There has been a huge shift in our employment. The office work culture has been partially replaced by hybrid/remote/flexible work. It served well during the pandemic when meeting in person was not possible. The hybrid work model and distributed teams are something that has changed the talent landscape. Though it has faced some serious challenges with remote work.
As we start the year 2022, we see that the distributed teams, virtual workspace, and hybrid work model are all here to stay. Looking at this, the researchers at Upwork conducted a study on 15th Dec 2020. It says that 22% of the American workforce may go completely remote by 2025. This sizeable change in the professional and tech sectors is a hot debate currently.
With all the good things, also come their pros and cons. There may be hesitance and resistance around the emerging work models. We could have numerous distractions or temptations while working in a hybrid work environment. It has yet to be discussed, whether these are serious issues or just false alarms. The Wurkr team plans to dig deeper into the productivity issues that crop up with hybrid-remote work. Let us get into the specifics.
Since the employees started working in a hybrid-remote work environment, it posed a possible threat for the employers. A lot of employers don’t agree with the remote work culture. This is because they feel the employee’s productivity will tank. Also, they think that the employees will not be able to take up the workload they used to before everyone went hybrid.
However, the real scenario paints a different picture. According to research, remote employees tend to work more than usual. This is possibly due to the employees wanting to match their old productivity levels.
While some of the employees report an increase in productivity, they often forget when to turn off their work. This could come across as a worry about the employee’s mental health.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”
- Dale Carnegie.
But, this is not true with remote/hybrid work. Procrastination is another downfall everyone faces while working with a distributed team. An employee is supposed to be self-motivated and a self-starter, as all the employers advertise on the job boards.
With flexible working hours and no boss to hover over their shoulder, procrastination has seeped in deeper than usual. It can be tempting to watch high-quality movies or squeeze in an episode of their favourite series. This is because when working from home, it’s all too easy.
This can lead to procrastination being snuck in throughout the day so that by the end of the day, they have very little accomplished. However, with all vices, they can be controlled. Self-control can be made easier for employees by establishing routine breaks throughout their day.
They can use it to check social media and refresh their focus so they can go back to working hard again.
This one goes without saying. While working in a remote work culture with distributed teams, the employees encounter a lot of distractions. As we discussed previously, the employee may be tempted to watch his or her favourite OTT series or movie.
Or all of a sudden, they may have a pet to take care of, or a nagging kid to handle. The employees may be relieved from a gossiping co-worker while working remotely. But, they may hear a doorbell every now and then.
Then there are friends and families that visit during their working hours and work hours are tossed out of the window. Thankfully, the hybrid work model is specialised to offer flexible work schedules. Therefore, with the family visits that happen every now and then, they still have time to focus on their tasks at work.
Loneliness and lack of encouragement:Colleagues form a huge part in forming your social circle at the workplace. With remote work culture, the employees tend to lose that trust and mental connection with their colleagues. This can lead to a lack of encouragement to accomplish even the smallest of tasks if the employee is not fully engaged with the team.
On the other hand, distributed teams work in different time zones. Hence, there would be days when employees have social breaks at different times.
The employees also lose on the coffee break conversations that happen near the coffee machine. With this, they lose out significantly on the bonding potential. In the absence of team engagement, you struggle to be motivated to work.
Challenges with communication:
A team can thrive only if its communication is powerful. In the absence of communication, it is easy to lose track of the projects they are working on. Additionally, a human being is a social animal, and interaction and communication are the biggest necessity for a human.
“Those impromptu encounters at the office help keep leaders honest. With remote work, there are fewer chances to ask employees, “Hey, how are you?” and then pick up on important cues as they respond.- Jared Spataro, CVP at Microsoft 365
Salesforce, in research, found that correct communication may lead to employees doing their best at the workplace, remote or hybrid. Challenges with remote work culture sometimes enhances communication gaps instead of bridging them. This could lead to under-delivered results. With the distributed teams, the colleagues are located in different time zones.
This is where virtual workspaces beat out meeting platforms. Here, the co-workers are instantly able to strike up a conversation with their colleagues without scheduling a meeting. This ease of communication allows employees to replicate the general chit-chat that permeates normal office culture.
Challenges with technology:
Technology tends to act up even in the best setups. Loss of internet connectivity is the bane of every remote worker and can make important meetings even more embarrassing when something goes wrong. Sometimes, the equipment you are using may also stop working all of a sudden. This is admittedly one of the biggest challenges to take care of while working in a remote/hybrid environment.
This makes it all the more important for an employer to have clear guidance on what to do when this occurs, as such issues are inevitable. Having simple rules to follow will ease any anxiety that the employee may have in the situation, and make it seem trivial to worry about.
To reduce the chance of these mishaps, therefore, it is paramount that you properly plan and research what virtual workspace you use so that it is the best for your company.
Recognizing the above-mentioned challenges with remote work, while working in a remote/distributed work culture we developed a tool Wurkr, that aims to address and overcome the challenges. We emphasize heavily employee engagement, communication, and collaboration. Wurkr enables us to ensure these values are followed and maintained throughout the work tenure of an employee.
Visit www.wurkr.io to experience Wurkr’s free virtual workplace for 30 days.