Are You Making These Remote Work Mistakes?

May 27, 2021 Stephanie Klemperer

remote work mistakes

Remote work has been growing in popularity over the years, but today it’s becoming the new norm. For most organizations, the swift transition to remote work was originally out of their control. However, they are quickly realizing that remote work is here to stay—pandemic or not. Whether that is through permanent work from home, a hybrid model, or more general support for remote options, many companies are exploring long-term remote plans.

That said, the transition to remote work as an employee isn’t always easy. While you may be enjoying your newfound flexibility, this type of work environment can also present new challenges to navigate. To prevent these challenges from resulting in remote work mistakes that impact your productivity and wellbeing, it’s important to recognize inefficiencies early and re-adjust accordingly.

If you work for one of the many companies that are transitioning to a fully remote or hybrid office model, here are six remote work mistakes you’ll want to avoid!

Not having the right set up

If this is your first experience with working remotely, you might fall in the trap of using your couch or bed as your desk. However, not having a designated workspace can quickly have consequences. Not only is it bad for your physical wellbeing, but it might be difficult to get into the right mindset and separate your work life from your personal life.

Treat your remote set up just as seriously as you would treat your set up in an office. This involves investing in a comfortable desk and chair, ensuring you have the right tech and communication capabilities, and utilizing good organizational tools. Hopefully your employer will assist in these areas, but if not, it’s still worth making the personal investment.

Getting easily distracted

It can be difficult to focus in a remote environment, especially when you may have a lot going on around you. Unfortunately, feeling constantly distracted can lead to poor attention-to-detail or a major productivity slump. While it’s impossible to eliminate distractions completely—especially when they’re out of your control, you can try to minimize them by scheduling your day in time blocks. Setting aside smaller blocks of time to be hyper-focused on specific tasks can keep you accountable and on track for meeting deadlines. Doing this can also prevent personal tasks like meal prep, cleaning, and laundry to completely interrupt your workday and dictate your schedule! Read also: How To Get Organized At Work

Being “out of sight, out of mind”

One of the biggest remote work mistakes professionals make is taking an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude. While this is not always intentional, becoming too siloed or focused on your individual tasks can have negative effects on team morale, your ability to make an impact, and your overall growth path at the company. If you feel that your professional relationships at the company have started to suffer, it’s not too late to build stronger connections. Consider setting up regular check ins with your manager and team and doing some networking with other departments. Read also: How To Build Virtual Business Relationships

Not setting boundaries

At the same time, there’s such a thing as being too available when working remotely. With the lines between work and home life blurred, it’s easy to think you have all the time to say yes to every assignment or extra project. However, by overcommitting, you might find yourself working all the time—including late nights and weekends. This is one of the worst remote work mistakes you can make, and it’s a habit to get out of! If you are starting to feel stressed and burnt out because of this, it’s important to set boundaries. Whether that means not being afraid to say no, not checking emails during certain hours, or taking breaks and vacation, try to stay on top of this. Read also: 5 Ways To Set Work-Life Boundaries For Yourself

Expecting your regular office routine to work at home

The experience of working in the office is different, and not recognizing this is among the most popular remote work mistakes. While you may feel the pressure to keep up with the same schedule or routine as your colleagues in the office, it’s okay to deviate—especially if you need to take a break to eat, clear your head, or take care of a family need.

At the same time, you may also have to be more intentional about your routine than you would be in the office. For example, an office environment provides plenty of organic opportunities for individuals to collaborate, check in, and unwind. As you transition to a remote role, you may have to build these moments into your schedule.

Taking advantage of your company’s policies

Remote work used to be viewed as a perk, rather than an essential business strategy for many companies. When the occasional work from home day felt more like a special event, it may have been easy to treat it like a vacation day or do the bare minimum. As more companies adapt formal remote work policies, it’s important to take working remotely seriously. Taking advantage of your company’s policy includes not responding to emails, not being available for calls or meetings, missing deadlines, taking secret vacations, or working from another state without seeking approval. Bottom line: all these things are unprofessional and are grounds for dismissal. Don’t do it!

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