The transition from traditional office work to remote work has been full of advantages. Many studies show that remote workers are a lot more productive, have a better and healthier work-life balance, and earn better. However, it’s not the entire picture of this transition as there are several challenges that have come with it too. It’s never realistic to think there are only upsides to innovations without the possibility of problems.
Sure, most remote workers hardly need to take time off because of their health, they are much more motivated, and they save on some expenses that come with commuting to work every day. Still, there are some other realities that need to be considered about remote work, and they aren’t all rosy.
A statistical report in 2019 from the State of Remote Work shows that many remote workers find it hard to unwind and relax after work. Working from home can sometimes make it difficult to have a clear distinction between work time and rest time, especially because the devices for work remain the same as those you may use while relaxing, so there’s a tendency to keep working if you feel there’s still some work to do.
Many other remote workers complain of loneliness, a very understandable challenge, especially for those who made the remote transition from bustling offices. Some of these people need interaction from that kind of office setting, and not having access to it can make them feel lonely and socially deprived.
Communication and time zones also pose an underrepresented challenge to remote work. Gathering a remote team to work together may likely not have the barrier of difference in language, but communication can still be frustrating.
Different time zones would mean people are working at different times of the day and may not be available at the same time to discuss a certain problem perhaps, or move forward with a consensus or agreement on particular issues relating to work. This specific challenge occurs more when there are bigger remote teams handling a complex project.
It can become challenging to keep a record of every individual’s assignment, and communication may be choppy because of time differences and unavailability. Luckily there are some tools and software that can help with this kind of problem by giving remote workers a platform to assign tasks and monitor progress.
Promoting trust between remote work team members is also a challenge that may not seem like a major one at first but can really reduce efficiency if not handled. Since workers’ backgrounds may be quite different and many team members may never have met, there could be an unconscious distrust or skepticism about the other person.
It also doesn’t help that most times, fellow workers can’t see what the other person is doing on their own end, especially if, ultimately, job success is measured by your collective efforts as a team. That would be another contributor to rifts in the remote workplace, and establishing guidelines to follow while working is one way to help with this.