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Your Guide to the Most Common Remote Work Challenges

Posted by Tasnim Ahmed

July 9, 2020


More employees than ever are working remotely, prompted by the pandemic, but continuing because it saves money and works well for many. However, there are a few challenges that come with remote working arrangements. Here we’ve listed five common remote work challenges for both companies and employees, along with and strategies to overcome them – to enjoy a more positive work-life balance.

Challenge 1: Time Zone Differences

One of the significant privileges remote working gives businesses is the ability to hire talent from around the world. The drawback is that much of this talent can be working in different time zones and locations, which can put your team out of sync. You can overcome this challenge by adapting a few simple work practices.

Ways to Overcome:

● Your team should have a fairly regular schedule so that everyone knows when the others are going to be available next. Use an integrated calendar for your team that puts everyone’s timetable into a single place. The calendar will allow team members to schedule meetings and collaboration sessions at times that suit everyone in a matter of clicks.

● Your remote workers need to be flexible when working with others in different time zones. They will usually require a few hours of overlap time for collaborating with the rest of the team.

Challenge 2: Remote Collaboration

When your team spans multiple locations, managers may find it difficult to ensure deadlines and targets are met in a timely manner. The regular challenges of remote working include trying to collaborate on emails, documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoints and design projects, while dealing with internet, computer or power outages. Delay in the process due to back-and-forth emails to the admin, HR or finance team for daily queries is also a big challenge.

Ways to Overcome:

● The first thing you need for remote team collaboration is the right communication channel. The channel should provide you with features like instant messaging, availability status, notifications, file sharing, group chats, video and voice calls – in an easy-to-use interface. You can also use collaboration tools for a successful remote celebration.

● For documents, PowerPoint and Excel sheet collaboration, Google Drive can very well serve the purpose. For collaborative prototyping, you can select tools like InVision to create, provide feedback and test interactive demos. There are also many collaboration tools available that allow multiple team members to work together on emails at the same time.

● You can use project management software to assign or reassign tasks to team members and keep track of progress. Software with advanced features like screen sharing and the ability to communicate at the project and team levels will be a great advantage.

● To avoid delays in your work, ask employees to have a backup plan. A mobile internet plan or a WiFi device, a backup laptop and an inverter for power backup can get you through the day until you get your computer, internet or power source fixed.

Challenge 3: Tracking Tasks and Optimizing Productivity

Keeping track of progress on individual tasks daily can be a daunting prospect, especially for complex projects and large teams. Another major challenge managers face is optimizing the productivity of their remote teams.

Ways to Overcome:

● Remote workers need to be self-motivated and skilled at time management since there will be no one continually scrutinizing their time and work. To hit big targets, make sure that all their smaller tasks are getting completed on time.

● Use a project management tool to check real-time progress of tasks. The platform helps managers find details about what team members are currently working on at any given time.

● To maximize productivity, use software that can track the time anyone takes to complete a task. Then, you can use this time as a benchmark to maintain and improve their turnaround times, as well as pinpoint potential issues. Thus, you can also identify which team members perform each task more efficiently. Measuring team efficiency will further help you allocate tasks most effectively and maximize the productivity of your team.

Challenge 4: Client and Data Security

When team members are responsive and complete tasks on time, trust typically remains high. But trusting employees with crucial client and financial data is often the biggest challenge for remote working businesses.

Ways to Overcome:

● Employ a virtual private network (VPN) to restrict and track data access from company servers. The VPNs will help you encrypt your business data, making it impossible for someone to access from outside of the network.

● Deny all USB and Bluetooth devices access on your laptop to enhance privacy protection and keep your data safe.

● Encrypt your business laptop hard drive to protect your data from cyberattacks and theft. Avoid providing employees with administrator account on their business laptops.

Challenge 5: Work-Life Interference

When your personal life and your work are both under the same roof, it becomes harder to switch off your current task. Remote employees usually forget to take breaks or stop work at a reasonable time. The inability to resist interference disturbs your work-life balance.

Ways to Overcome:

● To avoid work-life interference, employees should be clear about the kinds of real-world or digital interruptions that are okay and which ones can wait.

● Having a dedicated workspace is the best way to block out real-world distractions. Try to avoid all interruptions from your family, pets, delivery people and neighbors.

● Set up a “do not disturb” sign for people at home and avoid answering personal calls or hanging on calls for long during work hours.

● Inform your team about your availability hours and when you leave for the day. Set reminders on your calendar to take breaks and get yourself out of your home office.

● Set achievable targets for each day and routinely hit those targets. Turn off notifications on your phone and computer, and put your laptop out of sight after work hours to avoid the temptation to log back into work.

● To avoid digital distractions, install distraction-limiting tools to help you stay focused at work. Such tools will help you block notifications from specific apps or web pages during work sessions.


Tasnim Ahmed
Tasnim Ahmed

Tasnim Ahmed is a content writer at Escalon Business Services who enjoys writing on a multitude of subjects that include finops, peopleops, risk management, entrepreneurship, VC and startup culture. Based in Delhi NCR, she previously contributed to ANI, Qatar Tribune, Marhaba, Havas Worldwide, and curated content for top-notch brands in the PR sphere. On weekends, she loves to explore the city on a motorcycle and binge watch new OTT releases with a plateful of piping hot dumplings!

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