How To Overcome IT Challenges In A Remote Workplace
What was once a rare and innovative strategy reserved for the tech companies, having a remote work setup is no longer an unconventional business practice.
In 2019, a workplace survey revealed that three out of four workers around the globe consider flexible working as the ‘new normal.’ Shortly after, the COVID-19 pandemic came, spurring even more organizations to adopt a remote workplace to survive.
A remote workplace offers a few key advantages, from flexible schedules and lower overheads to reducing employee commuting expenses and increasing their productivity. However, it also brings obvious disadvantages and challenges that, if unacknowledged and unaddressed, can have damaging consequences for your business.
Here are some of the biggest challenges of remote work and how you can overcome them.
Communication And Collaboration Issues
Face-to-face communication is considered a ‘high-bandwidth’ option since this setup allows people to send and receive the greatest amount of information in a given time period. This is possible due to the ability to incorporate non-verbal cues that allow more efficient communication.
That said, having a remote working setup means that your team will have to rely heavily on low-bandwidth communication methods such as chat, email, and video calls, which makes it harder to communicate and collaborate with team members.
Furthermore, remote communication is asynchronous, meaning that communication is not necessarily happening in real-time. Compared to face-to-face interaction, remote communication often results in delayed responses and other interruptions.
However, technology has come a long way to help resolve this challenge. Video meetings have become the standard communication platform for remote teams, minimizing the disadvantages of not having a face-to-face conversation.
It is important that your business uses the best technology available to facilitate communication and collaboration with your team. For larger organizations, you can choose managed communication solutions or a completely remote working IT solution that allows your team to work on any device, anywhere at any time.
If you’re looking for a reliable remote work solution provider, consider options like Kaine Mathrick Tech and learn more here.
Security is one of the more subtle, yet biggest challenges of working remotely. Since personnel work using their personal devices, your setup has more security risks in the form of unsecured devices, some of which can potentially jeopardize your business.
Remote workers who feel idle at home tend to seek out alternative workspaces in parks, local cafes, libraries, and more. These new environments can increase the likelihood of your remote employee connecting to an insecure network.
You can’t order your employee to stop lounging on the closest coffee shop when they feel suffocated at home, but there are other ways to mitigate security risks when working outside of their home.
- Install Antivirus Software
Cybercriminals often use malicious software and links to gain access to personal information. Providing personnel with antivirus software for their devices can help prevent malware and viruses from infecting your employees’ computers and data.
- Use VPNs
Short for Virtual Private Networks, VPNs hide your IP address and location and encrypt your data. This is suitable if your employees usually use public networks.
- Device Trackers
If an employees’ personal device is stolen or lost, a device tracker can help locate or remotely wipe data stored in the device. This way, you don’t have to worry about private business data falling into the wrong hands.
Working Too Much
Most managers don’t approve of remote work because they think that employees will slack off without if not personally supervised. However, it’s far from the truth. In fact, remote workers are more likely to overwork themselves.
With no need commute or even the need to be in an office-like environment, it’s difficult to separate work and personal life, making it more difficult for employees to ‘switch off.’
An employee working remotely can chat with co-workers, check work emails, or do work anytime they can. As a result, it’s very likely for them keep on working into the night, well past the time they are expected to finish up. It’s also difficult to remember to take breaks. If this goes on, your employees are more likely to experience burnout.
To overcome this challenge, there are a few things your employees can do:
- Setting A Dedicated Office Space
You can encourage your employees to create a dedicated office space in their homes. Or, if possible, they can go somewhere else such as a coffee shop or library. This can help create clearer boundaries between personal life and work.
- Reminders and Appointments
Remote team members can avoid overworking by setting up calendar appointments for the start and end of the day. Also, they should plan and use recurring reminders for taking a break.
- Have a Clear Sign-Off Time
Remote employees should have a clear sign-off time and actually leave and shut down their computers. Also, managers shouldn’t try to extend their team’s workload beyond even for just a few minutes. It’s recommended that employees also turn off notifications on their computers and phone so that they are not pulled back into work after hours.
When working from home, employees can avoid interruptions, like co-workers dropping by their desk to chat. However, a remote work environment also has its own set of interruptions that can reduce your productivity— from the delivery man requiring a signature to house pets asking for food or attention. Soon, a 20-minute break can turn into two hours of doing tasks unrelated to work.
To overcome this challenge, it is recommended that remote workers find a quiet space in their home for working. If possible, have the doors closed and ask those you live with to not interrupt you, except for emergencies. For employees with young kids, it is recommended to get childcare services, unless you plan to work only when they are asleep. If concentrating at home is difficult, employees should consider going out and work out in a co-working space.
And there you have it! These are just some of the challenges that come with working at home. And whether you like it or not, remote work is here to stay.
Thus, remote employees, team managers, freelancers, and business owners should start taking note of the challenges that come with remote work and find ways to resolve these issues. This way, your team can keep up with work productivity and reduce the risk of burnout.