Across industries employees are working remotely. Remote working indeed has many advantages however it also poses many challenges. When these challenges are met and overcome, it can make the whole experience of remote working much more productive and meaningful. Let’s see what these challenges are and how we can manage them:
Speed of Communication and Decision-Making: The face-to-face interaction with colleagues is certainly missed. In-person interaction enables faster response and decisions. Speed of communicating with team members decreases in a remote setup, which leads to more communication gaps and delays.
How to Manage: Use of Video conferencing technology, online meeting apps, office chat platforms and frequent follow-up sessions can facilitate communication and quick decision-making.
Team Building Events: In a remote working setup, activities that are essential for bonding with team members, take a back seat.
How to Manage: Engaging in virtual team based cultural events with families and web based learning and development sessions, can facilitate team building. Also, the organization should encourage informal interactions within teams like virtual coffee/ tea chats with colleagues and other celebrations.
Time Management: Depending upon the nature of your work, managing time in the home environment can be a challenge, especially for people with smaller kids.
How to Manage: It may be a good idea to use a time management app to help in managing timelines. Also, at the start of the day, writing down the most important/ urgent task that needs to be completed, by making a note of it and sticking it on your laptop or at your work area, helps to bring the focus onto that task, through the day.
No Boundary Between Office and Home: When working from home, it becomes difficult to maintain work-life balance. In a remote working setup, office work at times never ends, there is always some task or the other that needs to be done and the mind is consistently occupied with office matters.
How to Manage: Maintaining work-life balance is extremely essential in a remote working setup. It is important to have a designated time after which one has to consciously break from the office routine and enter into the ‘home state’. As one works from home, one needs to break the monotony and reactivate the mind too. It is important to have a creative outlet. Unleashing your creative side not only helps to enhance well-being but also enables better performance of tasks and increases productivity on the work front too. One can join online music /cooking /dance classes, depending on interest.
Maintaining Focus and Motivation: Not having to go to office on a day to day basis is indeed a boon, especially if you have to commute quite a distance for the same, amidst the heavy traffic jams. Yet in a home environment, keeping oneself motivated and focused, can be a challenge.
How to Manage: Let your day begin with some form of exercise - a walk or yoga and a few minutes of meditation. This can help to energise the day ahead and bring the much needed focus.
Environmental Constraints: One may experience physical constraints in the form of space issues or other distractions.
How to Manage: When it comes to space issues, it would be a good idea to identify a corner in your house and religiously work from that corner only. With regard to the other distractions, discussing with your family that you need to finish tasks or have meetings during certain times and would not like to be disturbed, could help in bringing more concentration in your work.
Technology Constraints: Bandwidth speed, internet drops and power cuts can interrupt the work routines.
How to Manage: Investing in power backup equipment like a UPS would help manage the breaks due to power cuts. Also, companies should encourage providing or reimbursement of high speed data packs to their employees.
To Sum Up
We have looked at seven of the most important challenges that one could face when working remotely. In spite of the above challenges, remote working can help to make people more productive as it gives them the flexibility and the freedom to work from their comfort environment. Hence, it is essential to identify which of these challenges you face and to try and manage the same. Some pointers in this regard are also highlighted above.
Effectively managing the challenges can go a long way in making remote working more rewarding for the individual as well as the organization.