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Remote Working: Challenges and Solutions

18 December 2023

Not everything has been bad since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. While the pandemic wreaked havoc around the world, it also offered flexibility to the employees, something they would have never thought they'd ever get. Working from home was a perk unknown to many, but with COVID-19, work from home became the new normal, and there's no going back now, even after the pandemic is long over.

The remote work model has given various opportunities to both employees and employers and has benefited them in different ways, which is why most organizations are sticking to this model. Had it not been this way, the workplace dynamics would have returned to how they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, but that's nowhere to be seen.

There's a second side to every coin. While the remote working model seems all good, it isn't without its challenges. This model presents several challenges that hinder the process flow.

This blog post is all about what challenges the remote working model is associated with and some solutions that can help you pave your way around them.



Challenges of the Remote Working Model

All of us were so used to working under the same roof as our coworkers and bosses that working from home felt like it was an escape that we all needed but didn't know. It's already been nearly 2 years, and we're still trying to wrap our minds around the fact that we're actually working from the comfort of our home! Sometimes, working from home seems too good to be true, but we can't deny the fact that some days, we all wish we could go to the office.

The remote working model is associated with numerous challenges for both employees and employers, which often causes hiccups in the workflow.

Let's look at some of these challenges and how they affect employees and employers.



Challenges that Employees Face

Distractions

One of the biggest challenges employees face when working from home is the distractions, especially those who have children at home. Since working from home wasn't a common concept before the COVID-19 pandemic, not many people have separate home offices. They're using their dining table or kitchen counter as a makeshift workstation or are working from their bed, literally! Working with the entire family around isn't easy, to say the least. There are constant distractions from family. Your children may come screaming into your room while you're attending an online meeting, or your wife will turn on the blender while you're trying to focus on an important presentation. Distractions affect productivity and increase the risk of errors.

Discomfort

Another major challenge for employees who're working from home is discomfort. When you're working at the office, you've got a proper work desk and chair, but that's not the case at home. Sitting on the kitchen stool or dining chair for several hours isn't the most comfortable way to work. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also get painful. Working in uncomfortable conditions puts you at risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, which are characterized by symptoms like pain in the lower back, neck, and shoulders, to name a few. When you're uncomfortable (and in pain), you won't be able to focus entirely on your work, which will impact your productivity and efficiency adversely.

Resolving Technical Issues

If your laptop suddenly stops working or your official portal crashes for no apparent reason while working at the office, you can quickly go to the IT department and get the equipment checked and fixed. But that's not the case when you're working from home. Technical issues can range from minor software loading problems to bigger connectivity issues. Since you aren't at your office, it can take the IT department a while to diagnose and fix the problem. This can cause serious delays in your work.

Poor Work-Life Balance

Remote working has also disturbed the work-life balance for most people. Since you're working from home and aren't working every minute of your shift like you did at the office, your work takes longer to complete. Your bosses also expect you to be available after office hours. There's no fixed time for your work. It's like you've got to be available for work round the clock. This has started to affect mental health in many individuals.



Challenges that Employers Face

Staying Updated with Task Progress

When you're working at the office, your boss can ask you what's the status of a certain task on the go. They'll know what exactly you're up to. However, with the remote working model, it has become highly challenging for employers to closely check the progress of tasks, resulting in delays. An employer can't really call their employee every few minutes for updates because that’ll most certainly annoy and even stress the employee. Progress tracking is, therefore, one of the biggest challenges for employers who're operating on a remote working model.

Communication

As we said earlier, staying up to date wasn't difficult when everyone worked under the same roof. The managers could walk up to their teammates and check on their progress, and the teammates go up to their manager in case there is any confusion. Communication was much simpler and quicker. However, with most employees working from home, it has become a challenge to stay equally in touch with everyone. You've got to wait for your subordinate to get back to you at their convenience. You can't simply keep calling them for something you've got to discuss if they aren't responding immediately.

Ensuring Teamwork

If a team isn't working together efficiently, they won't be able to deliver the expected results. Teamwork makes dreams work is something that's absolutely true in every sense. Remote working has affected team bonding, and the teams aren't working together as well as they should. Employers have to face the challenge of finding ways to keep the teams working together efficiently so that the deliverables don't get affected.

Increased Risk of Security Breach

With employees working from home, the employer has to provide access to confidential databases to everyone. This puts the company's data at risk of getting breached. This is one of the most pressing challenges that employers haven't found a solid solution to yet!



How to Overcome Challenges Presented by Remote Working?

There's no denying the fact that remote working poses challenges for both employees and employers. It's not as easy as it looks from afar. However, most employers and employees have been able to work together to find solutions to most challenges which is why the remote working model is still running strong and is expected to become even more common in the future.

Let's have a look at some possible solutions to the challenges of remote working:

Design Designated Home Offices

The first and the most practical solution to most of the problems of employees and employers both is setting up a designated home office. A home office would mean fewer distractions for the employees. When the employees are able to focus on their work better, they'll be able to deliver higher-quality results. There will be less back and forth between the employee and employer to make corrections. Timely deliveries of high-quality work will mean better profits for the employer. Investing in a designated office space offers a win-win situation for both employees and employers.

Invest Ergonomic Furniture

Working in uncomfortable conditions puts employees at higher risk of developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders, which are associated with pain in the lower back, neck, and shoulders that can affect one's ability to work efficiently. The employer will have to bear the healthcare costs if an employee has work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Ergonomic furniture is a sure-shot solution to this problem. Ergonomic furniture like an ergonomic chair and workstation will ensure the employee is working in the correct posture and is at minimum risk of developing work-related health conditions. It'll also ensure that the employer doesn't have to bear high healthcare costs.

Set Up Effective Communication Channels

Communication is a challenge for employees and employers that results in delays in work. One way to address this challenge is to set up effective communication channels through which the workforce can stay connected to each other at all times. With effective communication channels in place, any confusion in the employee's part can be voiced directly to the employer, and the employer can respond then and there, pretty much like it would have been in case you were working from the office. It's only that you won't be physically interacting. Managers can conduct meetings, take follow-ups from their teams, and stay on top of their progress.

Closing Word

Remote working is as challenging as it's beneficial. The more effectively you can find solutions around the challenges, the more benefit you can get from the remote working model. The remote working model is here to stay because of its immense benefits to employees and employers. But as we said in the beginning, nothing can be perfect, and so is the case with remote working model.