According to Statista, in 2023, more than 12% of full-time employees work from home, whereas 28% work in a hybrid model—spending some days at home and some days in the office.
Remote work has been around for a while, but it grew exponentially during the recent pandemic. Many people realized that they could change their work arrangements.
Working from home has its benefits, such as:
- Better life and work balance
- Fewer costs, especially when it comes to commuting
- More Motivation
Having said that, remote work also has its downsides. Organizations have to consider the challenges and find ways to address them.
Below are 5 examples of obstacles that remote workers face. Let’s take a look at what they are and what are the best means to overcome them.
Ways to Overcome Obstacles For Remote Work
Following are the ways to overcome obstacles for remote work :
Communication is one of the standout issues. Imagine a situation where half the people are in-house and can communicate with one another in person, and another half is at home.
A team that is spread out across multiple locations will struggle to collaborate, particularly if it’s large.
Managers can do only so much to ensure the project is going smoothly. If having every member present physically is impossible, it’s best to make the most out of what is available.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools to keep everyone connected all the time. Messaging platforms like Slack, for instance. Video and audio conferencing software works, too.
The goal is to exchange information in real-time to avoid potential misunderstandings. Instead of sending emails that can take a while to respond, implement a strategy that encourages the usage of a communication platform.
In addition to having real-time conversations, such platforms also come with features that let you assign tasks and track progress.
2. Technical Difficulties
Technical difficulties are a nuisance regardless of whether you work from home or in-house. However, with the latter, you usually have someone dedicated to helping you out.
Not everyone is tech-savvy enough to identify and solve certain problems. For instance, if your Mac says disk is full but it isn’t, should you delete temporary storage, or would it be enough to just restart the device?
A quick search online can help with solving some issues, but tinkering with a work computer on your own doesn’t sound like the best idea. You might cause further damage.
For intricate technical difficulties, there’s no real option other than seeking professional help. At the very least, organizations should ensure that their workers can get in touch with tech support and have them arrive at home.
Or, as an alternative, refer to someone nearby who can take care of the problem. Ultimately, it’s about finding an efficient way to eliminate technical difficulties.
3. Productivity Tracking
Tracking productivity is harder without in-person supervision. Managers have a much clearer view of how everyone is doing when they interact with members personally rather than virtually.
Micromanaging and motivating in an office environment is also more convenient. Yet, if some team members work remotely, supervisors have no choice but to find different ways.
The solution for productivity tracking is pretty straightforward. Organizations need to implement productivity-tracking software.
Such tools enable employees to quickly checkmark and submit the progress. Real-time reports should give enough information for managers.
Time-tracking software is worth a shout as well. Employees can set up an environment that lets them track how much time they spend on different tasks. They can then compare their results with peers and look to improve.
4. Language Barriers and Cultural Differences
Remote work also means opportunities to outsource certain tasks. It leads to hiring people all over the world, resulting in a mix of cultural and language backgrounds within the team.
Collaboration can become tricky if someone fails to understand cultural differences and other nuances.
The language is the first thing to get right. If someone’s efficiency in English (or another language) is not up to par, it’s imperative to eliminate potential obstacles.
Native and prolific speakers have to be a bit patient and use simple language. Offering instructions in writing or a video recording goes a long way, too. Such instructions can be used as a reference multiple times, unlike a one-on-one conversation.
Respecting someone of their culture is another important consideration. It’s easy to say something wrong and offend another person.
HR has to be at the top of its game and take a proactive approach to address it by implementing company-wide educational means.
5. Unplugging After Work
A home is a place we associate with leisure. If you are stuck at home all the time, working and relaxing, it won’t take too long before you struggle to find peace.
Once switching off after a long day at work becomes increasingly difficult, you will start to question why you are working from home in the first place.
The solutions for this challenge depend on the type of work you do. If you can turn off your computer and smartphone with its notifications, you should have an easier time.
On the other hand, those who have to be on a constant alert due to the nature of their work will have trouble switching off.
One way to minimize the struggle is to finish everything you set out to do. Doing so means that you don’t have to worry about falling behind and catching up the next day.
Whenever there’s an opportunity to leave your home, do so to get away from it all. Finally, make sure that you get enough sleep so fatigue doesn’t get in the way of your work or when you want to dedicate some time to yourself.
To sum everything up, remote work is an attractive proposition as far as work arrangements go. Those who feel like their current setup is not satisfying should consider switching.
At the same time, it’s not a perfect model. Challenges present themselves to both workers and managers supervising remote teams.
By overcoming these challenges, you get to enjoy the benefits of working from the comfort of your home.