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The truth about remote working...

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 month ago
  • Author:by Katie Ashenhurst

​Remote work has emerged as a transformative force in the professional world. We can't deny it, remote working can be incredible. Offering flexibility, cost savings, and environmental benefits, it's no wonder that many employees and employers alike have embraced this new way of working. However, amidst the accolades, it's essential to acknowledge the challenges that come hand in hand with remote work.

The Benefits

The perks of remote work are undeniable. Employees relish the flexibility to design their workday around personal commitments, eliminating the need for lengthy commutes and allowing for a more balanced lifestyle. From the employer's perspective, remote work can lead to significant cost savings by reducing overhead expenses associated with maintaining physical office spaces. Moreover, the environmental impact of commuting is mitigated, contributing to sustainability efforts — a win-win situation for all.

The Challenges

Yet, despite its numerous advantages, remote work isn't without its share of drawbacks. It's crucial to confront these challenges head-on to ensure a successful transition to remote work for both individuals and organisations.

Maintaining Work-life Balance

Unsurprisingly, maintaining work-life balance emerged as a primary concern for many individuals. 34% of our own survey participants highlighted this as their biggest challenge. Juggling professional responsibilities with personal commitments within the confines of a home environment may, in some cases, blur the boundaries between work and leisure, leading to burnout and decreased productivity.

Maintaining Work-life Balance Tips
  • Establish clear boundaries: Set specific work hours and designate a dedicated workspace to create separation between work and personal life.

  • Take regular breaks: Incorporate short breaks throughout the day to recharge and prevent burnout.

  • Prioritise self-care: Make time for activities that promote physical and mental well-being, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies.

  • Communicate boundaries: Clearly communicate your availability to colleagues and clients to manage expectations and prevent work from encroaching on personal time.

Staying Motivated and Focused

Another notable concern highlighted by 19% of our network was the struggle to stay motivated and focused while working remotely. Without the structure and accountability provided by a traditional office setting, individuals may find it challenging to maintain their productivity levels and stay on task amidst distractions at home.

Staying Motivated and Focused
  • Create a routine: Establish a daily schedule that includes set times for work, breaks, and leisure activities to provide structure and consistency.

  • Set goals: Break down tasks into manageable goals and celebrate achievements to maintain momentum and motivation.

  • Minimise distractions: Identify and eliminate potential distractions in your environment, such as turning off notifications or creating a dedicated workspace.

  • Stay connected: Engage with colleagues regularly through virtual meetings, chats, or collaboration tools to foster a sense of accountability and camaraderie.

Communication and Collaboration

Communication and collaboration also emerged as significant pain points, with 37% of our survey participants citing this as their primary challenge. The absence of face-to-face interactions can hinder effective communication, leading to misunderstandings and feelings of isolation among team members.

Communication and Collaboration Tips
  • Utilise technology: Leverage communication and collaboration tools such as video calls, instant messaging, and project management platforms to facilitate seamless interaction with colleagues.

  • Establish communication norms: Define expectations around response times, meeting schedules, and preferred communication channels to ensure clarity and alignment within the team.

  • Foster open communication: Encourage team members to express ideas, concerns, and feedback openly to promote transparency and collaboration.

  • Schedule regular check-ins: Host virtual team meetings or one-on-one sessions to touch base, provide updates, and address any challenges or questions that arise.

Addressing Other Challenges

Try to identify specific challenges and take the time to identify to understand the unique obstacles you encounter in your remote work environment. Seek support by reaching out to colleagues, mentors, or support networks for guidance and advice on overcoming challenges. Be open to trying new approaches or techniques to address specific challenges and adapt based on what works best for you. Recognise that remote working in a dynamic process, and be willing to adjust your strategies and workflows as needed to overcome evolving challenges.

Employers need to play their part in supporting remote workforces by implementing policies and practices that promote work-life balance, foster motivation and focus, and facilitate seamless communication and collaboration.