Remote work has been practice utilized by big companies; benefits attached to this practice are numerous. Remote work allows employees to have more flexible working hours and able to have a balance between work and life. However, there are some serious challenges as there are many benefits to remote work. This guide will help you solve common remote work challenges.
Time Zone Differences
One of the crucial factors that require great attention for running a team of remote workers is communication. Communication keeps the team focus on achieving its time-bound goals. It is the keystone of a dynamic small team. When employees in a team are working in different time zones, it is more likely communication of information is disrupted and derail the team spirit. Since video call becomes less frequent, the information link is broken, approved projects will come to hold.
Thanks to advancements in technology, this problem can be solved with asynchronous communication. This means that if a problem arises for an employee working remotely, it can be solved by syncing up their time with someone they need to converse for a couple of minutes or dropping messages through email or Slack.
Also, it is crucial to have a central storage system where all individual tasks can be stored. This allows team members to know which work has been done and the ones that yet to be executed. If there is a task that requires collaboration between team members, it becomes easy to schedule a convenient meeting for everyone. There are many project management software where you log in and see what team members have done.
Due to the global COVID-19 crisis, remote work has gone for being an external support force to norms; therefore, it has become a priority. However, adapting to this new lifestyle has been difficult for most of us. Like managers, some top employees are still having a hard time overcoming challenges associated with operational efficiencies such as remote collaborations and individual work inputs. Getting your team to collaborate becomes difficult. When physical distancing comes to play, challenges become a burden on a whole different level.
What is the way out?
The first thing you need to do is ensure your remote team is working with the right tools. This helps to get every member on board.
The common concern for managers when it comes to remote work is availability. Since we know that a flexible schedule is one of the benefits of working remotely, it might not be workable for your teams. Clearly defining schedules is vital to attaining excellent efficiency and smooth team collaboration.
There is an absence of voice tone and body language when communicating through texts, emails, and local messaging tools; the message might not be adequately interpreted. This can result in daily errors or mistakes that can affect the execution of projects. It is vital that everyone on the team understood the tasks before them and deliver as appropriate.
Tracking Time and Optimizing Productivity
When it comes to tracking time and optimizing productivity, working remotely doesn't seem problematic. However, it becomes serious when an undisciplined employee can monitor his working hour concerning tasks executed.
When project deliveries are not meant at the appropriate time, productivity will be significantly reduced. Managers can use many tracking tools, such as TimeCamp and Jira, to track remote workers' activities.
On the other hand, it helps employees consider all other home duties, such as cleaning and washing, before facing your profession. These tools allow employees to create to-do lists and develop some time mapping strategies to manage time and enhance productivity.
Client and Data Security
One of the reasons why remote work is considered as an advantage is location flexibility. As more companies are getting involved in telecommunication, client and data security have become a significant concern, especially during this pandemic. When employees connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks or workers carrying confidential information in the form of papers to public places, with this, it is essential companies put into consideration security threats related to remote work.
Organizations should instruct managers on educating their team members about data security and how it is their responsibility to protect it. They need to enact laws and ethics that will strengthen data security.
Establishing a cybersecurity policy is the first step toward strong data security. The policy should enforce recruits and existing employees to review and sign the policy regardless of their work state. The policy document should entail the reasons why the policy is enacted into the company's law, and information about all the various security protocols workers are expected to follow.
One way to solve data threat is through the use of a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs automatically encrypt the employee's internal traffic and track any form of bug when using public Wi-Fi networks, therefore protecting essential data.
Another way to protect a company’s confidential information is through the use of passwords and secret pin. Employees should be educated on creating a strong password and developing a pattern that provides strong variable passwords for security purposes.
For regular internal employees, there is a clear boundary between professional and personal lives. However, remote workers find it difficult to separate their profession from their personal lives because of work flexibility. Most remote workers have found themselves to develop a lifestyle that multitasks; that is, coping with work and family issues simultaneously. This could have an adverse effect on your productivity, causing stress that might require medical attention.
Developing a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance while working remotely can be difficult. It is hard to concentrate on work when you are unsettled with home tasks and make you feel like you are being dangled around all day.
A great way to overcome this is to create a fixed work plan and stick to it. You can quickly lower stress levels and enhance productivity when you develop a regular and consistent schedule. This helps to organize your daily activities and execute them one after the other.
Also, you can create a mini-space within your home for work. This will help you create a boundary between where you work and where you live and attend to family matters. The pandemic has mold a lifestyle that made our personal and professional lives interconnected such that we can hardly differentiate between the two.
Now that everyone is following the social distancing law, you may not be able to connect to friends as you use to do before-this has become the new normal. You can always find time to catch up with them through calls, video chat, and a virtual meeting a colleague through one of the social tools.