Challenges of Remote Working

By Steven Galvin - Last update


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Challenges of Remote Working: Among the many significant changes forced upon people by the pandemic has been the shift to remote working. Once considered “a privilege,” remote working is now considered “the new normal.” The home becoming the office would seem to be here to stay. Maybe not in a full-time capacity or for everyone – but for many, their futures are going to involve working from home in some shape or form.  

Studies have shown that, as a model, remote working has proved largely to be a success for both employees, citing lack of commute times, money saved amongst other positives, as major benefits and employers whose remote employees are being more productive. 

While that’s all well and good there is another side to remote working that needs to be dealt with if remote working is here to stay. A number of studies have been taken which have revealed the challenges many workers have faced in their new remote working roles. It is important that steps are taken to tackle such issues that workers have admitted to struggling with as they continue to work from home.

Here we take a look at four issues:

Challenges of Remote Working

Interference 

Many workers admit that they were struggling with hometowork interference and raised the issue of the negative spillover between work and home. Working at home means more interruptions from family, friends or flatmates, which could negatively influence work effectiveness. This is a particular problem when it comes to children, especially with schools being shut down during the COVID‐19 outbreak with many remote workers admitting to finding it a struggle to balance work and parental roles at home. 

Working Hours

Many workers also opened up about working outside traditional work hours and pointed to communications from work outside working these hours as an issue which often led to extra pressure and feelings of exhaustion. Many remote workers talked about feeling like they were “always online”, having to deal with emails and workloads outside of “office hours”. Workers felt that the fact that they were working remotely was being used as an invitation to contact them about work at any time, which many found stressful.

Communication

Remote workers rely heavily on the likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and managers. In reality, there is nothing that can improve upon face-to-face meetings. Both workers and managers complained of information slipping through the cracks with online communications methods. Certain projects that relied on clear communication were proving more difficult to deliver due to the inefficiency of online communication. A number of workers felt that in many cases poor communications resulted in lower productivity. 

Loneliness

Many workers made a point of finding the lack of social engagement a problem and spoke of missing the face‐to‐face interactions with colleagues. This in turn led to feelings of loneliness. Many remote workers cited loneliness as a challenge. There is a lack of connnection and distance experienced by remote workers that online‐mediated communications will never be a substitute for.

Remote working is here to stay. So it’s imperative that we make efforts now, while it is still in its infancy stage, to highlight these problems in an effort to raise awareness so that effective measures can be taken and put in place to alleviate them. By doing this we can work towards creating a working environment which best benefits employees and employers and allows them to carry out their duties and fulfill their responsibilities to the best of their abilities in a working environment that both works best for them and brings out the best in them.


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Steven Galvin

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