Overcoming Remote Work Challenges: 10 Data-Backed Methods

November 28, 2023 11 min read

Chris Reaburn

Chris Reaburn

Remote work challenges

The popularity of remote work has been increasing for the past decade, and many employees — especially younger people — now look for positions that at least offer hybrid schedules. 

In 2023, 68% of Americans would prefer to work remotely, and 23% would take a pay cut to do so. Studies show that at least half of all US employees work remotely, at least on a part-time basis.

Companies offering remote work options also face a different set of challenges. Fortunately, remote-ready tools and strategies can help mitigate these obstacles, so this post will discuss the top remote work challenges and how businesses can overcome them.

What Are the Top 10 Remote Work Challenges?

Remote workers experience plenty of undeniable benefits daily. They can improve their work–life balance, reduce commuting costs and time, and even prevent burnout.

At the end of the day, though, there are significant challenges to consider.

These are the 10 biggest challenges that businesses and employees need to tackle when remote work is on the table.

1. Feeling isolated from your team

Remote work eliminates the casual, spontaneous interactions that otherwise occur daily in a traditional office setting. You aren’t making small talk before meetings, catching up at the water cooler, or even stopping by each others’ desks to resolve a concern.

Without face-to-face contact, many remote teams find it harder to build strong personal connections and team camaraderie. This may, in turn, make it more challenging for your employees to work together as a team.

For many adults, work is a core socialization activity. Working from home can result in prolonged isolation, leading to loneliness.

Over time, this can also directly impact their mental health, as workers who are fully remote are statistically more likely to experience anxiety or depression than those who work hybrid or in-office.

💡 The solutions

While remote work eliminates in-office face-to-face interactions, you can still make an effort to promote coworker relationships among team members. Use these strategies:

2. Maintaining work-life balance

In theory, remote work can help promote a healthy work–life balance. Workers can spend less time commuting and may have more time at home.

Some remote workers, however, struggle to maintain a work–life balance when they’re working from home because there’s no clear-cut “leaving for the day” like there is in an office. And once you start working at home, separating work from your personal life can be difficult.

In many cases, remote work can lead to longer hours. It can also result in the expectation for workers to always be available, even during unconventional hours or (in some cases) when an employee is out sick or on vacation.

Without clear boundaries, employees can easily find themselves burned out from overwork and stress.

💡 The solutions

These solutions can help improve your employees’ work-life balance:

3. Overcoming distractions at home

When working from home, distractions are a real and ever-present problem.

Parents may have young children at home, and pet owners may have dogs or cats asking for attention at inconvenient times. Even the temptation to do a quick load of laundry or take a quick power nap can quickly derail an otherwise productive afternoon.

Not everyone has an ideal setup for focused work at home, and when you’re balancing family or other personal responsibilities, distractions can be challenging.

A picture showing hybrid work challenges
Gallup ranked the top remote work challenges among remote employees.

For this reason, self-discipline is required, though having the right setup in place can help, too.

💡 The solutions

Looking to help your employees minimize distractions during their work hours? These tips can help:

4. Overcoming communication barriers

When you’re working face to face, it’s easy to understand nuance, ask clarifying questions, and read nonverbal cues when having discussions with your coworkers.

Remote communication often lacks these nonverbal cues. Employees may receive a short, hastily typed message and feel the sender was being harsh; the sender, however, may have just typed the text quickly while being distracted by a ringing doorbell in the background.

Without regular and clear communication, misunderstandings are more likely and can result in tension in the workplace. It can also cause mistakes in projects or workflows.

Timeliness is another communication barrier to consider.

Remote work can lead to delayed responses, which can impact decision-making and progress. This is particularly true when you’ve got employees working staggered shifts or working in different time zones.

💡 The solutions

Overcome communication barriers with these strategies:

5. Maintaining a collaborative environment

Collaborating on projects remotely requires more effort and coordination. You aren’t simply sitting a few feet away from each other, so remote teams are heavily reliant on technology — which isn’t infallible.

Spontaneous brainstorming and problem-solving that occur naturally in person are harder to replicate remotely, so teams need to find new ways to adapt to keep productivity and collaboration high.

💡 The solutions

To promote team collaboration, use these strategies:

6. Managing a distributed workforce

Coordinating meetings and collaborating across multiple time zones can be difficult. Still, it’s increasingly becoming a reality as many brands hire for company culture fit rather than geographic location.

Trying to facilitate social interaction on a live call with someone in New York and someone in Australia can be almost impossible; one team member is ending their day as the other begins it.

Time zone differences can lead to delays in communication and project progression, even outside of call scheduling difficulties. In some cases, employees in the odd-man-out time zones may have to work unusual or undesirable hours, which may affect their work–life balance or their overall job satisfaction.

💡 The solutions

7. Monitoring productivity and performance

Waking up and knocking out a to-do list first thing in the morning is a great advantage of remote work, but it isn’t always the reality. Some employees struggle with productivity while working remotely.

When teams are working remotely, it’s harder for managers to observe and assess work habits and see how they impact productivity. This can result in trust issues if managers are used to supervising work directly, particularly when they are less than thrilled about the change.

Adapting performance metrics to suit remote work can also be challenging.

That being said, multiple studies have shown that productivity generally significantly increases when employees are able to work remotely and on flexible schedules. Extending trust is often a good choice, and you can find a resolution if performance dips.

💡 The solutions

These strategies can help to prioritize productivity and help managers assess results:

8. Ensuring data security and privacy

One of the most common challenges of remote work comes down to data security.

When employees work remotely (and potentially on home Wi-Fi and personal computers), security can become an issue.

Remote work environments are less secure than a controlled office. The risk increases when your team members work from coffee shops, airports, and even coworking spaces with shared or insecure internet connections.

You must ensure compliance with data protection regulations, which can be complex and (in some cases) hard to oversee.

💡 The solutions

9. Providing professional development and career growth opportunities

Unfortunately, remote workers often feel that their achievements are less visible to management. And, in some cases, they might be right; if management isn’t seeing the hard work in person, they may overlook employees with promising traits.

There are also fewer opportunities for informal networking and mentorship.

All of these obstacles may make it more difficult for remote workers to be considered for promotions and other career advancement opportunities.

💡 The solutions

To facilitate career growth and professional development for remote workers, try these solutions:

10. Learning new technology

Remote work often means relying heavily on new technology to facilitate collaboration and project management, and that means learning how to use the technology.

Team members have varying levels of comfort and skill when it comes to adopting new tech. It’s also worth considering that not all employees have access to stable high-speed internet.

While implementing new technology is an inevitable part of remote work, it’s important to choose technology that meets your needs and is intuitive enough that everyone can learn how to navigate it.

💡 The solutions

To facilitate the adoption of new technology, use these solutions:

Address Your Challenges Head On With Nextiva

Nextiva’s all-in-one platform is perfectly suited for remote work, offering unified communications features, including video conferencing, phone conferencing, SMS messaging, and more.

The diversity of communication platforms can help your team communicate effectively and use the right medium at the right time. Video calls, for example, can help clear up misconceptions and are a great solution for happy hours or team-building sessions designed to maintain team connections and reduce isolation.

Instant messaging, chat, and file-sharing features can make collaboration effortless and reduce misunderstandings or delays in team communication.

Customizable statuses and voicemail-to-email features respect personal time, reduce the need to be constantly online, and allow your team to stay up-to-date whenever they choose to work.

All of Nextiva’s communication features meet and exceed industry standards to ensure secure and private data handling. You can trust that your team can communicate both safely and effectively.

Ready to get ahead of your remote work challenges? See how Nextiva simplifies remote work for growing businesses. 

Chris Reaburn


Chris Reaburn

Chris Reaburn is the Chief of Strategic Execution at Nextiva. Known as "Reaburn" by friends/family, he is responsible for championing Nextiva's brand and products into the market in support of the company's vision to change the way businesses around the world work and serve their customers. With his previous leadership roles in the communications industry…

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