It’s probably ill-advised to get into remote working if you’re not the type of person who handles remote working too well, but what if you don’t have a choice? And how do you even know in the first place if it’s for? Believe it or not, there are a few tell-tale signs that remote working isn’t for you. It’s probably a good idea to consider all of these signs and what you can do about it before you accept or reject a remote working scenario.
No one said that remote working doesn’t come with its complications, but that’s not to say that these complications cannot be overcome if you are willing to put in the work. If you want to work remotely but are worried about the red flags that you’re just not cut out for it, read on below. There are ways to mitigate the pitfalls of remote working, and realistically ease yourself into it so that you ultimately succeed at your job.
16 signs you are not cut out for remote working:
1. Your home is plagued with distractions.
Isn’t everyone’s home plagued with distractions? That’s the thing about our homes; we customize them to make them exactly the place we want them to be – distracted from the rest of the world – every single day. You can easily overcome this problem by designating a room or area of the home that is strictly for work. Close the door, shut yourself off, and have strict scheduled break times. Problem solved.
2. You are a bit of a self-professed couch surfer.
If you’re drawn to the TV like a moth to a flame, it could prove problematic for remote work productivity. Televisions can be a major distraction, but it’s all about planning your schedule effectively and ensuring that you have a dedicated workspace away from the television. If you want to free up your day so that you can laze on the couch, get up extra early and get your workload out of the way and you can probably do just that.
3. You lack confidence in your work output.
If you’re the type of employee that needs to check your work and decisions with a supervisor, manager, or colleague all the time, then remote working may seem daunting to you. Confidence is something that takes time, unfortunately, but trust yourself enough to give it a shot. Do a few online courses on confidence, and make sure that you have a point of contact who you can reach out to remotely if you have any work you are unsure of.
4. You struggle to focus without supervision.
If you’re a bit of a mind wanderer and find yourself daydreaming, staring out windows, and rather chatting over the local gossip instead of working, chances are that you need some form of supervision. If you still wish to work remotely, you could ask to have an accountability procedure to ensure that you produce work according to deadlines. When working remotely, you aren’t entirely left to your own devices. You will still need to produce work on schedule.
5. You’re uncomfortable with regular video calls and meetings.
If you are the type of person that cringes at the thought of answering a video call, you’re probably not going to love the main form of remote working communication: video calls! If you are uncomfortable with video calls, consider alternative forms of contact that the company will allow, including telephone, online chat, and email. Also, try to get more comfortable with video calling. Host a few video calls with friends – it just takes a little bit of getting used to.
6. You hate taking phone calls.
If you are the type of person who never answers a phone call, you’re not going to survive in a remote working environment. You may need to take calls from the boss, colleagues, and even customers. If you are truly averse to taking calls, look for a position where you don’t have to be immediately available all the time.
7. You have no internet access at home.
Remote working requires internet access to connect to the company networks, send work to various colleagues, and keep in touch with customers. If you don’t’ have internet at home, you can consider a variety of broadband and mobile internet service providers that are affordable. Alternatively, you can ask the hiring company to include internet service installation and costs in your agreed wages.
8. You have demanding kids at home.
You might think that your kids will pose a serious problem to your remote working, but it’s really just about training them to fit in with your schedule. Ensure that you spend time teaching the kids about work time boundaries. You can also ensure that you have a separate work area that is a strict work zone – no kids allowed.
9. You find yourself spending half the day scrolling on social media.
Are you a social media junkie? Do you need a tattle-tailing colleague around or a manager breathing down your neck to keep you off social media and focused on your work? Working remotely could be quite problematic if you can’t trust that you won’t spend all day on social media. If you want to avoid the draw of social media, you could block the sites from your devices for work hours in the day. You could ask a close friend or family member to set the limitations for you.
10. You get lonely and depressed when you spend a lot of time alone.
Many people mistakenly believe that working remotely means a life of loneliness. It’s simply not true. If you live alone, it could seem lonely sometimes, but you will probably find that you have more free time to find a hobby, join a club or group, and meet new people. So, you might be alone at work, but you don’t have to be alone in your personal time.
11. You tend to overwork a lot (and are called a workaholic).
If you’re prone to working yourself to the bone, you might find that working remotely puts you in a position to work even more. Burn is something that many at-home workaholics end up with. If you want to avoid burnout, you could set yourself up to work somewhere that is away from the house. Perhaps you can work from your favorite coffee shop or similar.
12. You have zero understanding of technical troubleshooting.
Do you often find yourself asking the IT department to step in and solve problems with your computer? If so, you probably lack technical knowledge and skills. The good news is that IT problems can often be solved over the phone or online. There are even software programs you can install on your computer that will allow an IT professional to gain access to your computer to solve the problem.
13. Overworking has taken its toll on your personal relationships.
If you spend so much time working that your personal relationships are being negatively impacted, you may think that working remotely at home will only exacerbate the situation. This could be the case, but you could ask your partner and family to work with you to have work hours in place and to be accountable for the time spent.
14. You’ve never thought of doing an encrypted data backup before.
If data security is a term that you’re not familiar with, you might struggle as a remote worker. Data that belongs to the business should be kept secret and away from the prying eyes of opportunistic hackers. This one is easy to rectify. You can install data encrypted backup software to your computer and have your data backups done automatically several times a day or week.
15. You need people to talk to at work.
If you thrive on having people around you to chat and gossip within the workplace, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by working alone remotely. The good news is that you aren’t cut off when working remotely. You can still chat and be in touch with people via instant chat, phone, and text.
16. You get easily distracted and forget about work.
Suppose you easily get distracted by what is going on around you and end up completely forgetting about important work projects. Will you be any good at remote working? Chances are that it can be a hurdle. One way to mitigate this behavior is to strategize for success. Set reminders of work due, things you should be doing, and just gentle nudges that will get you back on track with work.
Working remotely undoubtedly comes with its challenges, and some people are admittedly just not cut out for it. However, before you decide that it’s not for you, make sure that you consider if the challenges are insurmountable or if you can work around them.