The pandemic has presented several new challenges in addition to school closures, death of loved ones, and economic hardships. Health protocols are implemented and we are advised—and even forced—to stay at home leading to social isolation.
With these challenges, companies resorted to online meetings and virtual training. According to a survey, 82 % of the employees who are working remotely complete their training beyond their working hours. Forty-five percent of them said that they were able to complete it because they truly enjoy the training.
That is very motivating to know. What is more encouraging is that it increases to 50% when we focus specifically on ages 35 and up. This only means that this age group is most engaged and fired up with training that their employers are presently providing.
1. Discuss the Common Challenges of Remote Working
However encouraging the data of training remotely, there are few setbacks that we can look into to improve more with the current feasible working set up.
By knowing the most common challenges of working remotely beforehand, we can create a training plan that is doable, practical, and more applicable in the present working setup. Here are the most common challenges in working remotely.
Lack of Transparency
Trust issues are quite obvious, especially among remote teams. When members are not thoroughly acquainted with one another this affects trust and unnecessary assumptions could happen.
Workplace transparency refers to the process by which information with regards to the company’s performance, sales and revenues, financial health are laid openly. This obviously includes the critical details of possible lay-offs, profit loss, and other negative factors that may affect the company is shared freely.
If companies cultivate a culture of transparency then their employees can opt to be more trusting and loyal thus as an effect they will joyfully fulfill their obligations to all their shareholders and valued customers.
In maintaining transparency one must also practice discretion by providing a safer online environment through authentication profiles while signing in virtual meetings.
Supervising mobile teams is obviously more challenging and entails a different approach. As a manager, one must strike the balance between overseeing and cultivating trust.
Remote supervisors must strive to motivate their mobile employees to reach utmost efficiency without the hassle of micromanaging–they must be accountable for their own actions.
Employees nowadays have to equip themselves in dealing with technical problems on their own.
Technical problems such as lagging internet connection, computer problems, router or modem malfunctions, internet service provider issues, malware and viruses, and many more.
Productivity is the most common work issue even in a normal face-to-face set-up. According to research, humans lose focus after 5-20 minutes and it takes 23 minutes to regain momentum.
So how do we maintain focus and be more productive despite minimal supervision in working remotely? Here are the general factors that contribute to low productivity.
- Distractions – You need to get rid of distractions. Distraction is a productivity killer. You will be surprised how much time you have spent in a single glance away from your tasks. Distractions do not only impede your own productivity, but they can also compromise your team’s performance or your companies general productivity. Distractions are more prevalent when you are working at home. There are countless opportunities when you are tempted to multitask or juggle professional tasks with personal chores. According to statistics, multitasking reduces productivity by up to 40%.
- Demotivation – Staying motivated is very challenging especially when there is no supervisor closely monitoring you. Without the presence of supervisors, team leaders, or anyone in charge. Pressures from an immediate supervisor can most likely push you to your limits and drive you to hit your targets.
- Screen fatigue – Most employees spend more time in front of the screen nowadays. You may strain your eyes and exhaust your body. Taking regular breaks to relax away from the screen is a lifesaver.
Several factors must be taken into consideration when you are dealing with communication issues.
- Personal preferences and needs for communication – Workers differ in their capacity and preference as to what is more necessary and practical in a remote setting. Some may prefer written communication while others may choose verbal, non-verbal, or visual.
- Language and cultural differences – Misunderstandings due to differences are inevitable in any workplace. Every person is unique. We differ in our personalities, cultural norms, and the limits of our tolerance that defines our flexibilities. Moreover, our family backgrounds and the way we are raised with the range of needs we have to pull us into a complicated interplay.
- Connectivity Issues – A lagging Internet connection is a great factor of miscommunication especially when the meeting is done asynchronously.
2. Specify Tools and Technical Requirements
For remote workers to function properly and hit their targets, they must be equipped with essential tools and be properly oriented with their technical requirements.
Avoid confusion and ensure that there is an alignment between what the company requires and the actual tools, resources, and technology that employees use in working remotely.
If the company can provide the technical needs of the workers, that would be great. If not, then you can guide your employees in creating a remote work setup that aligns well with your technical needs.
3. Set Proper Expectations
Communication is the key to be successful in working remotely. For managers or supervisors to give clear communication to their remote staff, they must set proper expectations. Instructions must be specified. They must not provide a set of instructions that will transform into a field of disarray. It will just make the working situation harder.
Remote workers must know the tiniest detail of what is expected of them. When they know better then they are more likely to deliver. They must know the specifics like what they have to do, the standard in accomplishing the tasks including the time element. To work remotely is to self supervise. One must know what they are accountable for so that both are in the same direction.
Specific goals that are agreeable on both sides are a perfect framework for gauging performance. When these goals are achieved, satisfaction is reached which serves as an inspiration to do more.
4. Lay Down Changes in Business Processes
In establishing transparency in working remotely, changes in business processes must be properly laid down and must be constantly shared with everyone.
Trust is earned in honesty and credibility.
When business leaders build trust and loyalty, they can rely on the employees no matter the distance.
5. Talk and Respond to Questions and Confusions
Responding to questions and sorting out confusing areas in instruction and expectations greatly help in establishing clear communication during remote work.
In responding to questions, the manager must specify a time to cater availability that will promote smooth communication and workflow most especially when workers are in different time zones.