It seems that, in 2023, everything is set up for remote work. More and more employers are embracing it, and even companies that usually insist on on-site presence are more tolerant of hybrid workspaces.
This trend also seems to be picking up the pace. According to some estimates, roughly 26% of employees work remotely already. In other words, this is a trend that employers can no longer afford to ignore.
Sure, the tools enabling remote work are more sophisticated than ever, but this method is still imperfect. Here are some remote work challenges we are facing in 2023 that you should be aware of.
1. Efficient time-management
While remote monitoring platforms efficiently determine who is present and absent, this method is far from ideal. A lot of remote workers see it as invasive. Even working in an open office provides a greater level of privacy.
Without time management, however, things are even more difficult. Remote workers with deadlines instead of work hours monitored by software have the hardest time beating procrastination. They must finish the project but don’t have to start until 4 p.m. Some won’t start until 10 p.m., disrupting their day-night cycle and sleep schedule.
Overall, the best approach to this solution is using time-management apps. This doesn’t have to be company-mandated. Individual employees should be aware of the risks of procrastination in remote work. Therefore, they should pick up a tool to boost their productivity.
The reason why it’s so important that they do this on their own accord because, otherwise, they’ll still feel managerial pressure. This will build up natural resistance, reducing productivity and decreasing the company’s talent retention rate.
Communication is still a huge issue. Problems with network availability and connected worker software are more important than ever. Why? Because it’s no longer just a few tech-savvy individuals working from home but millions and millions of people.
You also need great remote access software. This way, your IT team will be able to help your technicians with ease.
The tools used for inter-office communication should not be Instagram or Facebook DMs. It probably shouldn’t even be Skype. Why? People use them privately, and if their friends and relatives start sending messages while they’re working, it will be hard not to look, especially if the communication occurs simultaneously with their work discourse.
So, ideally, you would have something like Slack for work and then just set it up to go offline/not disturb when you’re not working.
Also, you must pick the right sharing software and ensure that cybersecurity and encryption are decent enough.
3. Unplugging after work
When left to work whenever they want, some people work all day. This deteriorates their work-life balance, and it even hurts their productivity. Working from home for 15 hours per day is a bit misleading. It’s not like you’re focused all the time.
Without a time-management app, it’s hard to determine how much time you were working versus taking breaks, checking out YouTube and social media, etc.
Some people have no problem setting boundaries. They just put their notifications on snooze and go about their business. Others struggle with this. The biggest problem with remote work is that you’re always available, even when not in the office.
Not bothering people when they get home from the office is a common courtesy. The problem is that if people are not actually in the office, their coworkers might perceive this arrangement differently. As we’ve already said, the situation is not different; it’s just a perception. Still, it creates a practical problem.
There are a lot of remote workers who use the same device for fun and work. It’s hard to make this psychological transition when your personal and business lives are just one click away. Unplugging takes much effort.
4. Cultural differences and time zones
Because remote work has eliminated the need to hire a local workforce, cultural differences in remote workspaces have never been greater. While the internationalization of the modern workforce has many merits, it can sometimes be hard to establish corporate culture or company policies.
Another thing that’s hard to handle is the hiring process. While having more options is always good, many more factors must be considered. For instance:
- Should you hire a person with a slightly worse resume because they come from a place with a lower purchasing power parity?
- Should you hire a native speaker with inferior qualifications?
Then, there’s the issue of time zones. Organizing meetings or real-time collaboration can be difficult when your team is scattered across several time zones.
5. Lack of team spirit
While people are socializing more online, the truth is that it’s hard to develop the same type of connection in the digital world.
This will weaken your team unity and make it harder for your employees to develop loyalty to your brand. If they never see you, there’s not much difference in who’s sending checks from the other end of the globe.
There’s also the issue of loneliness. Working in a collective is a form of socialization. The absence of this can be serious to one’s mental state.
Sure, there are solutions to this problem. For instance, you could have more frequent meetings, some of which are meant exclusively for socialization. You could also switch up your team-building activities.
Instead of taking your team to paintball, why not play Call of Duty or CS: GO? In fact, so many amazing Co-Op video games may help you develop team unity in the direction you want it to go.
The last thing you need to understand is that these challenges are not easy to solve, but they have a solution. Sure, you have to invest some extra effort and be accommodating in areas where you don’t feel comfortable doing so, but the result is worth it. The challenges of the remote workplace are nothing compared to its benefits. So, if we want this working model to survive, we don’t have much choice.