Loneliness and Liberation: The Two Ls of Remote Work

June 10, 2024 •

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I’ve been in remote work for over a decade and experienced a lot that it has to offer. I enjoy the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. I've had months where I've been in more than two different countries and sometimes continents. This sounds fun and it is, but some demerits exist with it. Everyone highlights the good without the bad and for good reason. I want to showcase both sides in totality through my extensive experience. 

Isolation and Loneliness

Isolation and loneliness are the hallmarks of remote work. You may not realize how isolated you are until you see an empty room with your computer and no one around. Physical offices have people working in one building who can interact with each other. This gives a sense of belonging, making the work hours bearable and occasionally fun.  Working remotely eliminates this feeling. The sense of community is lost and you are left to work alone wherever you are. This has its challenges, especially on your mental well-being and motivation. Your productivity can be affected adversely as you lack the visual stimulation of a bustling work environment.  

I've had this isolation blur the lines between my work and personal life. I'm no stranger to carrying my laptop to the coffee shop to do some work. I've taken trips and gone on strolls while handling some light tasks. These are traditional places to go and interact with other people. Work-life balance suffers and can be lost without any intervention. These are just the demerits I've seen in my experience. I know others who have become completely absorbed in their professional lives. There's nothing wrong with being enamored by your work as I am a workaholic in some respects. It's easy to lose the balance in your professional and personal life. I have cues to mitigate this and make remote work great despite these issues. I'll speak about it after the better side of remote work.

Liberation

Freedom and liberation are the other side of remote work. This is the more shared side of remote work. Everyone tends to focus on the positives and with good reason. Staying positive allows us to enjoy our time and situation. Remote work has excellent positives. Just as working in a traditional office setting has its benefits, it also has its demerits. A daily commute to the office, an unappealing office space, and even co-workers you can't stand. Some people don't like these things and thrive on remote work. 

I travel a lot and enjoy working from whichever location I choose. I have the freedom to see new places, create new social connections, and enjoy a fulfilling work-life dynamic. Being tethered to a singular location is something I dislike. Working in new locations renews my motivation and productivity. I get to enjoy my work and time at the same time. It also saves me a lot of money on taxes paid for having a physical office in any country. This is a great benefit that I enjoy as a team leader. The benefits of liberation may seem less but have more weight. I enjoy remote work and wouldn't have it any other way. I have adjusted my process to maintain my productivity and well-being. Hopefully, these tips can help you. I have written an article that details how I manage my remote team. 

Read: Principles for Managing Remote Teams and Freelancers

Balancing Remote Work

A good balance can be achieved to make remote work an enjoyable process. I have morning meetings with my employees before I start my workday. These meetings give me the boost to kickstart my day and allow us to interact. We do this using synchronous videos. We use Jitsi to communicate during these morning virtual meetings. I have also enlisted screen recording software to give feedback on all tasks and projects we do. It allows us the opportunity to simulate a wonderful work environment with technology. I created VideoFeedbackr to help us record our screens hassle-free.

I've also been planning my travels to destinations I like with people I like. This can be to see a friend, my relatives, or my partner. This allows me to enjoy the change of scenery without the loneliness and isolation. This has helped me enjoy my flexible work life as I can go out and enjoy my time with my loved ones. I encourage my team to do the same and enjoy their weekends to relax and blow off some steam. 

I also use checklists and to-do lists to keep my tasks organized. It keeps me on track with everything I need to do and ensures I remain sharp. My productivity levels are maintained and so are my remote workers. I have implemented these checklists in the projects we do in our team. It has helped improve everyone's productivity. We've simulated a traditional office environment using technological advancements. These checklists ensure we all have time for other extracurricular activities and plans. We all have time to enjoy with our loved ones and remain productive and efficient during our work week. It is a simple addition you can implement into your remote work process. 

Read: Boost Productivity With Checklist

Best Practices

These are some of the things you can do to help you make your remote work journey a smooth transition.

Planning

Planning helps. You'll have a lot of autonomy and freedom. You won't have much following up and this can make you complacent. I set clear workweek agendas and tasks that I want to accomplish. I then break them down into a to-do list in the preferred completion order. Afterward, I create a checklist detailing the important aspects. This keeps me focused on the goal and keeps me accountable.

Optimized Work Environment

Optimize your work environment. Eliminate distractions and give yourself the best chance to fulfill your tasks. I like playing some music as I work. I can work in a coffee shop and keep my focus and productivity high. My writer prefers working at night with no one around him listening to his music. It would be counter-productive for me to enforce my process on him and vice versa.

Work-life Balance

Working remotely means you can work till you drop. You don't need to clock in or clock out. Plan your day well and you'll have time to yourself. Don't become a fully-fledged workaholic corporate pawn. Work on your efficiency and time management. This will help you make the right decisions and leave you happier and more fulfilled. 


Take Away

The remote work landscape is growing continuously. It continues to take over the corporate landscape. We cannot ignore it or assume its influence. Traditional work may get absorbed into remote for most non-essential sectors. We need to learn all we can and adapt to the changing landscape. The workspace is shifting to the digital space. The benefits of remote work outweigh the demerits as I have shown. The demerits aren't to be taken lightly. We need to do our best to stifle them. 

The remote work era is upon us. We can get on board with it or let it run us over. You can transition your team to remote work by using some helpful software. Goleko simulates the work environment and helps you run things like you would have. Bring the environment to your home office as you manage your projects better. It will help you properly transition into the remote work environment. This is a new way of doing things and it's time to embrace it. 


FAQs

How can I deal with loneliness when working remotely?

Try having a support system around you. You can work from home or around your family members. 

How can I stay productive when working remotely?

Plan. Create a to-do list and plan your work. Keep your environment primed for productivity and work.  

How can I adjust my schedule to fit remote work?

Check your tasks and analyze how much time is needed for them. Divide them into workable hours and create a schedule around them. This should free time for you to do other things. 

What are the best ways to work remotely?

In an environment that allows you to stay productive and efficient. You will do your best in an environment that promotes this. 


For these and more thoughts, guides, and insights visit my blog at martinbaun.com.