asking to be switched on.

These challenges are the disadvantages of working remotely.

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