Working from anywhere (WFA) is becoming a widely accepted practice across the world. Despite on-site work being safe again, many are looking to remote work as the future of business. In fact, many will respond to “What does WFA mean?” by saying it’s the answer not just to the pandemic but to the everyday struggles of working as a whole.
But in reality, you can’t answer that question well without recognizing that there are struggles behind that, too. WFA can be a dream come true if you can meet those challenges. To help you fully enjoy WFA, here are 8 challenges of WFA you need to know and how you can solve them.
Outside a proper office, you may have a hard time looking for a place where you can do your work properly. Safety is also an important factor in choosing a workplace.
Solution: Choose a quiet and comfortable workspace with proper lighting, electrical outlets, and a conducive environment for working. Choose a safe location where you can have peace of mind using your valuable devices. Don’t work outside to avoid the sun glaring on your screen and causing reading problems. Make your chosen workspace clean and simple.
So many things can distract you and disrupt your workflow, especially outside the office. Willpower and focus can only do so much until your attention inevitably goes somewhere else.
Solution: Make your own to-do lists not only to know what you have to do but also to motivate yourself of the tasks you finished. Use productivity apps and techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique to balance work and rest.
The Internet is the only thing connecting you to your company. If that connection is shaky, you can’t contribute properly to the team.
Solution: If at home, plug your computer directly into your modem via ethernet cable for the best connectivity. Stop any activities or apps that may take up your bandwidth. Have a pocket Wi-Fi device ready in case of emergencies or when working outside.
We’re always portable, but our tools may not be. Being chained down because of your equipment defeats the purpose of working remotely.
Solution: Try to minimize your work equipment as much as possible. Get soft copies of your physical documents on one laptop or have them uploaded in the cloud. Invest in a laptop that’s chargeable via USB-C to reduce the number of cables that you’ll bring around.
It’s easy to enjoy working from anywhere too much that you forget to communicate with your team. This can lead to workflow interruptions and mistrust.
Solution: Have multiple means of communication ready, such as texting, online messaging apps, etc. For large-scale conferencing with your colleagues, use a provider like Large Conference Calls. Remind yourself to update your team on a regular basis. Let them know if you’ll experience any issues that may lead to radio silence on your part so they can work around it.
Working anywhere also means your data can be more exposed. Take measures to avoid compromising your work or company data.
Solution: Use an antivirus program to protect your computer. Don’t plug in sketchy flash drives. Lock your computer when you’re away from it. Invest in a VPN for your work devices. Don’t connect to public Wi-Fi spots without turning on your VPN. Alternatively, get a personal mobile data plan that’s fast enough for your work needs (e.g. meetings, research, content creation, etc.). If using a public device, remember to log out of your accounts after use.
Unless you’re working from home, file management can be challenging especially when you have to bring your documents all around.
Solution: Digitalize your physical documents by scanning or retyping them. Use a consistent naming and storage convention. Store your files on a cloud service or in portable storage devices for organization and saving space in your computer.
Hours can fly by so fast without you noticing it. It’s easy to lose track of time and be inefficient without being in an office environment that drives you to work.
Solution: Train yourself to be mindful of the time while doing tasks. Come up with your own calendar for long-term work and check it regularly. Set your own deadlines or work milestones to be efficient and use alarms to remind yourself about them.
Just as with on-site work, remote work has its own challenges. Fortunately, as long as you know how to deal with them, WFA can become a joy to do.