The modern workplace is changing for the better. With the constant expansion of communication technology, we’re able to do our work on-the-go like never before. But the advantages of being able to do your work from the comfort of your own home come with the downsides the office’s constant motivation. While this trend is relatively new in the world of business, we’re finally starting to recognize some of the downsides to remote work.

The Lack of Face-To-Face Culture 

Depending on how much you enjoy being a social butterfly, being out of the office can either be your saving grace or your worst enemy. Without the rules of the office looming over you — including the unique company culture and interactions that accompany it — some workers may find themselves lost. Remote workers often find themselves trying to juggle inefficient communication systems like text-chat and video streaming just to get the information they need to finish the task at hand.

Whereas in an office your associates are a mere arm’s length away, working from home puts you at the mercy of them checking their communication channels. It is time to invest in better communication for your remote workers. Leave sending emails behind and schedule virtual meetings with your key players to make sure any questions they have will be answered.

General Distractions: The Silent Killer

The largest concern with remote workers is the loss of productivity caused by external distractions. However, some employees are actually more productive without the pressure of a formal work environment. This worker freedom is a double-edged sword. There’s no GPS system on you, nobody will know if you sneak off to the local Chili’s for a cold one while you wrap up your assignments. That freedom is both the appeal of working remotely and its primary failing.

You have to be able to hold yourself accountable and work at a sustainable rate if you want to justify working from home. This doesn’t mean you can’t take breaks, short pauses when working can improve focus, but you have to know your triggers for distraction. By creating an at-home workroom, free from the noise of a coffee shop and tempting, sizzling-fresh fajitas of your local Chili’s, you’ll find it much easier to concentrate when you need to. If that doesn’t work, try using a teamwork site like Google Drive. Its interconnectivity will hold you accountable for your workload in real time. A feeling of responsibility is distraction’s worst nightmare.

Article by Charles Jackson, President of AFEUSA

Charles Jackson AFE Board