image Anna Sieniawska

11 Challenges for Remote Workers & Their Solutions

Remote careers — what was once a pipe dream is now becoming a reality for countless professionals across the globe.

On the surface, working from home seems like the ideal situation.  No commute, coffee breaks as often as you like, plus a whole host of other benefits.

As with most things in life, however, there are a number of challenges that come with a virtual workplace.  If your employer is among the millions of companies worldwide offering remote careers, it may be time for you to consider the challenges you will face while working from home, and, more importantly, what you can do to overcome them.

Read on to find out the 11 biggest challenges that remote workers face, and their solutions!

1. Maintaining a good work/life balance

The Challenge

Doing online work means that your laptop becomes your virtual office.  But what about when it’s time to punch out?  If you come to associate your device with work, it can be hard to switch off in the evenings.  The line between your homelife and your professional life can begin to blend, which might make it impossible to get out of the worker’s mindset when you’re trying to relax.

The Solution

Effectively compartmentalise your professional life by setting up a dedicated account on your laptop for your work-related activities.  Set yourself fixed times to log in and out every day, just like clocking in and out of the office.  In terms of your physical space, make sure you don’t mix where you work and where you veg out.  This means not doing your work in bed or on your couch!  If you don’t have the extra room to work in, consider using a co-working space—this extremely useful service creates the illusion of being in an office, keeping your work and your homelife separate.

2. Taking pride in your appearance

The Challenge

There’s no dress code at home.  This, of course, is generally seen as one of the biggest advantages of remote work, among many others (read more about them here). In a remote career, you might find yourself sitting in front of your computer in your pyjamas, or neglecting to shower every day.  Your appearance influences how you feel and your motivation levels—not taking pride in your appearance can therefore lower your morale and break down the illusion of being at work.

The Solution

Motivate yourself to take pride in your appearance by endeavouring to leave your home at least once every day, even if it’s just to buy a snack, and consider activating your camera during video calls with co-workers.  Make a resolution to dress well and take care of your personal hygiene, just as you would if you were not working remotely—it’s a great way to get you into the proper work mindset every day.

3. Lack of exercise

The Challenge

Having to physically go to an office every day means you’re obliged to move in one way or another (whether you cycle to work, or simply walk a few minutes between your doorstep and the bus stop).  When you work from home, this is no longer the case.  How do you beat the sedentary lifestyle?

The Solution

31.5% of people say the biggest advantage of online work is having more time for exercise (Mechant Savvy).  Shift your perspective and re-purpose the time you would have spent commuting.  Something as small as taking a walk around the block before you start your day can help you offset the feeling of lethargy.  But to really stay in shape, consider joining your local gym or taking a yoga class.  If you’re a homebody, there are plenty of workouts you can do in the comfort of your own living room.  Check out these amazing YouTube channels that provide all the info you need on staying fit without leaving the house:

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4. Back pain

The Challenge

It’s a well-worn trope that many office workers suffer from back pain.  But remote workers are especially vulnerable to the ailment, as many of us don’t have the appropriate furniture and gadgets to sustain our long hours spent sitting down. 

The Solution

It is highly recommended—not only for your physical well-being, but for your sanity—that you invest in a proper home set-up in order to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your back.  Whether you opt for an ergonomically-designed office chair or a lumbar cushion, make sure your seat is comfortable enough to sit in for extended periods.  Additionally, always be mindful of your posture (don’t slouch!) and remember to get up and move every thirty minutes.  Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget!

5. Loneliness

The Challenge

An office is a great place to make friends and grow your network.  As a remote employee, you miss out on many of the social aspects that come with sharing your workplace with your colleagues.  The effects of loneliness are a growing health concern among those who work from home (Forbes).

The Solution

There are plenty of alternative ways to reach out and meet new people.  Websites such as Meetup.com, Couchsurfing.com , and Facebook Events (for events) can help you find like-minded individuals, as can courses such as cookery classes and training.  You might also like to consider volunteering in your local community.  If you’re hoping to meet fellow professionals, make the transition to a co-working space.  These establishments are becoming increasingly more common in cities and can help you to feel as though you’re working in a team, while still enjoying the flexibility and independence of working from home.

6. Not knowing where to settle

The Challenge

More and more of us are opting for online jobs so that we have more freedom to travel.  However, not having a fixed place of work can make you indecisive about where to settle. When you live and work somewhere for an extended period of time, you see both the upsides and the downsides.  Conflicting priorities and preferences may leave you confused about where you want to build your life, and even make you feel spoiled for choice.

The Solution

Choosing where to settle down is one of life’s most complex decisions, and needs to be assessed as such.  At the end of the day, you need to weigh up your options and decide what you really value in a location—the weather, the people, the prices?  It can take years to come to a definitive decision.  However, in the meantime, you should consider investing in property somewhere you could see yourself living in the long term, but also somewhere with a good rental market, in case you decide to rent or sell. 

7. Time zone differences

The Challenge

More and more employers and clients across the globe are searching for remote workers and freelancers—see more of the latest remote working trends here.  This means you could be working with people who are literally on the other side of the planet.  Let’s say you live in North America, and your client is all the way over in Europe, eight hours ahead of you.  When will you get a chance to communicate in real time?  You’ll often have to wait until tomorrow to have any questions answered.

The Solution

Playing catch-up can be extremely tedious, and it’s a valid reason for turning down a client.  Just as you wouldn’t accept a job with an unreasonably long commute, you can say no to an online job because the time difference is too great.  If a majority of your clients are in a drastically different time zone, perhaps it’s time to adjust your working hours.  Remember, part of the beauty of an online job is that you don’t have to do the traditional nine-to-five.  Just make sure you’re still maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

8. Communication issues

The Challenge

If you are in the minority as a remote employee at your workplace, you may feel out of the loop when you know your colleagues are meeting in person without you.  FOMO is not just a problem in your social life, but your professional life as well!  Moreover, text-based communication can lead to misunderstandings.  Without intonation and facial expressions to help you out, you might find your co-workers taking your messages the wrong way.

The Solution

Suggest to your co-workers that you schedule regular video calls or voice calls, rather than having detailed discussions solely over email or Skype.  Having your voice heard is a great way to ensure your point-of-view is understood clearly.  Additionally, think about organising trips and getaways with your team, if possible — it will be perfect for getting to know your colleagues in person!

9. Technology hiccups

The Challenge

The technology you use is of enormous importance as a remote worker—you simply could not work without it!  Unfortunately, when you rely on technology for everything, you will inevitably find yourself being let down by it at one point or another, whether it’s a faulty Internet connection or a last-generation laptop.

The Solution

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid technological hiccups, but you can prepare yourself for worst-case scenarios by investing in back-ups and making smart choices about the tech you use.  Before buying a new computer, for example, make sure it has a minimum of 8GB of RAM and a fast processor.  Anything less is not ideal for remote working.

Ensure you have a reliable modem, ideally a fiber connection. We recommend a minimum of 15 Mbps to avoid interruptions.  If you live in an apartment building with one shared modem, consider buying a signal booster.  However, it is preferable to have your own Wi-Fi installed in your home.

When you travel, always confirm there is Internet connection before you book a place to stay. Check reviews for information about the Wi-Fi strength and reliability, and be aware of any co-working spaces in the area as a plan B.

Make sure you backup your PC regularly.  Consider uploading all your work to cloud storage, as having lots of files on your desktop can slow down your computer considerably.

Invest in an emergency PC—a small laptop, netbook, or even a tablet.  The same goes for your Internet connection.  Always having mobile data as a backup is a godsend! 

10. Interruptions at home

The Challenge

Jobs from home may involve working in a battlefield of interruptions, be they in the form of kids, pets, or noisy roommates.  If you’re having trouble maintaining peace and quiet in your own home, you might find yourself yearning for the office cubicle again!

The Solution

Communication should always be your first line of defence—make your co-habitants aware that although you are technically at home, you are still at work, and are therefore not to be disturbed.  Consider investing in a lock on your door to prevent sudden interruptions from pets, and a pair of earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to block out noisy neighbours.  Try to coordinate your work schedule with your partner’s or enlisting the help of their grandparents to minimise possible disruptions from your children.  If this is impossible, it’s time to look for external help, such as from an au pair/nanny, or a local creche.  Even sending kids to the creche for a few hours a day can make a massive difference to your productivity.

11. Staying Motivated

The Challenge

Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated while working from the comfort of your own home, especially when you’ve got a TV or an Xbox in your peripheral vision at all times.  Without a boss nearby to crack the whip, you might find yourself taking longer lunch breaks or checking social media more often than you’d like.

The Solution

Out of sight, out of mind—move to a space that is free from distractions.  You may want to consider switching off the data/Wi-Fi on your phone, to stop yourself from constantly checking your notifications.  If you’re finding it exceedingly difficult to beat these habits, consider moving to a co-working space, which simulates the environment of an open-plan office without depriving you of the flexibility of remote work.


Jobs from home come with obstacles, but as we have seen, there is no problem that can’t be overcome, whether by investing a little time, effort, or cash.  No two remote workers are alike and everyone will face different challenges—the important thing to remember is that there are solutions, and that at the end of the day, the benefits of remote careers almost always outweigh the drawbacks.

If you’re interested in getting started as a remote worker, be sure to stay up-to-date with MONDJO to find out about full-time and part-time remote jobs available to you and remote companies that are hiring right now.  Create your account today!

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