Today we are familiar with remote work as never before, especially due to global pandemic. In research, conducted in 2020, 88% of responding companies stated that they were obliged to transfer their workers to telecommuting. While remote jobs are mainly beneficial both for employees and businesses, there are still several issues associated with it.
The main challenges in remote work for employees
1. Communication problems
A variety of applications allows us to hold video conferences and contact a person wherever he\she is now without any face-to-face meetings. However, it is not always easy to stay connected with everyone working remotely. This leads to problems in collaboration and a reduction in the company`s performance. Without permanently dealing with coworkers personally, team members can also feel isolated.
To deal with this issue companies need to use communication tools, where their employees can easily interact on an instant and flexible basis. Socialization of co-workers becomes possible via regular online meetings and team building events. When hiring new people, HRs also should pay attention to their soft skills, so they are able to collaborate with others.
2. Problems in Project Management
Globalization has shown us that we don`t always need to think local, we actually can find the best employee or company in another part of the world. Though, different time zones and distances are causing difficulties for remote team management. Here we have a problem in the control of meeting deadlines, tracking progress, and individual task performance without employees` physical presence.
Proper software, such as a data driven dashboard, can help to track the time workers spend on their assignments and show project progression. It also helps to create schedules and prescribe tasks. Using cloud-based apps managers can drastically improve situations, as well as distraction-limiting tools.
3. Barriers for creativity and innovation
Sometimes, colleagues, who cannot be at the same place, cannot share the same creative energy. It becomes challenging to come up with new ideas if they are not appreciated immediately in person. Staff can really miss brainstorming sessions that existed in the office and were giving ground for innovations.
To get rid of such barriers, it is necessary to get rid of micromanaging tasks and give more trust and freedom to employees. It is actually important to provide good virtual team management by concentrating on the purpose of the project. If everyone shares the same goal, they will work on its fulfillment.
4. Visibility challenges
The main difference between in-office and remote work management is the failure to instantly approve a done job. It seems impossible to know, how much time is actually spend on work. If a manager cannot see his people, he cannot be sure what exactly they are busy with at the moment.
Again, tracking apps will solve this problem. They will show the current progress of each employee and when the task was performed. These tools also enable simplified procedures of providing reports about work.
Remote workers have inhabited coffee shops and other spots with internet connections. But not all of them think about the safety of these networks. Visiting suspicious websites and using an unsecured connection may endanger all the data on the computer, including work files.
This issue can be solved by staff training and education in questions of cyber safety. The workforce must be familiar with the company`s requirements for the security of corporate information. Antiviruses are essential for this, as well as workers` common sense (tell them not to fall for clickbait traps)
In the last 20 years, technologies give us the opportunity to expand our resources and solve any task online. Nevertheless, we should consider the negative side of this. If employees are working at home using their own computers, they may experience a lack of means for task realization.
Remote workers need the right technologies. Companies can provide their staff with laptops, or at least give access to all software and tools. As a part of virtual team management, employers should reassure if their workforce is supplied with all job essentials.
By 2028 about 73% of departments will have remote employees. Hence, every industry must develop a new strategy to effectively virtually manage workers. Without proper remote work, management staff may feel unproductive and unmotivated or even experience burnout. It is possible to avoid or at least reduce the amount of issues with the right tools. Besides, to save a healthy work-life balance, people need to turn off their working apps when their shift is over. It is also on managers to consider cultural differences in the working ethic of employees from different countries. Patience and the ability for open dialogue are the main elements in successful remote team management.