For the past six months, as the pandemic as upended workforces everywhere, we have been preaching the merits of modern business communications and how these tools can enable remote workers and dispersed teams to function effectively across different locations, devices and networks. But with every advance in technology there are drawbacks, and this month we wanted to explore some of the more challenging aspects of the remote working trend. Here are five of the biggest challenges we see unfolding as more and more companies turn to remote working as the new normal.
It’s one thing to perform the same job functions from home that you were already performing in person at the office. It’s a completely different thing, however, to learn or develop a new skill or capability on your own. Historically most on the job training has been person to person where senior team members coach up more junior members on how certain tasks are performed. When people can’t sit down together, or a junior employee can’t waive somebody over for help when they hit a road block, it becomes harder to onboard and integrate new employees into a company.
The lack of in-person time does not only affect new employees, but rather the entire company culture as a whole. Humans are social beings, and thrive on person to person interaction in breakout rooms, over lunch, passing in the halls, or through official or unofficial happy hours after work. When everyone is at home, these events and moments are impossible to replicate. A video happy hour simply isn’t the same. When employees have genuine relationships with each other it makes them more willing to help one another and better able to understand perspectives different from their own.
When the physical space of home and leisure is the same as the physical space of work, it becomes harder to separate the two spheres of life. Many companies are reporting that workers feel like they are always on call (thanks to modern business communications tools and apps) and are never able to break away mentally from the responsibilities of work. Potentially, this could create high levels of underlying stress and increase burnout.
In a related vein, many remote workers may have a difficult time focusing due to distractions in their home environment. This is especially true of parents who are facing a myriad of challenges around caring for and educating their children. But distractions come in many different forms, and other people struggle with web surfing, snacking or odd jobs around the house. Some workers are able to overcome distractions by using time management tools or designating a particular (preferably remote) room on the house for work.
While some remote workers feel distracted at home, the reverse may also be true. More and more people live by themselves, and work often serves as their primary community. When that community is taken away, or replaced with a less-satisfying remote version, these people feel isolated and report higher levels of depression and anxiety.
Altus is the premier service provider for Webex calling, video and collaboration, providing companies of all shapes and sizes with flexible and secure technologies that help employees and customers stay connected more easily. Simplify your business communications today. Visit www.altustechnology.com or call toll free 866.922.4001.