In the workplace of today we connect with colleagues around the office via Slack and Skype and collaborate on documents in the cloud – so working remotely makes perfect sense. A 2017 Gallup survey found that one third of US workers spend 80 percent or more of their time working remotely, an increase on one quarter of workers who did the same in 2013.
However, there are some drawbacks to working remotely, notes Joyce Rosenberg in Inc. – before identifying four key challenges.
- Separation anxiety: Having both in-house and remote staff can create competing cultures. Remotely-located staff are all too aware of the office perks that they’re missing out on; and without good communication, information accrued by remote staff may never make it to the rest of the team. The solution is to ensure that communication channels remain open and to arrange in-person meetups whenever possible.
- Cabin fever: Working alone at home can do unusual things to staff morale – and at its worst can lead to depression. To give the team a feeling of community, make sure to stay in touch, perhaps incorporating video calls or occasional social events.
- Social disposition: Quite simply, remote working isn’t for everyone. Monitor productivity, and if staff can’t get anything done remotely then bring them back in-house.
- Team spirit: On business calls, people generally keep to the point. That means that remote staff are less likely to chat with one another about out-of-work topics and hence are less likely to build up camaraderie and real team spirit. At the same time, they’re less likely to take work conversations on a tangent, meaning points and observations may easily be missed. A solution can be to proactively encourage the sharing of ideas across platforms, to address the second point, and to coordinate regular meetups to create a sense of genuine community.
Image: Unsplash/Steinar Engeland