Hello everyone, this is Tom Hallett from the Learn Grow Succeed Podcast.
2020 has been the year of many things – and remote working is one of them.
The once ‘novel’ working style has been adopted, wherever possible, by organisations of different sizes and sectors en masse since the start of the pandemic.
Our regular listeners will know that you can find the transcript to go with this podcast over on the Excel Communications website, along with additional resources such as podcasts, whitepapers and training resources.
So remote working – has it been a success in your organisations?
Like everything, some people vastly prefer it, and others are craving the office.
Remote working was still considered a somewhat experimental working style before the pandemic – and now it’s everywhere. And whether it’s going to disappear once we have a vaccine, or is something that sticks around is yet to be seen – but today, we’re talking about the uncomfortable truths about remote working.
Yes, working from home has its positives, but what about the drawbacks – what are they, and are they easily resolved?
So, let’s get started.
1. Telecommunications Can Leave Employees Feeling Left Out
I think we can all agree that we didn’t realise how much we were going to miss our colleagues until we all had to work from home.
Remote working can lead to feelings of isolation, especially if colleagues are collaborating without others on certain projects or someones misses important advancements or milestones in the company because they’re not involved in a particular task.
Make sure you encourage employees to use all of the online tools you’ve got available to you to keep them in the loop with colleagues. Use emails for work-related messages and don’t forget to use other messaging apps to encourage communication about non-work things – keep those working relationships going even if you are physically apart.
2. You Can Feel Isolated
As well as feeling left out of work projects, working from home can make some individuals feel physically lonely.
This is not an ideal situation for anyone, and while everyone’s working environments are different, working remotely without the real-life support of your team behind you, can lead to feelings of isolation and then disengagement.
Make sure employees are breaking up your day by speaking to others, it can be friends or family, if they’re remote working alone – looking after our mental health is so important to get us through to the other end of this crisis.
3. You Can’t Concentrate at Home
Ok, let’s flip it.
On the other end of the spectrum are those that are remote working in an environment that is noisy, full of people or external sounds that they have no control over and not conducive with getting any quality work done.
Remote working might be the dream for some, but for others, they need the calm environment of the office to be able to concentrate.
If employees find it more challenging to complete tasks from home, in conjunction with local restrictions, see if there is anywhere offering daytime working facilities. Many cafes and restaurants affected by lockdown are turning into work hubs for those with nowhere suitable to work from home. There might be somewhere for you or your employees to work from offering a service like this – once the national lockdowns are relaxed, of course.
4. Work-Life Balance Isn’t What it Used to Be
Working from home might be great for you if you’ve said goodbye to a long commute, but setting up your office at home means saying goodbye to the clear distinctions between ‘work’ and ‘home’ that are so important.
Striking a work-life balance is necessary for our mental health; it helps us stay more focused on work tasks, increases productivity and keep us feeling well in both body and mind.
If you have noticed employees working extra to finish something, or feeling as though you can jump back on your computer to send an email because you can – you and your team might be suffering from a poor work-life balance due to your remote working set-up.
Make sure you keep to a clear work schedule, take your allotted breaks and remember to try and get out of the house – away from your ‘desk’ for some outside time as often as you can, and encourage your team to do the same.
5. You Need to Be an Excellent Self-Directed Learner
Balancing freedom with responsibility is key when remote working.
For some organisations, it’s unclear when or if they will ever return to their place of work – so where does this leave your career plans?
Your company might have had an excellent training and development programme in place before the pandemic – what about now – how can employees continue to develop when they are at home alone?
The answer is self-directed learning.
Companies who put in place excellent virtual training and development programmes for their employees will see their teams grow and develop. Those who put development on the backburner ‘due to the pandemic’ could suffer and stall with their progression.
So there we have the 5 uncomfortable truths about remote working:
- It can cause working relationships to break down
- It can leave people feeling lonely or isolated
- Some people don’t have adequate remote working set-ups
- It can affect your work-life balance
- And… you really need to be a self-driven learner to continue to develop your skills and your career
Has your organisation made the switch to remote working – how is it working out for you?
For more information on the topics I’ve covered today, including remote working and self-driven learning, head to our blog where you will find hundreds of articles about these topics plus many others including developing yourself and your career. I’ll leave a link in the transcription of this podcast on the Excel website.
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This is Tom from the Learn Grow Succeed Podcast Saying bye for now.
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