Deal with these issues to make remote working productive

Being able to connect with colleagues through instant messaging and to collaborate on documents in the cloud has made remote working an option for more of us than ever. However, we need to plan around the downsides to make it productive.

A recent American survey found that 20% of Americas do 100% of their work remotely – and we’re following the trend in the UK. There are some drawbacks to working remotely, though – business reporter Joyce Rosenberg identified four key challenges for us to overcome.

Separation anxiety: Having in-house and remote staff can create competing cultures as if they’re two separate teams. Remotely-located staff know they’re sacrificing office perks and without good communication, things that remote staff learn may never get to the rest of the team. Work at setting up open communication channels and to arrange some face-to-face meetings.

Cabin fever: Working alone can have a negative effect on morale and can even lead to depression. Give the team a feeling of community – try incorporating video calls and occasional social events.

Social disposition: Remote working isn’t for everyone. Monitor remote workers’ productivity and if people can’t get anything done remotely, think about bringing them back to the office.

Team spirit: On business calls, people generally keep to business, so remote staff miss out on the small talk and personal conversations that help them build rapport and a sense of belonging. They’re also less likely to take work conversations on a tangent – which sounds productive, but ideas and observations that materialise in real-life interactions may never come up. Encourage people to share ideas across platforms, to address the second point and to coordinate regular face-time and create a sense of genuine community.

Four cons of Working From Home

Image: Unsplash/Steinar Engeland

If you’d like to learn more ways to make your team more productive and motivated, try Liton Ali’s productivity and time management workshop at Henshall Centre.

Time management and productivity course