5+ Top Challenges of Remote Work – That No One Tells You About

The way we work has changed massively.  In 2017, a study by FlexJobs found a 115% increase in the number of American workers who work remotely part-time, from 1.8 million in 2005 to 3.9 million in 2017."

More recent data from Owl Labs shows that 16% of global companies are fully remote, and that those who work remotely at least once per month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive in their roles than those who can't or don't work remotely.

The Knack team is 100% remote, and a recent survey of Knackpackers on the Knack Instagram found that 58% of Knackpackers work remotely at least one day a week!  That same survey found that 89% of Knackpackers would jump at the chance to work remotely.

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Unique Challenges of Remote Work

While working remotely has benefits for both employees and the company, it does come with unique challenges.  Below, we’ve shared insights on how to effectively work from home from both the Knack team (100% remote) and Knackpackers from places like Detroit and Silicon Valley.

Challenge #1:  Getting “Face Time” with Team Members

When you work remotely, it takes extra effort to form team bonds and rapport.  Office birthday parties aren’t a thing, and you don’t stop by someone’s desk for a chat.

Knack CEO, Chad Mellen, shares how he builds camaraderie at Knack, “One of the most important things we do is fly the Knack team for a series of meetings and team bonding activities,” he shares.  “This helps build relationships, and it’s also just a lot of fun.”

And the Knack team can pack for these retreats, easily packing away their tech in their Knack Packs when it’s time for a team bonding activity or dinner.

If you’re not in charge of company retreats, an easy way to build rapport is through a humor-focused Slack channel.  Team members can share memes, funny moments or pictures of their dog.

Challenge #2:  Connection Issues

If the internet goes out at work, you have an IT team member or department that is ready to troubleshoot immediately.  If you’re working from home, you’ll have to call a customer service number and wait on hold.

“Connection issues are probably the biggest challenge,” says Knackpacker Jaysen who works for a customs brokerage firm.  Connecting to files stored at the office can take a lot of computing power, and it “Slows down my laptop drastically,” shares Jaysen.  “I now use two laptops when I’m at home.”

Jaysen uses a large Knack Pack in Stealth Black for his everyday carry bag.

5 top Challenges of Remote Work

Challenge #3:  Getting Ready for the Day

When you work remotely, it’s easy to stay in your robe or workout clothes all day.  You technically don’t have to get “ready for work,” so you don’t. Almost every person who works remotely has sat down with their morning coffee to answer a few emails, and then looks up to see that it’s 2PM.  And you’re sitting in your bath robe.

Keith Bristol, Chief Digital Officer, shares how he makes sure to get ready for the day:  “I use my Knack Pack as my gym bag,” he shares, “and I pack the expandable section with my clothes for the day.  I get my workout in, and I’m also ready for the day.” 

Keith also uses coworking spaces, which can act as an office. 

Challenge #4:  Keeping Work Items On Hand

Christina is a UX researcher at Google, who works from a number of the company’s 65+ campuses.  The “biggest challenge of remote work is not having all the things I need with me that I may have available in the office,” she shares.  “This was one of the reasons I wanted a Knack Pack, so I can keep everything organized.”

Christina has the medium Knack Pack in Savile Gray, which you can check out here.

Packing the Knack Pack for remote work

Challenge #5:  Failing to Log Off

When you work remotely, it’s a bit more difficult to disengage from work, because the boundaries of work and home are blurred.  “Forcing myself to log off can be difficult,” says Operations Manager, Rachel. “It’s important to provide top notch customer service, and I want to be as responsive as possible.”

So, Rachel has a system to help her disengage from work.  “I snooze Slack notifications, and I don’t check email when I’m done for the day,” she shares.  “If I’m waiting for a time sensitive email, I’ll do a scan of email before I go to bed – and I only respond if it’s absolutely critical.”

Rachel also puts her phone in the eyeglasses pocket of her Knack Pack. It’s out of sight, but nearby if she needs it!

5 Top Challenges of Remote Work

Challenge #6:  Lack of Structure

Similarly to Rachel, Knack team member Zeke finds issues arise when he doesn’t have clear boundaries between work and home life.

The biggest challenge of working remotely is the blurry line between work and other stuff on my to-do list,” he shares. “At a 9-5 job, when you’re in the office, you work, and when you leave the office, you take care of personal errands. When that structure isn’t in place, I need to be disciplined about compartmentalizing my life.”

Zeke works from coffee shops to help get him into “work mode.” 

“When I’m at a coffee shop, I work. When I leave, I take care of other stuff,” he shares.  “That way, work gets 100% of my attention when I’m there, and I’m not distracted like I’d be at home by a crying baby or a pile of dishes that I need to wash.”

When work is done, Zeke packs up all his items into his medium sized Knack Pack, and is ready for errands and the rest of his to-do list!

Medium Knack Pack Expandable Laptop Backpack

The Perfect Bag for Remote Workers

There’s no such thing as a typical 9-5 any more, and a run of the mill work bag doesn’t cut it.  The Knack Pack is designed to replace multiple bags in your life, making it the perfect bag for those who work remotely.  

The Knack Backpack is the best bag for digital nomads and those telecommuting from home, as Knackpackers can easily switch from “work mode” to living life, storing both their tech and everyday items in one bag. 

Do you have tips on working remotely?  Share them below!

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