Technological improvements and an increasingly online culture have culminated in work from home positions that can be a blessing to companies and workers alike. However, remote work requires an altogether different set of skills than a traditional, on site job, and the same is true of managing a remote workforce. Here are the tips that businesses and workers need to know about remote work.
Staying on Task
Working from home means that workers will be in a comfortable environment, and this has its ups and downs. Comfort can be instrumental in improving productivity to an extent, but the lack of direct oversight and structure can create some initial hurdles for employees. After all, in addition to a comfortable place, a worker’s home will be full of distractions and temptations. It can be difficult for stay at home employees to stay focused and motivated at first, but there are a few great ways to address this problem.
Time tracking software is a great place to start, because it helps employers ensure that they’re getting the work they’re paying for, and it helps workers focus on the task at hand by implementing the kind of structure that an office would ordinarily help to provide. Generally speaking, remote employees can improve their performance by replicating the traditional workplace within their home office in a few ways. For example, dressing for work instead of staying in your pajamas, for example, can trick your brain into feeling more like it’s time to work than if you’re still wearing basketball shorts. Likewise, a home office in and of itself can do a lot to make working from home feel more like work as you know it. Sitting at a desk for work instead of lounging on the sofa makes a world of difference.
Another caveat of working remotely or hiring remote workers is that communication becomes somewhat strained. The face to face communication you’d get from an on site staff is replaced with email correspondence, in most cases. This works well enough, but it requires a different kind of thinking for both parties involved. On the one hand, it gives each party a chance to take their time and compose the best possible message before sending it, but it also inherently creates a delay that wouldn’t be a factor at the office. Teleconferencing apps like Skype can help you fill in those gaps on special occasions by offering both parties some much needed instantaneous communication for rapid fire questions and answers in order to solve problems. Teleconferencing can also be used to, as the name implied, hold meetings with your staff at large regardless of distance.
An unexpected side effect of working remotely is that it can be easy for employees to feel isolated, and that can lead to a decline in morale and even mental health. This is due in large part to the fact that humans are naturally social animals, and the lack of human contact “at work” can be a difficult hurdle to cross. On the other hand, it might be a side of effect of the inevitable delay in correspondence and the sense that workers don’t have all of the necessary information for the tasks at hand. Lastly, this kind of isolation can occur because employees that don’t leave their home for work commonly get less overall fresh air and sunlight, creating a mental health issue as part of a larger physiological concern. Understanding these obstacles, and then overcoming them, is essential to finding success in a work from home job.
Giving employees the ability to work from home is ultimately a very good thing for a number of reasons. However, it may not seem like it at first, from both the perspective of the employer and the employee. There are numerous challenges associated with a newly remote workforce, but these tips can help you overcome the obstacles you’ll face when making the switch to remote work.