You must have noticed the shift that is happening towards how work is carried forward and how strategically it is allocated. It is hard not to notice the challenges of working from home, especially with the onset of Covid-19 pandemic which demanded a sharp shift in how people approach work.
By recent statistics almost two-thirds of working professionals are working from home at least once in a week, where it progresses on to 53% professionals who work remotely half the week.
Working from home has always been prevalent, and relevant to a point, since it catered to the possibility of highly talented professionals located at different geographical areas to join together and bring the best out of a given situation.
In addition, the outward embrace for high flexibility within the workplace brought by remote work gives much rejuvenation to the workforce. Now they can work on their own schedules, in their pajamas, possibly with their pets on their lap, and can doze off between probable working hours just as long as the daily target is met at the end of the day.
Remote work also benefits employers who have a wider radius to hire from since there is hardly a geographical constraint. They can also drive in more funds to the business and the well-being of employees since they considerably cut costs with having no infrastructure or other tangible equipment.
All in all, telecommuting has fundamentally altered the way people think about work and how it is dealt, with new innovations rising to elevate the platform to really be employee friendly. Such a transformation that seeks to erase what has been generally accepted throughout is surely bound to come across hurdles that need to be overcome and problems that need to be addressed.
Table Of Contents
- Employees Driven Towards Social Isolation
- Sinking Productivity Levels
- Employees Adjusting To a Sedentary Lifestyle
- Physical Discomfort In an Home Office
- Problems With Teamwork and Collaboration
- Difficulty in Adjusting With Software for Employees
- Security Issues Springing Out of Remote Work
- Balancing Work and Life
- Reluctance to Consistently Work From Home
- Other Problems Linked To Understanding Work
Here are some fundamental challenges that remote working brings to light and how they can be tackled.
1. Employees Driven Towards Social Isolation
The social component that is linked to office-based working is unparalleled. When in an office, you engage in many conversations and discussions as well as productive contemplation that just does not hit right in the case of remote working. Even though consistent social interaction at the workplace can potentially cause distractions, interaction with other people on a regular basis positively impacts the employee’s mental health and boosts their morale.
As a consequence, remote employees can feel isolated and lonely, especially when they are living alone. For all you know, a remote employee can pass through an entire week at their home without having to step outside.
Hence it becomes an alarming factor for remote working that employees do not engage in social interactions. Community workspaces are a good solution to the problem. Here, you have essential social interaction even if they aren’t employed by your own company. Apart from that, any remote organization extensively carries out its communication through technology and the internet. Having a virtual office, wherein group calls and texts can be facilitated, gives better relief to employees and further ensures that their concerns are addressed. In addition, creating a channel for personal sharing whereby employees can suggest trips and vacations can strengthen employee retention.
2. Sinking Productivity Levels
Productivity of employees under remote work may vary from individual to individual, much like an actual office space. But the distinction comes when employees at an office are asked to deliver a daily target before their daily working hours are over. With a remote working environment, even if daily targets are set it cannot be supervised and managed like the former.
Hence, even though research suggests that employees at remote offices tend to have high productivity, it is generally cumbersome to cultivate productivity achieved at an office space without having in-person supervision.
In order for a proper solution, you need to surpass the threshold of having control over virtual supervision, wherein you can effectively create and evaluate clear goal-setting and deadlines for employees using an HR software. You can ensure productivity levels are maintained by each employee and provide reinforcements to employees that are temporarily lacking in productivity levels.
3. Employees Adjusting To a Sedentary Lifestyle
Employees being challenged by the transition of a sedentary lifestyle is too common, even with actual office working environments. But in the case of remote employees, they are by nature tethered to their devices, and it becomes increasingly difficult for many of them to enforce lunch breaks and other rest intervals by themselves.
In an office, you have a clear end point where you finish up your work for the day and leave the premises. It is not possible for employees in remote work as the notifications that are work related stretches far after the normal working hours.
Remote organizations should really stress on the relevance of taking steady breaks and rest, that refreshes them and gives them the much necessary relaxation. When you get the indication of employees that fail to comply with this, discuss this matter with utmost concern re-iterating the harmful effects.
4. Physical Discomfort In An Home Office
When you build an office space for housing employees and generating work performance out of them, you take into consideration many factors that elevates their comfort and well-being. They take care of office furniture like chairs and desks that are ergonomically built, and are placed around ample lighting at eye-friendly angles. This is completely absent in the case of remote working, unless employees take care of it themselves.
How this can be tackled is by educating yourself on the importance of a good working space, even at your home, and encouraging proper utilities are available for preventing possible distractions. Some employers even go to the extent of providing furniture to their employees wherever they are located to ensure their workspace is devoid of any discomfort and disturbances.
5. Problems With Teamwork and Collaboration
Humans are social creatures. So even the fundamental essence of a working space incorporates that very interaction for sprouting new ideas and more creative means of carrying out a specific idea. When a physical environment is absent to create a space conducive for collaboration, it is essential to employ new methods into making that happen.
The physical separation of your remote team can prevent sparks of new ideas and innovations unless there is a software solution to play a large role in ensuring remote collaboration. Like previously stated, having a software support to engage in video conferences and other modes of communication alleviates this challenge.
Superbeings is one such platform that caters the needful functions required for efficient remote collaboration. It comes up with an active system of measuring your team and conducting benchmarks based on parameters on skill and job design. It further empowers your talent and ignites your potential by insights and recommendations.
6. Difficulty In Adjusting With Software For Employees
How effectively work is managed often owes to the software used for functions. In an office environment, software upgradation and gradual updation can all be managed since all the equipment is confined inside a workspace. With a remote workspace, possible issues that can arise include faulty software, employees using different software and other compatibility issues.
Cloud-based solutions including Qandle, Slack, Google Workspace etc., comply with business standards to deliver top-notch professional software that can be relied on constant functions involving in a company. These platforms not only provide a comprehensive solution for a centralized communication system but also acts as the biggest assistance for information sharing in a remote setting.
7. Security Issues Springing Out of Remote Work
When you have a remote team that has access to organisational files and documents, the information is open to many security threats like viruses and other malware that can spread from the system of any of the employees. While this issue can be largely prevented at an office space, it is troublesome for virtual workspaces.
For remote employees, almost as with any other necessities, it is essential for them to install antivirus software on their devices to protect their system from such malwares. There are other methods like inculcating a remote access VPN to encrypt the connection between employee devices and the company database.
The important factor to be addressed is that just because a company works partially or entirely remotely, they can’t compromise on security standards and protocols, and should ideally follow the decorum followed by any other normal organization.
8. Balancing Work And Life
A Work/Life balance is undoubtedly the biggest challenge facing remote employees. It surrounds issues like overworking where the employee devotes too much time for work stretching beyond his or her working schedules, or the other side of the coin which is working too little, often caused by distractions present at home.
When you remove the workday commute and make your home the workplace, you bridge the gap between the employee and the workplace, but you also invariably make it difficult to conclude your work at the end of the day. As stated earlier, with remote employees being tethered to their work devices, they have the tendency to stretch their working hours to fit unfinished tasks and overdo tasks for various reasons. On the other hand, stating personal reasons and also succumbing to household distractions, an employee can potentially work too little than what is expected and derive low productivity.
The challenge can only be mitigated by stepping back and taking a break. However convenient remote work claims to be, it can still be overwhelming if you do not manage to find an equilibrium between work and life. You have to chart an agenda for work yourself and strive to complete your work within your restricted time, and allow yourself to take breaks and even enjoy yourself in the process.
9. Reluctance to Consistently Work From Home
Remote work is an alternative to working at office spaces at specified timings. It is an innovation that seeks to provide a pathway to how work can be carried out with efficiency. But that vision in itself can be hindered when employees incline against working from home in the long run.
While this matter can be channelised to a plethora of reasons from finding work from home less rewarding than working at an office space and also link many distractions while working from home, the reluctance prevents the employee from embracing the positive aspects remote work can provide.
The best option here is to provide choice for employees. If there is a unison in such a concern, employees can have the option to work at an office by also providing some level of flexibility. Or else reinforcements like a pay raise or other incentives can hold the employee and persuade them to rise above the surface of uncertainty.
10. Issues Linked with Clarifying Work Tasks
In a remote environment, it is difficult to ascertain whether a given group has understood the tasks assigned to them or if some of them wasn’t able to follow. In an office setting, you always have a proper delegation of work and managers to act as mentors for clarifications and suggestions, while with a remote system it is rarely the case.
Remote work only flourishes with constant communication. Since there is no physical environment to depend on identification of tasks and ensure its delivery, the only means accessible for remote work is by effectively communicating the matter and doing the needful. People who find it difficult to grasp certain tasks can be further enlightened on the topic by one-on-one calls and messages.
Evolution in work stems from innovative stands in deciding how work can be done in a manner that is most convenient for the management, employees as well as the target customers. Remote working, albeit with their limitations, is a revolutionary step towards allocating professionals from around the globe to work together for a common goal. Remote working makes it possible for a freelance designer located in the Alps to work on a project in Mumbai. Remote working makes it possible to spend your weekdays with your family and work in your pajamas.
Many of the issues sprouting from positioning a remote work system can be solved by giving priority to frequent and consistent communication, managing flexibility and ensuring employees have the right software and equipment. So, before closing doors to remote work, embrace the possibility of it.