5 Common Problems With Remote Working

Remote working has risen in popularity over the past few years. What was once an exclusive perk, reserved for a small number of lucky professionals, is now commonplace across most sectors. Here we discuss five common problems with remote working:

#1 – Lack of employee engagement

Employee engagement is what drives productivity within your workforce. An unfortunate effect of remote working is its tendency to reduce engagement levels – leading to a lapse in productivity amongst employees.

Separation from the office environment, and their wider team, can often lead to employees feeling distanced from their responsibilities. It’s therefore important to ensure engagement levels are maintained when introducing a remote/hybrid working model.

This can be achieved by hosting regular video catch-ups with employees, and using company-wide surveys to identify key engagement challenges.

#2 – Reduction in teamwork and collaboration

‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ – everyone is familiar with the mantra promoting collaboration and group effort. Unfortunately, remote working models can reduce the quality of team collaboration within your workforce.

The lack of face-to-face contact remote employees have with their colleagues doesn’t work wonders for teamwork. It’s far more likely that remote employees will choose to approach projects alone, or with very little input from their coworkers.

It’s important to use the software tools available to reignite team spirit within your business. Video and instant messaging communication are powerful assets in promoting collaboration within your remote workforce.

#3 – Employee burnout

Burnout is becoming a common issue in almost every workplace. Remote working tends to blur the lines between home-life and work-life, leading to employees working longer hours than they would in the office.

While this doesn’t sound too bad in principle  (who wouldn’t want a 24/7 workforce?) it can have a damaging effect on employee engagement, productivity, and staff retention.

Avoid employee burnout by hosting stand-up and stand-down meetings at the beginning and end of each day. This gives remote employees more structure over their working schedule – reducing the risk of out-of-hours working.

#4 – Increase in micromanagement

The way you manage your employees has a huge impact on their success. Unfortunately, remote working models can increase the prevalence of micromanagement – or over-management of employees.

Micromanagement is sometimes called ‘over-the-shoulder’ management, meaning team leaders have constant involvement in their colleagues’ tasks. This leads to a lack of autonomy that damages your employees’ motivation to succeed.

While it may be tempting to check up on your employees – keep this to a minimum to increase autonomy, and reduce the risk of over-management.

#5 – A drain on workplace culture

Your workplace culture is what attracts new talent to your company, and encourages existing employees to stay. Remote working models can often dampen your workplace culture – reducing the strength of your employer brand in the process.

However, remote working doesn’t have to mean the death of workplace culture. Arrange catch-ups with your employees, and host staff social events to keep your brand culture alive! Out-of-work events are a great way to encourage interaction and collaboration within your team

Remain transparent with your employees; host weekly company updates to keep colleagues in the loop with any exciting developments and challenges.

In summary

Remote working is becoming more common across all sectors. While there are many benefits to a flexible working model, there are key drawbacks that employers need to be aware of. These include:

  • Lack of employee engagement
  • Reduction in teamwork
  • Risk of employee burnout
  • Increase in micromanagement
  • A drain on workplace culture

Switching to a remote working model can be a positive change for both companies and their employees. It is, however, important to consider and prevent the potential issues this may cause. Stay in touch with your workforce; arrange regular catch-ups, company updates, and out-of-work social events to keep your brand values alive.