How to tackle the challenges of working from home
Working from home means no more soul-crushing commutes to work, co-workers loitering over your shoulder, or someone ‘accidentally’ mistaking your food for their own. Although remote working comes with many advantages for both organisations and professionals, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Figuring out how to stay on task in a new environment that doesn’t lend itself to productivity is becoming increasingly critical to achieving a successful remote experience. This blog lists some of the most common challenges when working remotely and how we can overcome them.
1. Communication challenges
Whilst working remotely, ongoing online communication among team members is key to achieving results. Organisations need to set clear communication protocols and meetings to facilitate a clear, fluid exchange between team members. Technologies that promote communication and collaboration such as Microsoft Teams or Slack are vital when working from home. Check out our blog comparing the two here.
As Microsoft partners and long-term advocates of Teams, we would recommend this platform as it makes communication and collaboration simple. Microsoft aims to keep teams connected while they work apart by making Microsoft Teams available to as many people as possible. Teams allows you to chat, meet, call, and collaborate all in one place. Best of all, the tech giant is offering smaller organisations the paid version of Teams for free for 6 months.
Here at ClerksWell, we’re big on Teams and have been using it well before the Covid-19 outbreak. So now it’s our time to shine. If you need help setting up your remote working facilities, please get in contact with our Account Director Danielle here.
The ClerksWell team hard at (remote) work
Whilst working from home may mean you avoid going to the coffee machine more than needed and other office interruptions, this does not even begin to compare to the interruptions and distractions faced when working from home. Whether it’s a delivery, a pet, or one of your kids demanding attention. Here are some helpful tips to help manage the interruptions:
Set up a kind of signal that lets others know you’re working and don’t want to be disturbed. Whether that be a do not disturb sign or a pair of big headphones (we don’t want a repeat of that BBC interview)
Give your children as much as possible to entertain them, as we all know schoolwork isn’t that fun. Also communicate with your significant other around workloads so you can both spend valuable time with your children.
And most importantly keep consistent working hours so your work becomes part of your family’s daily routine.
If you don’t have family members or friends with you when your working, you might experience the opposite problem: isolation. As a result of Covid-19 and lock down it may seem even harder to not feel isolated. The usual coping mechanisms of going on social breaks, working at a co-working space or coffee shops, or even joining a local group are now not possible.
However, people and groups have been finding innovative ways to socialise, host dinner parties and attend gigs. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do to avoid isolation whilst self-isolating:
Goose’s Quizzes has started doing live online sessions every night, with hundreds participating.
Online classes: Online book clubs with private WhatsApp groups forming to share reading lists, online cooking classes and free exercise classes run by most gym and fitness influencers.
People have also been downloading the free Google Chrome extension Netflix Party, which allows users to watch Netflix together.
4. Internet connectivity issues
With millions of people working from home on a regular or permanent basis, whether you’re an employee or running your own business, everyone relies heavily on broadband to get stuff done. Nothing makes remote workers shake in fear as much as an internet outage. One of the most common issues is a lack of reliable internet connection as a result of overloading broadband as whole households start working from home.
The best way to overcome this connectivity challenge and avoid delays in your work is to preemptively invest in a good global mobile interest service such as the well-known Skyroam or GlocalMe, for every team member. Or have a backup like a mobile hotspot device that allows for tethering when your internet falters.
5. Unplugging from work
While some people struggle with eliminating distractions and focusing on the task at hand, others have the opposite issue and find it hard to unplug at the end of the workday. Usually your day ends when everyone goes home, but with remote work it can be difficult to disconnect and step away from pending tasks.
A great way to help remote professionals to disconnect is to establish clear working hours, so you still stick to your usual 9-5 despite your new work environment. Designating a clear working space that is away from where you typically spend your free time allows you to switch off at the end of the day. Kate our Marketing Exec said she will “go on a nice walk, talk with my mates, put on some music and cook a meal from scratch” to help unplug from work.
Despite some challenges, remote work is very rewarding if you know how to handle these common issues. In fact, its predicted that Covid-19 could cause a permanent shift towards home working as employees don’t want to return to the office once restrictions are lifted. Remote is the future of work. If you want to learn more about WFH check out our blog here.
Remote work can present a great opportunity to make sure your organisations are running smoothly with effective communication and collaboration platforms in place. If you’re interested in how we can help by setting you set up on Microsoft Teams, please get in contact with us here.