Once a person hears “remote work”, the first thing that comes to his mind is “working from the comfort of my home”. If you happen to be a freelancer, you will enjoy all the benefits that come with working from home. For instance, you don’t have to rent a shop because a corner in your house will be converted to your office. You won’t be harassed by revenue collectors that disturb shop owners. You can reach out to clients from different parts of the world. You just name it.
But then, if your mind tells you that remote work means that you have all the time in the world to yourself, well, I’ll like to tell you that it’s not so. I’m here to let you know that your tiny laptop can be a more demanding boss than that man barking out orders in your office. Somehow, that laptop will squeeze into your life and take up all your spaces so that you do nothing else but answer to it, even late in the night. That laptop you’re looking at can cost you a peaceful night sleep. This is why many remote workers hardly sleep at night.
We know that remote work is becoming the in-thing right now. Even before the pandemic, people were gradually going into it. Platforms such as Upworks made it easier for remote workers (that were lucky to be accepted into the platform) to meet with clients regularly. But now that the pandemic has changed the face of so many things, more remote workers and workers are going to emerge in the near future.
It will be necessary that you find out what you might experience as a remote worker. You may not hear of any of these until they hit you. Well, without wasting much time, here are the dangers of remote work.
- Burning Out
You might be surprised to see yourself getting tired easily. You might think that you’re coming down with something. You can even start taking multivitamin supplements or even start treating malaria but all to no avail. Worst is that you will dread looking into your laptop. At this moment, all you want to do is lie down and sleep.
Well, the commonest cause of this is over working. Because you’re in your home and you feel you have all the time in the world, you will over work yourself. Going to the office ensures that you share duties with your colleagues. You also had colleagues to chat with and ask for directions in the office. But here, it is just you and your laptop. You have to crack your brain and carry out research to find ways to solve clients ‘problems. By the end of the day, your brain is stressed and you feel drained.
- Zero Social Life
Like I said earlier, you might think you will have all the time in the world to socialise when you start working remotely. This ideology will stay with you until you go into it and find out that you might stay indoors for days without even brushing your teeth. Remember, you work based on when work came in and when the client wants it done – this could mean you don’t own your time. The thought of a deadline is enough to keep you away from sleep and social activities. It may even get to a stage where you stop mingling with people because your work has become demanding.
- Family Interference
Family interference can come in various forms. It could be children and spouses complaining about lack of attention. It could be children distracting you while you work. It could be children adventuring with your laptop when you stepped out to pee so that they accepted orders for you (ask me about this). It could even be voices of your playing children or nagging spouse finding its way into your video or audio recording/streaming. Remember the stories of spouses that walked about naked in the room while their husbands/wives were in live streaming? Well, they are all part of it.
I know you may say that you won’t allow your family to interfere in your work. Believe me, unless you have a study or library at home, which is always under lock whether you’re in the room or not, they will definitely do something to mess up your work. Just be extra vigilant.
- Biting More than You can Chew
It’s easier to accept work when you’re working from home. Somehow you will continue telling yourself that you will make out time to finish them until they start choking you up. The danger here is that you can get drained or fail to meet the deadline. Either way, it doesn’t pay.
Ways of Preventing the Dangers of Remote Work
These tips may not work for everybody but they work for me.
Set your Schedule
Draw up a timetable of how and when you will work. For instance, I have stopped jumping from my bed to my laptop in the morning. I have decided not to turn it on until 10am, after I must have done my morning chores and settled the children. Then, I also shut down at a particular time in the afternoon to take a break as well as to take care of some needs for the family. Then at night, I shut down for the day by 10pm or 11pm, depending on the stage I am at with work.
Aside these, timetables should also indicate which work will be done at a particular time and day. This way, tensions and pressures that come with having so many undone works on the table will be reduced. Also, your schedule should specify the day of the week that will be kept aside for a total break from work. In fact, even if you’re working from home, give yourself a “weekend” (it mustn’t necessarily be Saturdays and Sundays). Remember to be flexible with your schedule. Make appropriate changes when the need arises. For example, my schedule is bound to change when schools reopen fully.
Work when there is less Distraction
Even if you have a secluded area in the house, where you can work in peace, try to work when distractions have been brought to the lowest level. If the family members or neighbours start distracting you, kindly turn off and settle them first.
Eat Well and Sleep Well
These can never be overemphasised. You may see yourself as a sedentary worker, but remember your brain is at work, even when you’re sleeping. So give your body the food it needs and allow it to rest through sleep. Also remember to take a lot of fluids.
Remote work has a lot of advantages but it comes with its own challenges. As you go into it, make plans to avoid issues that might arise from it.