Without a doubt, working remotely has become a norm in the post-pandemic era. There is no dreadful commute; no supervisors or co-workers are looking over your shoulder, and there is no need to get up early to be ready for work. [Add Business leader perspective here– how remote work helps in cost-savings, happier employees etc. Also, working from home is amazing!
But everything nice comes at a cost. While remote work is becoming more common, there are still challenges, especially if you have a team of employees working remotely.
As per a United Nations Labour Organization report, employees who work outside the typical office are more productive, but they are also more likely to work longer hours at a faster pace, experience work-home interference, and, in some cases, experience higher levels of stress.
Working remotely, whether from home or another location, can be isolating, lead to ineffective time management, and present technical difficulties. So today, we have highlighted some of the challenging aspects of managing a WFH team along with solutions.
Your tech trips you up
Office technology is usually speedy and of high quality. Without active IT support, high-end equipment, and a reliable internet connection, one may frequently encounter problems at work. Similarly, if your team collaborates on projects and uses specific tools, you should ensure all your team members have access to those same tools.
How to address this?
Although it might seem like a minor problem, many remote employees have tried and failed to work from places where phone coverage and internet speeds are inadequate for the task. The most important step is to invest in high-quality technology, especially crucial office equipment like a strong router, extenders, and power backup. Employers can allocate a separate budget to ensure a seamless office-grade tech infrastructure at home for employees.
Team communication is patchy
Video calls are an effective strategy for one-to-one communication, although technical challenges and outages may leave employees in the dark. When the intended message is not successfully communicated across the team, miscommunication can occur. Remote teams that rely mostly on emails and chats are particularly prone to this issue.
How can this be addressed?
Using an efficient process can help in creating an efficient, error-free communication pathway. For instance, using channels on Slack for tech support and social media where employees can share ideas/report complaints that they might be facing at home. Moreover, using available communication channels, including voice calls, video meetings, emails and chats, can make the whole process more efficient. Use grammatical checks, for instance, before sending an email to prevent mistakes that can obstruct communication. A smart idea would be to choose the appropriate channel for a given situation.
As we discussed earlier, getting the right tools is crucial. Your business should choose which tools to employ based on your employee strength, frequency of communication and work culture. in addition to Skype, Slack, and Zoom, to make these alternate work arrangements successful. For instance, employees could use an internal messenger for direct communication. Ensure not to use too many tools as that can lead to scattered communication. Having an integrated communication tool helps – so whether you are broadcasting a message to everyone or want to discretely assign tasks to specific teams or people – you should be able to do so with one tool. Also, ensure this tool has an easy UI and can be operated from mobile- as that’s the most preferred device for quick communication these days.
Lack of a balanced work-life schedule
According to a study, telework elevates stress levels by disturbing work-life balance or increasing work-life conflict. Additionally, research demonstrates that those who work remotely frequently engage in overworking, which leads to an increase in working hours.
How can we address this?
With over a gazillion tools at disposal, employers can ensure that their WFH staff isn’t overworked through proper micromanagement and planning. Setting targets for employees at the beginning of the day through team meetings can help them plan their day better. Moreover, tools such as ASANA can help track the team’s daily activities, which can keep the staff motivated.
For employees they need to ensure that try to stick to a schedule. They have several alternatives for planning their daytime schedule. Furthermore, taking pauses as needed may be an excellent way to unwind. Setting reminders to step away from the desk is one method for achieving this.
Lack of leadership approachability
When working remotely, employees frequently feel a little lost because they cannot stroll over to a senior’s desk and ask for assistance. Team members can interact with paperwork, items, projects, and each other without any practical restrictions when they are in the same office.
However, since there is no physical presence, it can be difficult to follow individual efforts, and communication can be more difficult, especially for large teams and complex projects.
How do we handle this?
Effective communication is the first thing you need for distant collaboration. Email is simply inadequate for communicating with a remote workforce. You require an immediate, responsive, and flexible solution. Employers can have virtual meetings and group discussions where they can bring up the issues they face. Moreover, mentoring and reverse-mentoring (senior employees learn from the younger staff) to ensure the team remain coherent.
Moreover, employees can calendarize feedback loops that will help ensure you understand the issues and real-life challenges in existing processes so that they can be addressed in the long run Thankfully, there are tools available for practically every challenge a remote team manager might face. You will mostly require project management software to assign tasks and track progress. To this, there are a number of alternatives.
How Can iView Labs Help?
At iView Labs, we’re firmly convinced that technology, if leveraged well and when clubbed with well-thought processes, can provide a smooth remote working environment for both employees and businesses. This broadly fits with the core principle of the digitisation movement, in which technology should ease your life and allow free creative minds to reach new heights.
Rest assured that our team will continue to put our best foot forward to deliver an active, engaged and sustainable remote workforce. Want us to become a part of your growth journey? Get in touch today.