Save time from the daily grind of commute. Be productive in the comfort of your home. Flexibility in terms of hours. No micro-managers breathing over your shoulder.
These, among others, have been at top of the list of the benefits of working from home which was eventually considered to be the better set up by some companies even afterlife resumed after the pandemic. However, the WFH setup does not come without its hiccups.
1. Getting Work Done
Of the many problems that come with remote work, getting work done seems to be of utmost importance. How can you manage a team that you can’t physically coordinate with? How can you track their work and meet deadlines? This can be a cause for worry especially if you’re a big company dealing with various accounts across the globe.
That being said, there are several ways to work with technology to aid in this possible area of conflict:
- Invest in powerful project management software that allows you to track the real-time progress of tasks along with features that allow for collaborative oversight.
- Equip everyone with the right programs and connection at home that is needed for their tasks to be done and delivered on time.
- Provide training in the usage of any software or platform both for project management and communication channels.
- Trust in the app’s feature of oversight to create a workplace culture that encourages productivity.
2. Together While Apart
When working remotely, working together might become challenging. This poses a bigger problem if you’re working across different time zones.
To address this, you can choose to do any or all of the following:
- Set guidelines for submitting tasks to ensure that deadlines are met without any confusion.
- Use a communication channel that allows each one to view online statuses so they can see who among the team they can talk to and who not to message during specific times.
- When talking to each other, keep things simple to avoid miscommunication, especially when your company is cross-cultural.
- Establish a healthy workplace culture that is inclusive or at least tolerant towards gender, race, political stands, religion, and other sensitive matters.
- Exemplify transparency of work without micromanaging so that people are encouraged to do the same.
- Set clear shared goals that make everyone in the team feel that they belong and are important.
- Train employees towards better communication as not all are adept at sending emails or replying through chats concisely and professionally.
3. Lessening Distractions
Distraction doesn’t just refer to your external space but also includes your virtual space. When you have too many tabs going on, you might realize that your space keeps you from being more productive.
Luckily, there are many practical ways you can go about addressing every single form of possible distraction there is:
- Accomplish one task at a time to lessen the chances of jumping from one task to another without finishing one in a single day.
- Practice working in short bursts and scheduling breaks only after a task is finished.
- Install tools that target distractions or limit you from opening them during work.
- Install an app that allows you to block off notifications while you’re at work.
- Manage the energy you spend more than the time you consume to finish a task so that you remain productive.
- If distractions come in the form of interruptions from those you are living with, you can set up a sign at home that lets them know when you are not to be disturbed.
- If you’re living with kids, you can train them to minimize noise during your work hours.
- This being said, it is important to still keep to a certain regular work schedule so that those you live with are aware of when you are working.
- If interruptions at home cannot be avoided, you can also go to your nearby library, café, or co-working space for a quiet, productive time.
4. Tech Fits
One of the biggest things you’ll probably miss when you shift to remote work is the accessibility of your IT staff. This gets removed in a remote working environment. The worst cases have even led to a security breach.
Here are some things you need to consider to avoid any hiccup or unintentional breaches to your network and your company:
- Ensure that you have a backup connection to the Internet in case of server problems.
- Invest in a backup device that has the programs you need to get the work done, just in case your primary device encounters a problem.
- Boost your tech team by either doubling their number or at least ensuring that every employee in the company can reach them 24/7 for assistance.
- Equip employees with necessary devices for video call troubleshooting with your tech team.
- Before approving a remote setup, ensure that those who will be working remotely are working on a device that’s been approved by your IT.
- Create the necessary security protocols that all remote employees should follow to avoid any breach.
- Finally, train your remote employees to be able to do basic troubleshooting and train your IT to develop excellent communication and support skills.
5. Balancing Instead of Juggling
Remote work’s biggest challenge appears when work and life are being juggled and are no longer balanced. This is a problem that greatly affects an employee’s motivation for work and more so, can do great damage to their mental health.
The work-life balance can be achieved through some practical measures:
- Have conversations across the team about what can help them stay motivated and consider what employees have to say.
- Encourage each other more, especially since you barely meet in person and there is a lack of face-to-face human interaction.
- Work on being healthy. The WFH setup might tempt you into a more sedentary lifestyle so put more effort into keeping a good exercise at home.
- Set boundaries with your productivity to avoid burnout and overworking. Set a task to finish in a day and keep to it. If you’re done, then avoid taking on more work just because you have the time to. Instead, remember that your energy is what needs to be managed more than your time.
- Follow a schedule. More than just setting yourself to work during weekdays, still follow a set time to take a short break in the morning, a lunch break, and a short break in the afternoon. This gives you time to temporarily breathe, catch up, eat, and restore energy.
- Clock out of work. The healthiest boundary you can create to ensure that you have a balance of being at work and still being at home is to strictly ensure that when your work hour ends for the day, you do not go back online to keep checking emails or notifications. The best part is that if you’re having a hard time doing this, there are also apps available for you to download or install that help manages notifications for this.
Working remotely still has more benefits than challenges which is why a lot of companies globally are permanently transitioning into this setup. The only thing you need to do is equip yourself and do the necessary precautionary measures so that you can make remote working work for you.
George Relish is the Editorial Director at Quidable. Before starting his work at Quidable, he was a bank auditor for more than 5 years. He is passionate about reading science fiction, travelling, and football