Our remote workers share their challenges and tips

Jo White posted in Culture March 16, 2020

There are many great things about remote working, the main one being flexibility - especially in the current climate. We looked more deeply at all the benefits in the ‘How to make remote work’ blog.

While we’re familiar with the business challenges people face working remotely around communication, collaboration and forming team relationships, what about the personal challenges? We spoke to some of our remote workers to find out how they overcome their own challenges.

Snacking

One of the most common challenges when working from home was with snacking. Most of the team tend to reach for the sweet stuff during the day instead of healthy alternatives like crunching on carrots.

“My consumption of cookies has increased dramatically since working remotely. So I make rules about how many cookies I can eat per day.”
Joshua, UK Support

If there’s too much temptation in the house and you need a bit more help with self control here’s an interesting solution:

“We have one of these clear plastic lock boxes. I can see the treats in the house but can’t access them - I don’t know the code!”
Andrew, Developer, UK

On the flip side, some of the team forget to eat, especially when working across different time zones. Meetings can tend to run through lunch time, so you end up skipping meals.

The best advice was to schedule out a lunch break in your diary so people know when you take lunch. It’s also useful to have healthy meals prepared in advance to eat straight after the meeting.

The team were also more likely to miss meals if they had breakfast too late as the rest of the day gets out of sync. If you have your breakfast before you start your work day, you’ve got more chance of eating at regular intervals.

Falling for fast food

Sometimes the hours can fly past before you realize you’ve not eaten anything at all. Then suddenly you’re ravenous and need something quick. That’s when it’s easy to fall for fast food. This is especially true if you don’t live in the city with lots of nutritious options on your doorstep. Best advice - prepare healthy food you can grab on the go.

“I’m out in the suburbs, so it’s not as easy to grab a quick, and might I add, nutritious lunch. So I have to be organized and make sure there is something here so I don’t resort to fast food that isn’t healthy.”
Liz, Customer Success, US

Here’s a tasty recipe for fast food that’s full of goodness, Maple Drizzled Pistachio & Avocado Bagel Toast, especially if you drop the maple syrup. But Ollie, our UK Designer says that’s what makes it!

Josef, from our US Support Team has actually found he eats super healthily now he works remotely. He prepares wholesome lunches every day and has never felt so good. Here’s one of his nutritious bowls.

Forgetting to clean your teeth

Talk of all this food highlighted another common challenge - forgetting to brush your teeth. Something so ingrained in our brains to do before we leave the house strangely seems to slip when you work from home. We all admitted to forgetting at some point. Some of us remember just before lunch then decide to leave it until after lunch. It’s only when our partner comes home that we’re reminded again that our teeth are not clean!

Those that remember more consistently follow a morning routine that’s the same as the one they’d have if they worked in an office. Others have turned to an app called Streaks - it helps form good habits!

Cabin fever

Working remotely involves being indoors, usually on your own, for most of the day. If you have all your supplies in and no meetings, it’s not long until you get a bit of cabin fever. Here’s how the team overcome that in the current climate.

“I think regular video calls completely removed any cabin fever.”
Dom, Lead Designer, France
“Azul, my dog, forces me to get outside a couple times a day.”
Liz, Customer Success, US

“Getting out for a quick lunchtime run or a brisk walk helps break up the day and boosts energy for the afternoon.”
Jo, Marketing, UK

Human interaction

One of the biggest challenges is with daily social interaction. It’s great working on your own but we all need a bit of human interaction throughout the week.

We use Zoom meetings at Capsule and it’s a great way to interact with the team on a daily basis. Having a couple of those meetings a day instead of using Slack has definitely helped the team feel less isolated.

When social distancing is lifted and some form of normality returns, here are some other ways to meet people when you work remotely.

“I attend Jelly, an informal co-working event on a Wednesday, it’s full of other remote workers and we all sit around a table in a cafe and work next to each other.”
Andrew, Developer, UK
“Every so often I go to a Support Driven Meetup, maybe once a month for remote people and others. I’ve also got at least two social running things each week too.”
Josef, US Support
“During the school year I volunteer in my kids classrooms once a week during my lunch time.”
Liz, Customer Success, US

A few other challenges popped up for our full-time remote workers such as their neighbors thinking they sat at home all day doing nothing. Aside from dropping their job into conversation, we didn’t really have a tried and tested answer to that challenge.

We hope you found some useful tips from the team and feel a little bit more confident about working from home.

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