10 Challenges of Remote Working and How to Overcome Them

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 29 Mar 2023

10 Remote Working Challenges Remote and flexible working opportunities are on the rise within the Life Science industry. Although this way of working brings with it many benefits for employees, including more autonomy and a better work-life balance, not everyone thrives in a remote working environment.

If you’re currently considering ditching the office and going for a remote role, you may be concerned about some of the potential drawbacks of working from home. In this article, we look at the top 10 concerns employees have around working remotely, from losing structure to having difficulty setting boundaries, providing tips on how to make sure remote working is right for you.

Lack of Structure

Some people need the structure and routine of a traditional 9-to-5 workday to stay focused and productive, along with the pressure brought on by having to complete work within a strict timeframe. However, flexible and remote working doesn’t eradicate the need for structure. The only difference with this style of working is that the onus is on you to structure your day in a way that works for you, rather than following the same structure as everyone else.

Some simple things you can do to structure your day include:

  • Separate your day using time blocking
  • Give yourself a commute before and after work, perhaps by going for a quick walk outside
  • Schedule in short breaks throughout the day
  • Use project management tools such as Monday.com to manage your projects and create task lists
  • Set a start and end time for each day depending on both your personal and professional responsibilities, and stick to it


Remote working can be isolating for those who thrive on social interaction and collaboration with colleagues. To find out more about how the team you’d be joining work together, ask the following questions to yourself/to your interviewer or hiring manager:

  • Does the company have a social committee you could join?
  • How often does the team physically get together?
  • How much collaboration is involved in the role?
  • Does the team have regular check in calls?
  • Are there any co-workers you could work with, perhaps in a local coffee shop or coworking space?
  • How close are you to the office if there is one? How often could you reasonably commute in to see people?
  • How does the employer bring people together virtually as well as in the office?

Especially in the Life Science industry, remote working jobs are often still highly collaborative, so don’t let fear of isolation put you off without finding out more about the company culture.

Distractions at Home

Working from home can be challenging if there are lots of distractions around you. Where possible, create a dedicated workspace that’s free from these distractions and also away from the places you usually relax, such as your living room or bedroom.

Here are 12 more ways to optimise your work from home space to ensure you stay productive and motivated whilst working remotely.

Difficulty Disconnecting

For some employees, the flexibility of working from home can blur the lines between work and personal time, making it harder to switch off and relax.

As well as optimising your work from home space to create physical boundaries between these two parts of your life, think about ways you can signal the end of your workday. Whether this is going for a walk, reading a book, calling a friend, or going to the gym, try to find an activity that takes you completely offline and outside of your workspace.

Screen Fatigue

Screen fatigue occurs when your eyes become tired and strained after prolonged periods of time spent looking at digital screens including computers, tablets, smartphones, and televisions. Symptoms can include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Feelings of fatigue and exhaustion

Screen fatigue has become more of an issue for remote workers whose communication with colleagues relies entirely on digital channels. To combat screen fatigue, ensure you’re taking regular breaks, for example, by following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Also consider blue light glasses or filters, adjusting the brightness and contrast of screens to reduce glare, and spending your breaks completely offline.

Lack of Face-to-Face Interaction

Some people find it easier to communicate and build relationships in person rather than virtually, which can be a challenge with remote working. During the interview process, ask your employer how they bring people together, and how much of the communication within the team is face-to-face. You might find that they have a ‘camera on’ policy for certain calls, or that there are mandatory in-person meetings.

Also find out how the company brings people together outside of work, as well as how you can get your face-to-face interaction in your personal life. Perhaps you could take up a new hobby such as a sport or do some volunteering work that gives you the chance to meet new people.

Technology Issues

Technical problems with hardware, software, or internet connectivity can be frustrating and time-consuming to resolve, particularly for employees who are not tech-savvy. Firstly, make sure your location is set up for homeworking. Can you get a good enough WiFi signal to be productive?

Remember that even if you’re joining a small company with no dedicated internal IT team, you’re unlikely to be left to your own devices, and will have support on hand for IT issues when needed.

Difficulty Managing Time

Working from home requires a lot of self-discipline and time management skills, which not everyone possesses. Find out the support that would be given to you as a remote employee, and reach out to people who work remotely in your network for tips on how to stay productive. There are also plenty of tools and techniques out there to help you manage your time, including apps like Forest which keeps you off your phone and allows you to break up your day into sessions.

Difficulty Setting Boundaries

Without clear boundaries between your work and personal life, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance whilst working from home. Although the boundaries you can set at work will depend on your specific job role, some of things you can do to help you separate your work and personal life include:

  • Not using your personal phone for work
  • Not checking your emails after logging off for the day/on the weekends
  • Setting a time to finish work, and sticking to it
  • Actually shutting down your computer at the end of the day, rather than leaving it to sleep
  • Have a dedicated work space that’s not visible in the rooms you relax in
  • Give yourself breaks throughout the day so you don’t end your workday exhausted
  • Plan out your evenings and weekends to ensure you make the most of your down time, whether that means picking a film you want to watch, going for a long walk, or meeting a friend
  • Wear comfortable clothing whilst working that isn’t always loungewear
  • Take breaks away from your desk, further separating work from relaxation
  • Not constantly accepting meetings that fall during your lunch break or outside your working hours

Limited Career Progression Opportunities

A big concern for many people when considering a remote job is having limited opportunities for career progression and professional development compared to office-based counterparts. During the interview process, find out what career development actually looks like, and what your employer would be doing to support your professional growth. Go into your interviews with clear goals in mind for your professional development, and prove that you’re committed to growing within the company regardless of where you’re working.