As the phrase “unprecedented times” floated from email to email during COVID-19, many people used it as a buffer to transition into remote working. The modern workplace has changed almost entirely to allow for the safer option of working from home. Because a shift such as this one hasn’t occurred before on such a global scale, there is a real need for management and guidance in this new flexible work environment.
However, many supervisors are unaware of the obstacles that their employees face on a daily basis. Here’s what you need to know to help your employees:
Challenges of Remote Work
The pandemic led to an abrupt and unexpected shift in the workplace. To ensure a successful work-from-home situation, it’s important to be prepared and in tune with the demands and challenges that accompany remote work. Consider the following challenges:
- No In-Person interactions: Managers and employees were usually able to discuss and de-escalate any issues face-to-face. Now, however, many staff members worry that managers are not aware of their needs when working remotely and are therefore not offering sufficient support.
- Lack of Context: Talking and collaborating in-person is now replaced with email and flat interactions. Many times, co-workers can’t tell when someone is having a bad day, as they could if observing body language in the office. This could make tensions rise among employees.
- Home Distractions: In the office, gossipy cubicle neighbors or the smell of someone’s lunch were sometimes the biggest distractions. At home, however, household responsibilities are added to the mix. Instead of micromanaging, a manager should expect these distractions and trust the employee to use his or her time wisely.
- Social Isolation: The transition from working in an office full of people to working at home with a pet or roommate can take some time. Many employees spend all day cooped up inside, which can impact mental health. It might even result in anxiety and depression because workers are stripped from their normal social structure.
- Reduced Visibility: It can be difficult to feel seen and heard when working remotely. Remote staff doesn’t usually have the same opportunities to connect with or be noticed by leadership. Individualism may be overshadowed and lost in remote work.
To successfully manage a remote team, it may be a good idea to revise some of your in-person communication strategies to ensure the day-to-day success of company. However, most of the progress should come from trial and error, not forcing high productivity on staff that feels isolated and disconnected. Encourage meaningful work to maintain productivity, profitability and a positive work experience.
For more information, check out the accompanying resource. It shows a helpful checklist of management tips and informative statistics on why they are relevant.
AUTHOR BIO: Sara Drake is Director of Marketing for Advanced Resources, a talent solutions organization headquartered in Chicago. Drake, who has 15 years of experience in the industry, focuses on talent solutions through staffing, consulting and workforce solutions.
Infographic Provided by Advanced Resources