Challenges of working from home: advice from an all-remote Company

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COVID-19 AND ITS IMPACT ON LAST MILE POPULATIONS
October 30, 2020

Challenges of working from home: advice from an all-remote Company

For many years, remote work has been something that people usually associate with freelancers. We might find it challenging to think about a company of more than 20 people, different departments and services, working all-remote from their homes, with coworkers in five different time zones.  Organizing meetings a few times a week via zoom can get complicated, and we rely on the commitment and dedication of the collaborators. Well, IWORDS is one of those all-remote companies, and we have been working on developing an all-remote work environment that allows us to have a horizontal structure and also satisfy the needs of our clients that are spread across the world. 

We recognize that remote work has plenty of advantages: for the company, a reduction of costs, an unlimited source of talent, and the collaborators’ flexibility in work hours. Nonetheless, working remotely presents challenges for the team and for the work itself, and adjusting from a traditional office to a fully remote work environment involves a lot of learning and adaptation. 

Some of the challenges that we face daily are related to performance and how we set up our spaces to be more productive. An office space is designed to increase productivity: the size of the offices, the computer software, and even the distribution of seats. We’re going to describe of the main difficulties when working from home and how we have sorted them out at IWORDS, which can hopefully work for you too: 

  1. Burnout: when working in a traditional office it’s easier to set times and establish a schedule to follow within work hours. Also, the office space allows there to be a distinction between the employees’ homes and their workplace; this is not the case with remote working. The feeling of burning out can be widespread since it’s easier to skip lunch and work late to finish a big project and to feel that to comply with a deadline, one must work overtime. This also happens because, at home, we’re surrounded by many distractions and house chores that sometimes are essential for living. To manage this, at IWORDS, we have flexible schedules and we try to take breaks and holidays when we’re feeling overwhelmed, or when we’ve finished with a big project. 
  2. Organization: one of the disadvantages of working from home is that we have to do more chores. Especially the collaborators that live with their families, kids, or parents and need to be attentive to the needs of their household. This can lead to working more hours or to succumbing to external distractions. At IWORDS, we think that caring about our team is also caring about their environment; we suggest always setting schedules and boundaries. We try to work overtime as minimum as possible and to do as much as we can during our work hours, although we know that when you’re working remotely the lines can be blurry. 
  3. Office-like environment: in-office meetings or chats between coworkers and small breaks to chat and to integrate the team happen almost spontaneously, but in an all-remote company, this can be a bit more difficult. We are so dedicated to our goals and objectives that we don’t think about integration. At IWORDS, we manage this by celebrating special events and holidays, and we also do a weekly coffee break and a monthly team check where we all share our work and share our achievements with other team members.  

Working from home is an advantage that requires us to adapt. Still, once we have mastered tools that help our productivity, integration, and organization, we can make the most of it and have a friendly and well-organized office environment. 

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