Working Well: Challenges and Advice on Working Remotely

Terrostar Team Zoom call while working remotely

Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that out of 30.7 million sales and office workers in the U.S. only about 2.3 million have a flexible workplace. Out of 10.5 million management, business and financial workers only 2.9 have a flexible workspace. While these two groups don’t represent 100% of the workforce, the stats give a context for just how many people have to be in the office to work. Now many of us have no choice but to work remotely.

Terrostar is lucky. I don’t know the stats, but it’s not uncommon in our industry to find fully distributed agencies; companies whose entire team can work from anywhere. While we’re not fully distributed, we do have an internal communication strategy shaped around remote working. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have our challenges! We’re in our second full week of working remotely as a staff and I wanted to get a pulse on how everyone is feeling. I asked a few questions and here’s what they said.

What are your biggest challenges when working from home?

“Working at home with my kids is the most challenging. With them being so little, it’s difficult to keep them entertained. With the help of snacks, screen-time, play-doh (or anything messy), and my husband’s help we are able to manage throughout the day. Zone defense is the name of the game at our house.” – Stephanie

“Initially, my biggest challenge when working from home was myself! I had to get into the habit of digging in right away and not procrastinating. Now it’s a cinch!” – Brad

“Not having coworkers in the next office to collaborate with, vent to, or simply have a friendly conversation. I crave human interaction.” – Jayna

“I end up working longer days. I can’t leave work at work.” – Chris

“The biggest challenge I face is the distraction of sharing office space with my wife who does a good portion of her job on the phone. Since we both work from home, we’ve just adjusted to an ad hoc schedule where one of us will work from the kitchen table if the other has an extended meeting.” – Nick

What do you enjoy about working from home?

“As a part time employee, I can start working at 5:30 in the morning if I choose. Working from home is also great for me because I’m typically not interrupted. I can play the music of my liking and just work; I’m very productive in this situation.” – Brad

“I like not having to commute, which provides the option to be online earlier in the morning before the chaos awakes.” – Jayna

“I don’t have to pack lunch.” – Chris

“I like the short commute, and the ability to keep my wardrobe low key. By not getting ready, and packing up the kids it saves me time and gives me more time to work.” – Stephanie

“I really enjoy having more time in the morning with my daughter, and being able to join my family for lunch. It’s amazing how much time is spent on even a short commute when it’s all added up.” – Nick

What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to newbie remote workers?

“Stick to the routine that you follow when you are in the office and set a timer for those tasks if need be.” – Jayna

“Be accountable. You need to be accountable for your productivity and be accessible for anyone you are working with during business hours.” – Brad

“Have a dedicated work area, whether it is a small table, counter space, wherever. It is much easier to commit to working when you have easy access to a dedicated work-space. Also, it can be exhausting to take your work station down everyday, so find a space that is free and clear of high traffic.” – Stephanie

“Find a way to maintain focus. Dedicated room, occupancy schedule, quiet corner, or headphones. Whatever it takes.” – Nick

Is remote working new to you or your team? How have you been dealing with the change?