Struggling with the sudden shift to remote work? Read on…

These are testing times, and unfortunately for organizations, it is only going to be increasingly more complex as more countries move to shield set up necessities and impose limitations identified with the COVID-19 emergency.

This isn’t the time to “keep doing the same old”. Remote working is not a luxury or a lifestyle choice anymore, but a necessity. We realize that for some organizations, this might be their first experience of working from home for long durations. To help, we have penned this article to give you reasons why a remote workforce can be a blessing in disguise.

Positives of remote working:

1. Efficiency: During work from home, more work is completed in shorter time, so you accomplish more. People don’t need to drive to a physical office, they can work at the hours of day which work for them, they don’t get diverted by others, and they can self-propel themselves. The normal drive in certain urban areas is an entire hour, quite a while to sit in rush traffic and assemble disappointments. In fact, some studies show that remote workers in general go well beyond and work harder.

2. Greater availability of talent: Since there are no location constraints anymore, you can now hire people from anywhere in the world. With a remote workforce, you can get the best specialists, and you yourself can venture to the far corners of the planet while working.

3. Lower costs: Leasing office space is one of the top five costs for most businesses. With a fully remote workforce, you don’t need an office anymore. That leads to lower utility expenses as well. No more electric bills, recycling, disposing of papers, and more. Also, no need to restock the supply cabinet.

4. Healthier for everyone: There has been a great deal of research done on the negative impacts of working in a physical office, both on mental and physical well-being. These impacts can be diminished by working remotely. Not having to drive to work alone can allay hypertension and poor work environment mentalities. Remote workers are healthier and more joyful as a rule.

5. Higher loyalty: Remote workers are less likely to switch jobs because they of higher satisfaction levels. Having a remote workforce implies less attrition and worker turnover.

6. Higher focus: Since remote workers are flexible about their work times, they are more focused and have a superior work-life balance. They are more stimulated going into a work day.

7. Less pressure: As recently referenced, staying away from a long drive prompts lower feelings of anxiety. Individuals who telecommute can deal with their outstanding burden better and have an increasingly inspirational outlook.

9. Contribution to a greener planet: By having a remote workforce, a business has less carbon footprint. Employees aren’t emitting on their drives into the workplace, and you won’t need to keep the lights on of the entire office, just because that one person is working late on a project.

It’s not all rosy though. There are some serious challenges to remote working.

Being on a virtual team and working remotely can present unique challenges that aren’t faced by team members who are co-located, whether in another office location or at home. There are no managers or other teammates sitting nearby to consult with or provide immediate responses or support. Likewise, there’s no one looking over your shoulder, keeping you focused and on task. One of the challenges then, when working from home is managing the separation of work and personal time.

If there is no enforced 9-to-5 schedule, it can be hard to maintain a proper balance. Often, at-home workers end up either working too few hours, or conversely, putting in an unhealthy amount of overtime. It’s essential to put boundaries in place.

The trick is to stay productive and minimize distractions, as well as limiting the potential for over work and burnout. For many, creating a designated work area is key to separating work and home life. Your work space should have a clear physical boundary and your work should stay within that space. It should be a work area that’s not susceptible to disruptions. If you don’t have access to a suitable area at home, choose an appropriate external site, but one where you can avoid distractions.

Whether working from home or a distant office, all virtual team members face the challenge of dealing with lack of everyday face-to-face communication and the team spirit that attends it.

Working remotely, even in an otherwise busy office, can be isolating. Virtual teams miss out on the informal everyday interactions that co-located teams often take for granted. Things like chatting in the break room and discussing problems on a coffee run.

They miss out on nonverbal cues that indicate how their ideas and suggestions are being received. They can go days without contact, leading to feelings of isolation. And virtual employees who feel isolated are less likely to contribute to the team, eroding both team spirit and team trust. And this can be even more difficult by the challenges posed by cultural differences. Miscommunication can be rife in virtual teams, but even more so when the team spans different cultures. A message that seems succinct to a team member in one country may come across as rude to a colleague from a different culture.

Virtual leaders should recognize and capitalize on team diversity, perhaps building a team profile sharing each team member’s experience, expertise, and personal information. To minimize potential conflicts, virtual teams should agree on ground rules for interactions that align everyone’s expectations.

Ultimately, regular daily communication helps counter these challenges. Cultivating a strong one-to-one relationship with your team leader, and if possible, other teammates, helps mitigate them. It’s good for morale and team unity if all team members regularly communicate about their progress, and where possible, work together in partnerships.

In conclusion here are few tips for work from home, which will increase the efficiency for remote working:

•   Maintain Regular Hours

•   Create a morning schedule

•   Take scheduled breaks

•   Keep a committed office space

•   Use intelligent tech tools to ensure task management, productivity, and collaboration

•   “Show Up” to meetings and be heard

•   Look for Training Opportunities

•   Be positive

Written by:

Aliya Zaynab

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