Mitigating the remote work obstacles

by Mihailo Raspopović
10/04/2020
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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many companies in the world, and in our country, are adapting to remote working. Such a model carries in itself many obstacles that cannot always be avoided but therefore can be mitigated.

Working from home has its benefits for workers and organizations in a way that it increases productivity (not the case in every industry) by avoiding the stress and time spent commuting to work every business day.

However, adapting the work culture to a home office can be quite challenging when you do it for the first time. Labeling remote work as successful is not about completely eradicating the obstacles that come with it, but finding balance and mitigating those obstacles.

Here are some of the most common obstacles we face as individuals or organizations in working remotely.

Time management 

One of the first obstacles that comes to mind is managing time. Acclimating from offices to home environment is requiring changing certain habits because the employees and other colleagues are usually motivated by start-and-stop culture (meaning the standard 8-hour worktime). Each one wants to finish work at 4 p.m., not to lag behind its work mates, but these factors are hard to find when one doesn’t have said motivation. One of the better ways to cope with this obstacle is to introduce a time tracking software. This, of course, won’t kill the problem but instead it will give a clearer picture on where are things going wrong and how to correct that.

Communication

Working from home is never going to replace communicating in-person and the benefit of watching the body language or seeing your colleague at its desk. Online communication is often complicated, especially when dealing with conference calls with the whole team, and having many platform to choose from is giving personal preference a way to make it tough on choosing the right one. Mitigating the problems arising from online communication is streamlining it in specific platforms that every employee and its co-workers will use properly. In our case, and I believe I speak for many IT firms in our field , the platforms we use are Slack (chat communication), and Google Hangouts(Meet) for calls.  

Technology

Working from home the employees are giving away “the luxury” iv having an IT technician on site to help them in resolving computer equipment issues. Therefore, they are more responsible to solve those problems themselves in order to work efficiently. Those problems are most often bad wifi connection, loss of power, etc. In these situations its useful to provide some kind of training for the employees or to have an issue-resolving tutorial for the most common problems with the equipment. One way also is to have Team Viewer installed so that IT technician could access remotely to the computer with a problem in performance.

In addition to these obstacles, there are a number of others, but the most common one when organizations are trying to directly to transition the office into a home. Basically, it means the same rules as in office, but with the help of digital tools. This approach is wrong and unproductive.

Instead, its best to work toward mitigating the obstacles from working remotely and move toward flexibility, both within the organization and in relationships with clients. In time, the team will adapt to the mitigating circumstances and productivity will not decline.