Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, remote work wasn’t considered an option by traditional businesses. After the pandemic, however, companies were forced to face the task of learning to collaborate with their teams without the benefits of man-to-man meetings.
This obviously posed many challenges that business owners and employees have had to confront over the past year, having been used to work processes in an actual office. Small conveniences in working together under one roof that was previously taken for granted by organizations now had to be sacrificed.
Yet the challenges are not insurmountable. With every problem lies a solution, and all it takes is flexibility and openness to try new methods for overcoming these challenges. Here are the main remote work challenges encountered, and clear solutions that we can give on them:
Loss of High-bandwidth Communication:
One of the biggest downsides of remote work is the loss of face-to-face communication, which is considered a form of high-bandwidth communication, giving us the capacity to give and receive the greatest amount of information within a short time period, with the help of nonverbal cues which can also convey supplementary information. As companies turn more toward email and chat, information flow becomes more limited.
The only solution to this communication challenge would be to employ the use of online video conferencing, where issues can be addressed in real-time, much like in face-to-face meetings. There is an opportunity for impromptu Q and A’s, which are essential for everyone on the team to get clarity on the issues. These days, video conferencing tools enjoy higher bandwidths, which make them a very feasible reality indeed for remote collaborations.
Your remote team may also do well to ditch scheduled meetings and encourage ad hoc conversations (quick chats or video calls) instead, to resolve issues as they come up; rather than staff having to wait for the next scheduled meeting to get their questions addressed because the question only came up right after the previous meeting.
Loss of Incidental Knowledge Sharing
In the traditional office, we often overhear conversations or ask questions from co-workers during lunch or coffee breaks, regarding our tasks. A lot of this passive information flows through personal interactions, whose importance we can’t undermine, since often, this casual information sharing becomes the cause for sudden inspiration in new strategies and ideas.
We can also replicate these casual and impromptu conversations with our virtual team by providing a medium such as a chat room, solely devoted to any topic under the sun. Chatrooms like these allow employees to speak or ask freely about any subject (non-work-related perhaps, since it’s meant to be a socialization medium, but anyone is free to talk about work-related issues as well), even creating opportunities for more strongly-formed bonds amongst company employees despite physical disconnection.
Most bosses feel uncomfortable about their employees working remotely since they can’t see firsthand if their workers are actually being productive. Statistics have shown, however, that worker productivity has become higher amongst the remote workforce. This is actually due to the fact that working remotely is more time-flexible, blurring the lines for many workers between home and work responsibilities. While previously, workers could turn their backs on home responsibilities during their time in the workplace, this became impossible for many who were faced with these home situations daily. As a result, they’ve had to juggle exhaustingly between work and home needs. Additionally, with a virtual office being under the same roof as their homes, workers have tended to take on additional work tasks even outside their regular working hours. These factors may have resulted in more productivity; but they’ve also resulted in exhausted, overworked staff.
The only remedy to this tendency to overwork when you work virtually is to stick to a hard-set working schedule. This means no work outside of these hours; and no home responsibilities within the work hours. If you are a business owner, it’s good advice that you can give your team, so that you don’t get left with stressed-out employees at the end of the day.
These are just a couple of advice that we can give the newbies in remote working. As experts in outsourced operations, Ezy Outsourcing Hub has dealt with virtual teams and supported them in overcoming the same virtual challenges that you may be facing today. We can assure you, however, that remote work is the wave of the future, for its cost-effectiveness and ability to eradicate physical and geographical limitations; which means that you would be ahead of the game if you learned the ropes of virtual management now.
Over the years, we have been providing outsourced offshore services and manpower as well, so we know what it takes to handle operations remotely. If you need our support, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We can give you business solutions that you never thought possible.