5 Most Common Challenges Of Working Remotely
Remote working can be successful for many but doesn’t come without its challenges. Learn about the most common challenges that employees face with remote work.
Most employees may have shown enthusiasm and have continued to stay productive while working remotely from home. However, both during and before the COVID-19 pandemic, not all employees have adapted easily to this working situation. There are 5 main reasons for this.
As an employer, it is important to be aware of the challenges that your employees could be facing while they are working remotely. This will give you a better sense of how they are coping and what actions you can put in place to ensure that your employees are feeling supported during this time.
Even with work-from-home environments, it is up to the employer to create a thriving workplace culture.
The Reality Of Working From Home: It Can Be Tough
Telecommuting seems to be the perfect arrangement for many employees in dozens of industries. And, for the most part, it is.
Companies that support remote work often report higher levels of:
– Employee engagement
– Reduced turnover
– Increased productivity
– Job satisfaction.
Despite all of these positives, working from home can bring with it some unforeseen obstacles.
It can create a substantial blurred line between work and personal lives. It also means having to juggle factors that just don’t exist within the office environment.
Each employee’s living situation is different and requires a degree of flexibility and understanding on behalf of the employer.
It is not possible to assume that all employees will be able to work the same hours. You expect the same employee flexibility: some cannot just drop a task immediately in order to attend a last-minute meeting. What happens when your employees are also juggling childcare responsibilities?
As a business owner, you must also recognize the mental and emotional drawbacks that remote work can cause. This includes:
– Employee burnout
– Feelings of isolation and being left out.
Recognizing these struggles can help you empathize more with each employee’s individual situation. This will allow you to discover which of their needs aren’t being met.
Top 5 Challenges Of Remote Work
While in the majority of situations, remote work is successful. This is proven with at least 59% of workers feeling confident that they are meeting job requirements according to a Gallup report. However, this isn’t to say it’s all puppies and rainbows.
Below, we discuss the five most common challenges that remote workers may face when telecommuting.
Many managers in the past have been hesitant to support working remotely in fear that employees would slack off without someone overseeing them in-person. But the opposite tends to be the reality.
When your work life and personal life are taking place under the same roof, many employees struggle to draw a hard line of when work should stop or forget to take a break altogether. Work is infinite – there is always something to be solved but without a dedicated workplace environment it can be harder for people to leave their work behind in the office.
Business leaders and managers can also fall victim to the bad habit of thinking that because an employee no longer has to deal with commutes or in-office meetings that they have more time to work on extra tasks. This isn’t the case and can be a leading cause of employee burnout.
During COVID-19, many companies will have become familiar with conducting video meetings over platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Workers will also have become used to special guests appearing in these meetings from time to time either in the form of a young child, a coworker’s spouse or a furry companion.
While interruptions can happen in the office space, they also happen at home. Working remotely means that your employees will have to deal with distractions such as their young child that doesn’t understand your employee is more than just their parent. Or unexpected fire drills in their apartment block. These can all knock your employee’s focus and impact their productivity.
Loneliness And Isolation
Another challenge of working remotely is combating feelings of loneliness, isolation and cabin fever. If your employees live by themselves, lack of social interaction on a daily basis can be harmful to their mental wellbeing. Even with tools like Slack, feelings of cabin fever can creep in from being in one place for too long.
This is often considered a double-edged sword when it comes to telecommuting. On the one hand, it can be extremely beneficial for productivity. While on the other, constant isolation can become a distraction in itself.
Communication in the remote team can be a challenge for leaders and employees alike. It requires extra effort especially as the written word can be easily misinterpreted or misconstrued. Not being able to communicate in-person means many employees are missing out on vital verbal and nonverbal cues that are essential for making sure everyone is on the same page.
Additionally, those team members who work remotely full-time often note feeling left out or feeling invisible to management. They miss overheard discussions and “watercooler” meetings and can often feel that they aren’t being included as part of the team. Out of sight, out of mind is a very common feeling for some remote workers.
Bad Health Habits
As an employer, you may also notice that some employees have fallen into bad health habits since they’ve transitioned to working remotely. Not having to leave the house to commute to work coupled with overworking means that employees can become more sedentary and take less care of themselves.
Remote workers often can develop bad habits including overeating, not eating enough, failing to exercise and in some cases, skipping showers. This is especially true for those who have been struggling mentally during COVID-19. Regular job stress has been combined with financial uncertainty and increased levels of anxiety which can lead to emotional burnout.
Solutions To Overcome Challenges: How You Can Support Employees
So, what can you as an employer do to support your employees when they are working remotely? The main objective is to create a healthy workplace culture regardless of whether your team is in the office or not.
Next, you need to prioritize open and transparent communication with your employees. When your team is working from home, it is harder to tell when an employee is stressed out or struggling. By encouraging your employees to be honest about the challenges they’re facing, you can support them more effectively and boost employee productivity by giving them the flexibility, time resources or tools they need to manage their job in their home environment.
Here at the Training Company, we offer companies a Working Remotely Course Bundle that covers topics such as time management, everyday ergonomics, smart health and stress management. All of our courses are accessible online. Your employees can learn anywhere and at any time.
We are also able to build out learning plans specific to the needs of your business and employees.
Discover why we are one of the top training companies in Canada for SMBs. Reach out to our team today!