The flexibility and ability to control what goes on in the busyness of modern-day life has created a vast appeal for Remote working conditions. Through the recent years, many companies have incorporated the option of working-from-home into their work policy to allow teams to work remotely once or twice a week. However, this pandemic has essentially forced the corporate world into remote work whether their organization was ready for it or not.
Although many of us working from home see the benefits of remote work, we are finding ourselves facing new and different difficulties under these same working conditions. After conducting interviews with various teams regarding their transition to remote work, we have noticed similarities in some of the pitfalls reported.
But fear not, here are some ways to tackle your work-from-home hurdles!
- Access to coworkers
Pitfall: Of the people surveyed, all of them agreed that not being able to walk over to a colleague’s desk whether it was to ask a work-related question or indulge in some water-cooler talk was a definite downfall to working remotely.
Solution: We are extremely fortunate to be living in the era of technology. Since the onset of the pandemic, the use of communication tools such as Slack (messenger) and Zoom (video conferencing) has exploded. Utilizing tools such as these allow employees to keep in constant contact with each other, and you!
- Different setup than the office
Pitfall: Working on a laptop at home in comparison to working with a desktop and two monitors in the office can be a shock to the system. Nevermind the lack of a mouse!
Solution: If your budget allows it, allowing your newly-remote employees to expense the items (within reason) needed to make their home office work for them is encouraged. You will see a greater return through productivity by doing so.
- Technical issues
Pitfall: VPN issues, program crashes, and internet malfunctions are only some of the technical issues that our group, and others, encounter when suddenly switching to working remotely.
Solution: Technical issues are inevitable, and quick responses are absolutely key. Making sure that your team has quick access (Slack makes this easy!) to Network Services ensures that these issues are just blips, not impediments to the completion of work.
- Unable to disconnect
Pitfall: Every one of the people surveyed agreed that not only were they spending more time working, but they found more difficulty in fully disconnecting at the end of their workday.
Solution: The best thing you can do is set expectations regarding availability (ex. Slack messages should be responded to within an hour between 9am-3pm, and honour them. Explicitly tell and repeatedly remind your employees that you encourage and expect them to disconnect at the end of their day and recharge.
Adjusting to remote work has not been an easy-breezy transition for all of us but there’s definitely comfort in knowing that many of the experiences with obstacles faced are shared. Though we have already found ourselves 8 months into this transition, there are still some things that will take some getting used to. It’s going to take time, effort, and maybe even an extra cup of coffee a day to get used to our new normal but acknowledging the downfalls and understanding where we can improve on them is a great start.