COVID-19 has forced much of the world’s workforce to abandon offices and work from home, at least for the time being. Many have reported increased productivity or successful business continuity transitions. But lets face it, remote working is not a one-fits-all solution and it definitely is not for everybody.
There are some cases where a number of factors combine to make remote working untenable for businesses. However, like it or not, lots of businesses are going to have to work remotely at least till the end of this year. If remote work is not working for your team, it’s important to figure out why that is and how you can make it more productive.
There are a number of reasons why a team could be struggling to adapt to work from home. These can include:
- Lack of direction – Some employees may simply be lost without direction. These types of workers work best when under constant guidance and leadership, which remote working does not necessarily allow.
- Discomfort with virtual communication tools – Technology has come a long way, and video calls come with near-zero latency. Yet, some people do not feel comfortable attending meetings on Zoom or Skype. These workers might see themselves as less productive when not being physically close to the office.
- Work-life imbalance – With work and leisure blending together when remote working, it can become much harder to differentiate when personal time begins and ends. This can lead to lower productivity colleagues become unsure of when to contact their peers.
- Lack of comraderie – The real-world work setting has effective channels to de-stress and take your eyes off the computer. Consequently, remote employees, especially those who have joined your team only recently, feel a social disconnect with the people they are working with. This lack of social comraderies can thus result in less effective workers.
When workers are not under the same roof, a team can turn chaotic quickly. The first step to build a productive workforce is to establish a framework. Be sure to establish clear working hours. With the proper tools, a company can even setup a virtual calendar where team members can block certain hours of a day from meetings or calls. This can help cut down of distractions.
Additionally, the creation of an intranet portal could help increase remote working productivity greatly. If your business does not have one already, you should create an intranet portal that offers easy access to all the internal documents and third-party tools that the employee will need. Try adding features such as an app status screen so that users who have connectivity issues can quickly check downtime status without wasting time.
Going remote permanently can be tempting for business owners and employers. Of course, by going full remote working, you could potentially save thousands in office space leases and operational expenses. But you have to account for the downsides as well. As employees leave and new workers take their place, there would be very little face-to-face interaction. Social camaraderie will be impacted, which can affect workplace productivity as well.
There really is no magic solution to fix all the problem that remote working might cause. However, there is still time to experiment. Try out new solutions for new problem so that you can refine your remote working processes one step at a time. This will eventually make your business more effective as a remote setup in the long-run.