With remote work being normalized as the new model structure for many companies, most remote employees find it more difficult to impose self-discipline in performing their daily tasks.

Onsite workers would generally have a manager who can physically check up on their team’s performance but remote employees need to rely on their self-discipline to ensure they stay on track. As managers, it is important to spot these challenges as remote workers have different habits.

4 Self-discipline pitfalls of remote worker

  • Flexibility. Flexibility is one major advantage remote workers have over onsite employees. This work structure allows them to work on hours when they are most productive. However, being flexible also means there could be times when remote employees find themselves feeling unproductive for long periods. They are often tempted to slack off for a good while and then cram hard to beat deadlines. Such habits can be stressful and cause burnout and lower quality of work.
  • The Blind Eye. Many home-based jobs run on task-based outputs that do not rely on employee monitoring and management tools. This is a much-preferred model of work by remote employees as no one wants to be micromanaged or closely watched while working. But more remote employees have admitted to falling into online black holes such as YouTube or Facebook messenger while on the job. Some get lost between 8 browser tabs and 3 cascaded windows on their monitors just idly cruising the internet. If workers are accountable for their productivity and can meet deadlines, no one needs to have a constant watchful eye on them to keep them from being distracted.
  • The Switch. Because remote employees do not follow a strict regimen or a fixed schedule, they can easily flip the switch and take off from work. This is a favorable advantage for many, especially for parents or those who have elderly relatives to care for. However, working from home runs a huge risk of falling into a habit of procrastination. Those who prefer to travel and work remotely can easily lose focus or set aside work altogether to devote more time to exploring their new locations.
  • Burnout. With flexibility comes greater responsibility. The flip side of having time on your hands means you always have a choice. That crucial decision between sticking to a work schedule or procrastinating only to end up busting you back doing double time to meet deadlines is a surefire way of wearing yourself thin and burning out. Self-inflicted work overload is detrimental to one’s health.

Tips on how to improve self-discipline for remote employees

Not everyone is naturally born with self-discipline. Although this may come easier for some, this habit takes practice. As you immerse yourself in the world of remote work, you learn to establish boundaries and maintain a good work-life balance. Here are some helpful tips to achieve that balance.

  1. Establish a routine and maintain it.
  2. Force yourself to get out of your pajamas and dress up for work
  3. Designate a proper and conducive workspace at home
  4. Determine the most productive times throughout the day to work
  5. Always set daily task goals
  6. Set boundaries with family and friends
  7. Stay away from social media during work hours
  8. Start your day prepared for distractions
  9. Make a task tracker

How to help remote workers who struggle with self-discipline

  • Provide co-working space options
    Not all remote employees have the same working environment. Some may not have a comfortable space where they can isolate themselves and focus on work or even work in silence. Investing extra funds to allot for co-working space allowances can be a practical solution. You can even throw in coffee shop vouchers on certain days of the week to catch up with work.
  • Give free access to organization tools and apps
    Digital technology has been a revolutionary transition for both companies and employees. Having a system where remote employees can collaborate, plan and track their performance makes it easier for them to stay guided but not feel like someone is always breathing down their neck or feel like they have been left to fly blindly.
  • Make time for regular check-ins
    A once-a-week meeting can do wonders for remote teams and managers. This lets managers stay on top of things and keep track of everyone’s output and at the same time, gives every team member a chance to bring up concerns. Scheduling 1:1 meetings is also a great way to find out if a remote employee is faced with any blockers and advise them on how you can be of help.
  • Include healthy living initiatives.
    Remote workers can easily drown in an unhealthy lifestyle. Encouraging health and wellness initiatives such as a free scheduled group online yoga class, or providing guided meditation apps can help remote employees make them more self-aware.

Key Takeaways

Maintaining a certain level of self-discipline is beneficial for both onsite and remote workers. Promoting good discipline and accountability in your organization lets employees flourish independently. Nurturing self-discipline in every remote worker only works when the environment is set up to be so. Invest in the right tools, be observant, and keep your remote employees motivated. At EVS, our virtual assistants are carefully assessed to match our valued clients. Each VA goes through a screening process to see how they adapt to a remote work environment. We understand the kind of focus and self-discipline it takes to be productive when working remotely. Are you looking for the right virtual assistant to help your business grow? Contact us today. We’re more than happy to help you unburden all that extra workload for you.