Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Four challenges of remote working creatives should consider

It’s hard to overlook how much of an impact the remote working revolution has had on the average employee. When we were all banished to our homes in the spring of 2020, very few of us knew exactly what our day-to-day working lifestyle was going to look like. 

Flash forwards a few years, and the general consensus is that working from home is here to stay. And it’s not hard to understand why. 

The freedom to roll out of bed and immediately start our day, interacting more easily with our loved ones at home, and the ability to work at our own pace without beady eyes looking over our shoulder. Yes, there’s a lot more good to be said for this way of working than bad. 

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any drawbacks at all. For example, if you’re a creative type who flourishes when engaging with others, it can be particularly tough to spend days on end with limited in-person dialogue. In this short guide, let’s discuss four of the toughest challenges creatives will face when engaging in this modern way of working. 

Isolation and interaction 

Working from your home is great if you have people there to interact with – but it would be naive to assume this is a luxury which can be afforded to everyone. Some people live alone, which has the very real possibility of leaving them feeling completely isolated and cut off from others. 

recent report by Buffer found that a staggering 24% of all people who work from home often find themselves feeling lonely. This is in itself a very bizarre byproduct of this contemporary way of working. While society has had many hurdles to overcome in professional spheres over the centuries, loneliness has rarely been at the forefront for the masses. 

For a creative person, it’s natural for this sensation to become emotionally draining over time. This can have a major impact on both the rate and the quality of the work they’re producing. 

Make a point of finding someone to talk to at least a couple of times a week. This doesn’t have to be in person. A call over a platform like Google Meets, Zoom, or Skype is enough to leave you feeling revitalised from a social perspective.

Finding a stable routine 

While most of us don’t inherently like being told what to do, there’s a paradoxical comfort in the consistency of office hours. We check in, work, then check out. And while you might still work those same hours while at home, it can be tough to strike a balance between this and what’s going on around you (especially if you have little ones running about). 

In creative jobs, where it’s harder to predict when inspiration might strike you, finding a routine which works can be a real headache. This has the potential to leave you floundering in the middle of the week, and stressed out later on when deadlines slowly begin to pile up. 

Play around with a few schedules until you find one which is right for you and your family. Accept that you’re unlikely to hit on the nail on the head the first time around, and keep trialling new routines until something clicks.

Disconnecting work from downtime

When your office is your home, and your home is your office, it’s not hard to see how things might start to blend together. If you have a specific room (or at the very least an area within a room) where you do all your work, disconnecting after you’re done might be easy.

However, if you tend to roam around the house during the day, you’ll soon start to associate certain areas of your home with work, rather than play. This can create a mental block, where your house starts to feel less like your sanctuary, and more like a prison. 

Make sure you’re creating a clear divide between areas where you work and spaces that you use for regular home life. Having a dedicated desk setup is perhaps best here, as it will isolate one very small portion of your home to work. If there’s more than one of you working remotely, you may need to create an entire office.

Getting easily burnt out  

It might be natural to assume that working from the comfort of your own home reduces the chances of you becoming mentally exhausted by the ins and outs of your job. In truth, that’s far from a reality, with figures showing as many as 69% of remote workers feeling burnt out by being stuck at home.

There are a host of reasons why a more familiar and comforting environment doesn’t immediately equate to a happier and more energised employee. Just some of the primary triggers for this include things like: 

  • Being unable to switch off from work 
  • Feeling confused about how to manage your time and schedule deadlines 
  • Feeling trapped in the same space, without a regular change of scenery 
  • Putting excess pressure on yourself to work more 

Again, for those who operate with a more creative way of thinking, this can be hugely detrimental to your overall performance. Mental fatigue is the biggest adversary to creative output, and should be tackled as soon as you notice it starting to occur. 

Never forget to take mental health days when you need them. Think about taking off a Monday or Friday to turn your regular weekend into a long one. Also be sure to have very clear guidelines from your team lead about what they expect from you, in order to avoid over-exerting yourself. 

Have these remote working challenges struck a chord with you? Make sure to pursue all your options when working towards a solution. It could make your day-to-day role that little bit easier. 

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Athena Addison

Athena Addison

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