The race to embrace remote working has been rapid, and a lot of businesses have rushed ahead to encourage team members to stay away from the office, without thinking of the downsides that such a policy entails.
Being aware of the potential pitfalls, and planning to leap over them, is the best way to implement working from home as an option. Let’s look at what these are, and how to navigate this tricky process effectively.
Employee recognition can suffer
In an office environment, it’s easy for the flow of feedback and recognition to move from one team member to the next. From small comments throughout the day, to more formal demonstrations of appreciation during meetings or events, employees will be happier and more productive if they feel that their contributions are being recognized.
When working from home, it’s much harder to achieve this organically. If everyone is plugging away in isolation, you don’t get the same opportunities for positive reinforcement as you do when sharing the same space as one another, and mental health may deteriorate.
This is why you need to be proactive in providing employee recognition for remote workers, as well as for in-house team members.
From short daily catch-ups between managers and employees, to sending out tangible tokens of appreciation, such as trophies singling out special achievements available from providers like Awards, small and large gestures alike will bolster the health of your entire business.
Work-life balance can be disrupted
Remote work evangelists often claim that by allowing people to fulfill their professional obligations in a domestic setting, they are helping them to get a better balance between their job and their home life.
However, in many cases the opposite is true. Working from home can mean logging on early, staying available long after your shift has finished, and struggling to turn off the working mindset because you don’t have that physical separation of work and home space that you get when commuting to an office.
There are things that employers and employees alike can do to tackle this state of affairs. First, setting specific office hours and sticking to them, even when working from home, is a must.
Second, having a specific part of the home set aside for work, preferably a room where you can be shut away from distractions and separated from chill-out spaces, is best.
The social aspect of work seeps away
Following on from the concept of working in isolation being bad for employee morale from a team recognition standpoint, you also have to accept that this also influences how the social side of any job plays out.
People form firm friendships with colleagues in traditional workplaces, yet find it harder to connect with others if they are only ever interacting with them on a video call or via email.
This again can erode team morale, and might make it harder for newcomers to gel with established groups as well.
Adding social events to the calendar to keep remote workers involved and interested, outside of the context of everyday meetings, is a good way to fight back against this. But equally, you don’t want to go too far with this, because if the remote socializing feels forced or like an obligation, it won’t have the desired effect.
The bottom line
Working from home can be great for individual employees and entire organizations, of that there is no doubt.
That said, you cannot be complacent about its flaws, and if you want to build a thriving business with satisfied, motivated team members, remote working policies must be put together with care.
Interesting Related Article: “Recognizing Employees Can Improve Your Business’ Culture And Atmosphere”