Recognising and Overcoming Challenges to Remote Working
Change has never been more prominent and relevant than it is now.
It affects every facet of our lives and the world around us; whether it’s in the form of a global health pandemic or a shift in the industry we are in, change is undoubtedly a challenging and ominous concept that many of us fear.
The recent pandemic has shone a light on the benefits of remote working which will become more and more prevalent as time goes on, making remote working skills essential for current and future leaders and managers.
How COVID-19 Has Changed the Way Teams Operate
There are many different types of teams within organisations in the modern workplace but recently, several patterns and trends have come to light.
Permanent teams, sitting all together in one place, are becoming less common practice.
Instead, we are seeing more matrix management, working groups, cross-functional approaches, project teams, teams with members who work remotely across national and international sights, and even fully-remote teams.
In 2020, we have seen a surge in the number of people working from home due to COVID-19 lockdown measures and it’s expected that home-working will play a huge part in the ‘new normal’.
But this comes with challenges and hurdles.
Top 3 Work-from-home Challenges
- Lack of Communication
Speaking face-to-face is one of the most common methods of communication at work as it’s quick and messages are easily understood. However, working from home eliminates our ability to communicate face-to-face, meaning that messages are more likely to be misinterpreted and communication often takes longer.
- Lack of Trust
Working from home can leave a lot of managers feeling nervous as it can be harder to manage employee performance and output remotely than it is face-to-face. This can lead to working relationships breaking down and managers can often fall into the trap of micromanaging their employees.
- Lack of Direction
Without a manager to motivate, guide and oversee them, employees who are working from home can be left feeling unmotivated and confused about what they should be doing and what goals they should be working towards.
3 Ways to Overcome the Challenges of Remote Working
The way organisations overcome challenges of remote working depends heavily on their industry, the size of the organisation, and their employees’ individual way of working.
However, it’s best practice for every team to include these three things in their work-from-home strategy:
- Variety of Communication Methods
Different people have different preferred methods of communication so it’s important to have a wide variety of communication options e.g. a Webex platform for employees who prefer to see the person they’re speaking, a messaging system such as Google Teams for employees who prefer to send a quick message to their co-workers.
- Care/Competence Matrix
It is essential that team members can be relied on and trusted to do what is asked, on time, and to the quality required. This requires trust between managers and their employees; a great way to build and maintain trust is to use the Care/Competence Matrix
- Structure and Clarity
Setting clear goals for teams is essential in keeping them on-track and aligning individuals to the same vision. This makes collaboration easier as everyone will have the same overall objectives, leading to a more smoothly-operating remote team.
The Bright Side of Remote Working
While remote working can bring a host of challenges, it also brings an abundance of benefits; it provides employees with new skills they may otherwise have never developed, it prepares them for any future crises that require remote working, and it encourages organisations to review, reconsider and improve their current management approach.
While it is important to acknowledge challenges and monitor any concerns, it’s equally as important to focus on the positives.
If you’d like to motivate your remote employees and bring the benefits of home-working to light, click here for an insightful article about the bright side of remote working that you can send to them.
“Train your mind to see the good in every situation”