7 Remote Working Challenges and Ways to Overcome Them
What are the biggest challenges of working remotely? What is the hardest part about working from home? How do you overcome challenges working remotely? How can you improve remote workers’ productivity?
Looking for answers to these questions? Keep reading.
Remote work saw a 91 percent increase in popularity over the last decade. However, despite its popularity, several remote working challenges remain unaddressed.
A recent United Nations International Labor Organization survey found that while employees are more productive when they work outside of conventional offices, they’re also more vulnerable to working longer hours with a more intense work pace, work-home interference, and greater stress.
So, here are the seven most common challenges of working from home and the best ways to overcome them.
Seven biggest challenges of working from home and ways to overcome them
Challenge: Lack of focus and consistencyStaying focused is one of the most prevalent challenges of working from home. While most remote workers prefer to work from home to escape workplace annoyances, household chores and other distractions may not let them work efficiently.
Solution: Prioritize team engagement
- First and foremost, ensure that your workforce is aligned with your company’s objective. Reassessing the goal of organizational operations can help remote workers connect with the company’s broad aims, and allow them to feel more content in their role.
- Incorporating daily or weekly yoga sessions can help reduce stress and boost concentration. Also, some studies show that meditation and yoga help improve engagement.
- People who exercise on workdays are 27 percent happier and more productive than their peers. Conducting general bodyweight exercises in virtual meetings can help remote workers stay active. So, try practicing some backbends and stretches with your team in the next meeting!
Related post: Three Best Practices for Managing a Remote Engineering Team
Challenge: Forced to give constant remindersConstant reminders from managers about results can be irritating. This is one of the reasons why remote work is so popular. Remote workers have the freedom to plan their work schedules and decide when to work on tasks.
Solution: Manage time and deliverables effectivelyIf you are worried about your employees being inefficient, several management tools can help address this problem. Asana or Trello’s user-friendly graphical interface makes use of cards to shift tasks from one stage of a project’s development to the next, making project deadlines easy to meet.
Challenge: Lack of proper feedbackWhen you cannot see your team in person, improving team spirit becomes one of the most challenging tasks of working remotely. One way to increase team morale and keep remote workers emotionally and mentally engaged in the company’s goals is to provide regular feedback. However, a study suggests that 44 percent of employers don’t provide proper feedback, and more than 30 percent of employers provide irregular feedback.
Solution: Plan your feedback calls and emails aheadContrary to popular belief, feedback doesn’t have to be bad. However, your criticism as an employer must be constructive.
So, if you want to create a collaborative and coherent workflow, incorporate comments into your remote staff’s work. Monthly emails about individual team members’ performance reviews are also important. Arranging casual monthly one-on-ones to check how they are doing can be a great way to boost employee engagement.
Challenge: Social isolationResearch shows that most remote employees feel lonely when the right engagement initiatives are not run by the company. However, keeping employees entertained, occupied, and connected can be tough.
Solution: Find out-of-the-box ways to boost remote workers’ moraleShow your remote workers that you value a good work-life balance, and that your company isn’t all work and no leisure. You can do this digitally through various social activities.
Many activities that would normally take place in person can also occur online. Virtual lunch breaks and multiplayer online games can be good ways to gel with the team members and cheer them up.
Celebrating team members’ birthdays and anniversaries can also help in maintaining team engagement. In addition, you can send gift cards, greeting cards, flowers, and chocolates to their homes to mark these special days memorable.
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Challenge: Temptations and procrastinationIt’s difficult to work efficiently when you have a million social media scrolls at your fingertips. While 70 percent of people believe that using a smartphone at work for personal purposes is unacceptable, more than half of them admit to doing so regardless.
Solution: Introduce proven productivity strategiesThis doesn’t mean that you should forbid your staff from using smartphones and set up surveillance to ensure that they strictly follow the regulations. Instead, teach your team how to stay on track with the right strategies and tools.
The Pomodoro timer, for example, is a time management technique that has grown in popularity over time. It encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it. This timer entails working in 25-minute sprints with five-minute rest periods in between and a longer pause after four sprints.
Challenge: Unsafe internet connection and unsecured dataWhen remote employees are bored at home, they seek alternate workstations in local cafes, parks, and libraries, among other places. Because of these new workspaces, your remote workers are more likely to connect to an unsafe network.
Solution: Use cloud storage and anti-virus softwareThere are a couple of procedures your team can deploy to reduce such security risks:
- Install antivirus software on all company devices.
- Use only a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to establish connections.
- Install device trackers and strong firewalls.
- Use cloud storage for keeping sensitive company information.
In most cases, malware will not be able to infect your computer or data if you use antivirus software.
Similarly, VPNs can mask your location, change your IP address, and encrypt your data. They are similar to a firewall that safeguards your computer’s data. In addition, device trackers can locate and disable the use of devices in case of emergencies.
Challenge: Lack of proper work-life balanceClosing the workday in a remote setting isn’t the same as moving away from your desk and leaving the office. It’s tough to set solid boundaries when the workday begins and finishes if there’s no physical indication of either.
Being an overachiever may appear appealing at first glance, but working too much is never healthy. Burnout can cause a physical and emotional feeling of tiredness. Remember, trying to push through this situation would only hurt your team’s performance.
Solution: Set priorities beforehandSetting priority tasks for the day can help remote workers avoid too much work. Discuss your high-priority tasks in daily syncs. Establishing output timelines clearly can help your remote team easily plan their work and breaks.
Related post: Three Communication Mistakes Hybrid Teams Must Avoid
Despite the difficulties mentioned above, remote work can be rewarding once you tackle the challenges mentioned above. If you stick it out, remote work can give you and your team freedom, autonomy, the opportunity to work in your ideal setting, and more time for a life outside work.
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- What are the biggest challenges of working remotely?
Here are the seven biggest challenges of working from home:
- Lack of focus and consistency
- Getting repetitive reminders
- Lack of proper feedback
- Social isolation
- Temptations and procrastination
- Unsafe internet connection and unsecured data
- Lack of proper work-life balance
- How do you overcome challenges working remotely?
Here are seven ways to overcome remote work challenges:
- Prioritize team engagement
- Manage time and deliverables effectively
- Plan your feedback calls and emails ahead
- Find out-of-the-box ways to boost remote workers’ morale
- Introduce proven productivity strategies
- Use cloud storage and anti-virus software
- Set priorities beforehand
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