Obvious but Very Bad Remote Work Advice
2 min read

Obvious but Very Bad Remote Work Advice

Obvious but Very Bad Remote Work Advice

When you work from where you wish, you face struggles. But many of us never complain because of all the rare and wonderful benefits, and when we do speak up we are met with the same terrible one-sentence dismissive advice.

The four typical struggles of a remote worker are:

  • Communication
  • Isolation
  • Productivity
  • Boundaries

Let’s look at the terrible advice that you get when you mention these issues.

It's hard to communicate.

“Just use Slack”

“Use video chats”

"Ever heard of email?"

“Fly everyone out once a year to do karaoke, drink, and get to know each other”

When a team has a communication problem and they use Slack, they now have two problems. Their first problem might feel solved, as now everybody knows what everybody else is doing – all the time. By doing I mean “trivial crap” and by all the time I mean “constant interruptions”.

The organization might not have understood why they weren’t using email to keep in touch either, what sync. vs. async communication is, and what the “scope” of communication should have been.

It’s terrible and lonely.

“Get out more, go to a coffee shop”

“Talk to your friends”

“Call me if you get lonely”

“Take more Vitamin D

"Go outside, you idiot"

None of these suggestions speak the truth: it is natural to get lonely when working alone, even in a house full of kids.

These suggestions, while sweet and harmless, don’t say why just going outside isn’t going to help an introverted person or someone with few friends in the same city. They also assume that the problem is simply location, but at-home workers can spend hours a day outside and still feel like they are one of the few survivors in a lonely world.

All I do is sleep and work and then work and sleep – I can’t unplug.

“Get out more, go to a coffee shop”

"Cry me a river"

“Take some time off”

The “boxed-in” feeling that some get after a few months of working from home isn’t easy to describe to other people – their hurried lives and commute make the idea of staying at home sound very appealing. Their view of staying at home is what they do on a Saturday and not the realization that working from home transforms your home into a place where you can no longer escape either family issues or work issues.

I can’t get anything done.

“Get up earlier.”

"Go vegan."

“Try Pomodoro.”

“Just try harder to focus – keep grindin'”

“Drink this tea”

“Read the text on top of this sunset I posted on Instagram – amazing!”

Productivity is deeply personal; everyone fights procrastination differently. Throwing productivity advice towards someone else makes you feel smart, but it might actually harm their flow, if it affects them at all. People aren't lazy, realize that working from home is actually harder for some and easier for others in terms of raw output.

If you are looking for true advice from someone who understands the struggle of remote work and has actual useful advice, check out  The Art of Working from Home.