Remote work has become the so-called “new normal” during the pandemic when offices had to close down to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. However, even before the current global public health crisis, the number of people who have been working from the comforts of their homes has been increasing.
The work-from-home setup has many benefits for both employees and employers. For employers, it means that the company no longer has to spend on overhead costs for a physical workspace. For employees, it means that they can have more control over their time and schedule while being able to save some money on commuting costs.
However, remote work also has its downsides. In addition to the common work problems faced by office workers such as lack of social interaction or difficult clients, there are still some other problems that can affect the productivity of employees who work from home.
If you want to overcome these potential hindrances, these tips might help.
Slow Internet Connection
This is a common problem, especially in developing countries. In offices, the employer provides internet connection. Because employers have a larger budget, they can choose the best internet solution that fits the workplace the best. Individuals, however, have no such luxury.
When internet connection is slow or down, productivity is badly affected. People cannot submit their outputs to their employers, and they cannot communicate to their bosses or clients. Therefore, there should be a plan in place for such instances.
Employees can begin their days, for example, by sending out all of their outputs and communicating with customers. They will only work on new tasks if there are no existing deadlines for these tasks yet or if the clients agree to a slight delay.
Employers should also consider providing their employees with a monthly allowance that they can spend on internet plans. This way, the employees will be able to choose the plan that suits their needs best without putting too much of a financial burden on their employer.
Offices are designed in – often – boring and colorless ways to reduce distractions and give employees a quiet working environment. But this is not the case for remote work. Houses are meant to be comfortable and look lived in. There will typically be television screens, household appliances, children, pets, and other people living in the house. All of these can be distractions for remote employees.
The best way to mitigate this problem is by scheduling working hours. Extending the workday to include nontraditional office times such as night or weekend can help employees focus better on their tasks at hand. Employees should also get any distractions such as household chores and errands done before working hours.
Additionally, employers should help employees optimize their workspace to prevent distractions at home. This includes providing comfortable workstations and decorations, ergonomic keyboards and mouse, and quick access to reference materials.
Not Enough Motivation
Although remote employees do not have the pressure of seeing their supervisors every day or overhearing conversations about them in the hallway, they can feel like they are less important to their companies. This lack of motivation can affect productivity as remote employees may think that nobody is watching them and nobody cares about their work
One of the best ways to solve this problem is by setting a schedule for check-in with supervisors on a weekly or monthly basis. For example, employers can send out an email every Monday morning asking their employees how they are doing. They can also provide incentives to employees who regularly submit quality work.
Non-Stop Working Hours
People who work from home find it more challenging to separate their professional and personal lives. They also tend to lose track of time. People end up working 24/7 without taking any time off for personal errands and self-care which leads to burnout.
This problem can be solved by staying active. Employees should find hobbies that they enjoy doing during their free time so they will not be tempted to work all the time. They can also plan a weekly schedule and stick to it. On days off, employees should schedule activities such as grocery shopping and cleaning the house.
Employers, on the other hand, should avoid sending messages on weekends and during meal breaks. They should also let employees know when they are available to be contacted and when it is best for them not to be disturbed.
Productivity doesn’t just happen. Plenty of factors can affect a person’s motivation, energy, and concentration throughout the day. Those who work from home face even more challenges that may impact their productivity. These tips could hopefully eliminate some problems that remote workers face.