What was once considered a ‘perk‘ is now becoming the new norm. Yes, you guessed it right; we’re talking about remote working – a concept that is fundamentally changing how organizations work and thrive. Today, global brands are rolling out mandatory "work-from-home" policies. Naturally, it makes sense to understand how to work remotely in an organic and effective manner.
Studies have found remote workers are more productive, healthier, and enjoy a more positive work-life balance. The benefits for workers and businesses alike are driving a workplace revolution. Remote workers have been found to take fewer days off sick, stay motivated for longer, stay in their jobs for longer and prioritize their freedom over wage increases.
While the benefits of operating as a 100% remote company are increasingly clear, making the transition can be challenging for organizations with a stable office-based team culture. While there are plenty of challenges leaders face when working with a remote team, there are also some simple solutions your organization can implement today to help. Here are the most pressing remote working pain points and how to tackle them.
Remote workers often can feel left out of the decision-making process and isolated from the organization. Employers often worry that remote workers will be less productive when in reality, any drop in efficiency is more likely due to their managers’ ineffective communication.
Ensuring your remote employees feel as critical to the organization as employees in the office is important and often overlooked. By ensuring there is a standard set of best practices when it comes to communication with remote employees, organizations can help prevent feelings of isolation. While the practices will vary by organization, small habits can have a major impact, including:
Ensuring that the employees calling into meetings have a chance to speak.
Requiring weekly one-on-one meetings via phone or video.
Having a process in place for communicating major decisions across the organization.
The inability to quickly collaborate face to face, get together to brainstorm ideas over a coffee, or organize and monitor your team’s workflow in person can be one of the hardest things to adjust to when everyone is working remotely. What works in an office may not work as well in a remote environment.
The proliferation of communications tools such as Slack and Zoom has made it much easier to keep everyone in your team connected, allow for real-time feedback and clarifications, and even replicate the "water cooler" chat of the office. But it’s still important to understand that the tone of digital messages can sometimes be misconstrued, so establishing a clear and open communications framework is key.
Distractions are another productivity killer that can turn remote working into a nightmare and compromise team progress. Distractions at home were the fourth most common problem reports in Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Working. Working from home isn’t technically remote working but this problem is equally common for me in both scenarios.
A workspace that helps you focus is the best way to block out distractions – something minimal, tidy, and practical. Ideally, this should be a separate room dedicated to work and nothing else. This isn’t somewhere you work and then later sleep or watch TV. This is where you come to spend your work hours and leave when the day’s job is done.
That takes care of the real-world distractions but you also have the digital distractions to take care of, such as social media, phone calls, or email notifications that grab your attention and bring progress to a halt.
4. Lack of Feedback
Every organization should have practices in place that ensure their employees are receiving real-time feedback. It can be through one-on-one meetings, team debriefs on projects, or one-off conversations that address anything pressing. Leaders need to ensure that all of their employees are aware of areas for improvement and ways they can actively and continuously expand their skill set.
By adopting company-wide best practices to ensure the workforce is making connections every day, organizations can ensure that every employee thrives.
5. Disconnecting from work
The ability to disconnect from work can be a huge challenge, especially because in this day and age we’re always connected. This can be even more difficult if you’re trying to get things done at home and you don’t have a dedicated workspace. Working from the kitchen table has its challenges when you have to clean up your stuff before every meal and the kids want to push the buttons on your laptop. Ideally, you’d have a home office setup where you could focus, close the door, and get work done. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, but there are things you can do to improve your environment.
When you’re working from home one of the biggest challenges is not to let your work life melt into your home life. This type of multitasking is never productive. Technology definitely adds a level of convenience to our lives, but learning to disconnect from work is a necessity.
Remote working brings a lot of potential benefits to the table but you’re never going to get to a point where you can enjoy these unless you achieve a level of productivity and discipline that helps achieve a work-life balance. There’s not much point in working remotely if your job starts eating into your personal life and vice versa.
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