The Challenges of Remote Working and What We Miss From the Office

Strangely – I think I miss certain things from over six months ago.


The commute: The packed train, the checking of social media en route into the office, my coffee from the café on the platform and talking about last night’s football game with the barista, listening to my favourite playlist or podcast on the train has (for now) gone! We have adapted to a new kind of normal schedule,

And that is just the commute routine…


The office: Remember the days when we got into work, the traditional morning and on Monday this was followed by “How was your weekend?” The mid-morning chit chat with our team of “What’s everyone doing for lunch?” and the office chat discussing every topic imaginable. And then at the end of the Friday, you would occasionally get a call/email or someone would shout out … “Anyone fancy a beer?” Typically, someone was always around for that! Finally, the commute home on a packed and sometimes cancelled train home. Yes. Remote working is wonderful, but what challenges does this have?


I asked the team to share their biggest challenges from the “new work normal”, their views and opinions and how they have tried to overcome these and move forward.

William Bennett – “Working remotely means I get less distracted and more in the “ZONE” which means I am actually working more. I often feel that I get pulled to go back to my laptop after the day has ended to check up on just one email, finish one small thing, find one more CV, which then spirals into late-night working.”

“Whilst working more from home I have taught myself to be super self-motivated and a become a pro at time management. As we don’t have others to manage our time for us.” says @Joseph Barwick-Knight “Sometimes, there is the constant temptation to watch one episode of your favourite show during your work break, tidy up the kitchen or take your dog for a walk because they are looking you with those “dreamy puppy eyes”.”

James Clayton our Team Manager has the extra challenge on balancing family life while working from home – “I have had to create boundaries between what’s home and workspace. Having family and work under roof has been tricky to switch off, so, creating a separate space has helped. When lockdown originally came into effect I used to sit at the kitchen table. I would have my back to the TV and a plant between me and the fridge to avoid any temptations. Sectioning off part of a room for work so it feels like a separate space has helped. However, the toughest challenge is my young son, who doesn’t understand that they can see you but you’re not available to play!  Repeatedly saying that I don’t have time now is difficult. Finding a good place to take conference calls so that family doesn’t interrupt and so that I don’t wake a napping baby can also be an issue. But since the introduction of using external flexible office space in my area has really helped so my son knows when Daddy is home it’s playtime when Daddy isn’t he is at work.”


My personal summary to overcome these challenges:

Have a TO DO LIST and give yourself small manageable tasks to achieve within a certain time frame. At the end of each achieved task,  give yourself a little break or small reward. It’s useful for me to have a TO DO LIST which I complete each day, even extending this to tasks I need to do this week and month. Where possible, create a quiet zone to work away from the hub of the house to avoid and minimise distractions. Yes, we will have many interruptions being at home. But, if you think back, this is far less when we work from home, as you don’t have your co-workers dropping by your desk, saying did you watch that on TV last night or what do you think of the new guy! One office disruption which I miss at Marcus Donald is birthday celebrations. We give our staff the day off on their birthday and the next day they bring in a cake to work for everyone to share … this was always a welcome and enjoyable interruption!


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