Remote workforces power a majority of online businesses, and the perks for business owners and employees are virtually endless. Employers don’t need to rent a large office and employees can work anywhere they choose.
The benefits of being an “anywhere worker” have been pointed out in endless articles across the web, but what about the challenges?
If you’re struggling, don’t look for a desk job just yet. You’re not alone, and here’s how you can overcome some common challenges without jumping ship:
- Don’t assume everyone thinks you’re in your pajamas
For starters, what you believe other people think about you is probably incorrect. It was true in grammar school, junior high, and high school; being an adult is no exception. The human mind likes to make up stories based on our insecurities.
Your thoughts dictate your actions, and if you think people see you as lazy, you’re going to run yourself ragged trying to prove otherwise. Guilt will compel you to put in long hours, sacrifice your sleep, and work weekends. Since your boss and co-workers can’t observe you during the day, you’ll operate under self-induced pressure to make sure everyone notices your sacrifices. Then, your self-worth will be defined by how many people notice your sacrifices.
As Bob Newhart famously said in a hilarious skit, “Stop it!” Redirect your thoughts toward a more empowering perspective of how people see you. You don’t need to prove anything to your co-workers by sacrificing your life.
Check to see if this belief is driving you to prove yourself and work yourself into the ground. You might discover most of your struggles are self-induced by this false belief.
Unless you need to collaborate, make your own schedule and don’t worry about what others think.
Being available to your team, producing results, and communicating when you’re going to be unavailable is all it takes to let people know you’re not just sitting around watching TV without pants.
- Know what employee benefits you’re entitled to
Remote workers aren’t automatically exempt from protections and rights offered to in-house employees. Based on your position, you’re entitled to everything your in-house counterparts are: sick pay, vacation, overtime, and health insurance.
When it comes to safety, the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) says that employers have a duty to ensure the safety of their employees, even when they don’t have direct access to supervise their employees.
Despite the absence of policy requiring the inspection of home workspaces, OSHA has cited employers for inadequate safety after a reported injury. With conflicting policies, it seems OSHA enforces the policy based on individual circumstances.
As a remote worker, depending on your type of employment, you could be eligible for worker’s comp if you are injured while working from home. However, your boss might not agree despite what the law says. It’s important to know that if worker’s comp is denied for any reason, you always have the option to sue.
Filing a lawsuit may not be your first choice, but keep it in your back pocket as an option. If your boss doesn’t want to take responsibility for your injury, even if you’re legally entitled to pursue it, you won’t get far by yourself. Insurance companies are difficult for the average person to deal with; their job is to pay you as little as possible.
As explained by the Joye Law Firm, “If you are dealing with an injury claim on your own, you may not have a clear idea of what is a reasonable settlement offer. Insurance companies will often make low offers to try to limit their liability. They know you are feeling financial stress and may feel pressure to accept whatever offer is put on the table.”
- Learn multiple collaboration tools
A huge challenge for remote workers is collaborating on a conferencing platform that works for everyone. How many times have you joined an empty conference, only to get an email from your boss requesting that you use a different platform you don’t have installed? It’s maddening.
Save yourself the frustration and install all the popular conference platforms so you’ll be ready for anything.
- Get feedback
Ask your boss regularly if they’re happy with your results. Take their feedback and improve what you can. If your boss knows you’re actively working to improve your results for the company, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Even if someone does ask if you’re sitting around in your PJs, you can tell them, yes, and it’s the most productive pajama party you’ve ever had.