Face-to-face meetings, idle work chatter, break room talk, water cooler conversations, are the things that we used to enjoy when we were still working in an office with our co-workers. But due to a global crisis that forced most of the world to stay at home to prevent the spread of disease, many companies are forced to adjust their work format to a work from home one.
Convenient as it may seem, work from home brings about its own set of difficulties. Especially with it being a relatively new format of work, there are bound to be problems that need solving, and situations that need understanding. What are the common problems an employee working from home can face? Here are a few:
At first, glance, working from home looks like it won’t consume as much time as traveling to the office. But between house chores, preparing for work, and accomplishing tasks at work, it can be very difficult to manage and follow a schedule.
In an office, it’s easy to remember to take breaks as everyone else shuffles about when taking their break. However, at home, when there are no coworkers to remind you that it’s break time, a 15-minute rest can be easily overlooked- especially when you’re too focused at work.
Collaboration and Communication
The nature of working from home or any kind of remote work is that you are physically separated from your co-workers. This often results in feelings of alienation and a lack of communication with co-workers. Despite the availability of many communication software, the stimulation that face-to-face interaction can give is simply not there.
These troubles plague even long-time work from home employees, and those experiencing it for the first time might find it difficult to deal with. As a manager or business owner who has adapted to a work from home setup, it is crucial that you also help your employees adjust to this new style of work. Here are few ways a company can help their employees adjust to remote working.
Check Accomplishments, not Activity
The idea of ‘slacking at work’ now takes on a different form, as most of us work at home. It’s a place where we’re supposed to relax and is often a place where we’re comfortable. Many managers might interpret lack of activity as ‘slacking off’- even when it’s not. This results in micromanaging, checking their activity constantly, and wanting to be informed of their employee’s tasks.
All of these can be tiresome and anxiety-inducing, thus it’s better to look at what they’ve accomplished versus what they’re currently doing. It focuses the attention on what matters: whether tasks get done or not. Validate your employees with every successful task, and don’t monitor their every activity like a hawk. This will make them feel like their contributions are valuable and you respect their efforts.
Never Stop Communicating
Communication is the lifeblood of any organization. When the communication between collaborators is efficient, work becomes
hremore productive and as a whole, more things are done. Remote work doesn’t mean simply handing out tasks for your employees to accomplish and send in at the end of the day. Communicate with them, ask them how you can help, and encourage them to post their progress on your online communication platform of choice. This can help foster a sense of community and togetherness with co-workers, despite working far from each other.
Have Casual Virtual Meet-Ups
Idle chatter is often seen as counteractive to productivity, but research says otherwise. It helps make work more manageable, or even enjoyable. Setup casual video calls where you just talk about each other, essentially checking up on how everyone is doing. Not only does this help reduce the feelings of isolation, but these casual conversations can also generate a flash of inspiration, creativity, and even boost productivity. After all, most people would feel motivated at work if they like the people they’re working with.
The new work environment often affects employee’s mental health. Apart from the stresses at home, they also feel work anxiety and social isolation. It’s crucial that a company offers help, even in this regard. But how can a company assist? Well, you get moving help if you want to change residences, you go to a hairdresser if you want your a haircut- simply put, nothing beats professional help, so offer it.
Some employees might find it difficult to search for professional help on their own, or maybe they live alone and find it difficult to make time to find one. Help connect your employees to mental health professionals, after all, their well-being is also to a company’s benefit.