2 Years of Remote Working in 6 Lessons
By Patricea Pop
16 August, 2022
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A few years have passed since the start of the remote work revolution and organizations have discovered that transitioning to a new way of working can be a successful and productive strategy.
One of the key takeaways of working from home is that many employees aren’t willing to go back to the old lifestyle. We’ve also learned that creating and maintaining connections in a virtual team is not always simple with most people ending up feeling alone and unmotivated. Last but not least, we also know that screen fatigue exists.
That being said, there are some compelling reasons to continue to improve the way we work remotely and what better way to do so than by reviewing the lessons learned?
For many employees, flexibility is the Holy Grail
For many employees, work flexibility is the Holy Grail. After all, who wouldn’t want the option to do their work where and when it suited them? However, it’s not so simple for employers. While you try to keep your employees happy, you are also concerned about productivity loss, losing track of what they are actually accomplishing, and the breakdown of team chemistry.
In the end, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of solution to this nagging question. When working out your answer, it can help to weigh each pro and con individually as well as to make sure that you have the same definition of flexibility.
Real human connection is a must
The office, with its conference rooms, relaxation areas, and possibilities for both formal and informal connections, has been a way of life for so long that it is difficult to picture going further without them. Despite having access to many communication channels, we clearly observed that the infrastructure and technologies alone do not guarantee a connection, especially in teams that are fully remote.
As a result, various connection-supporting strategies are required.
Loneliness and screen fatigue is real
Although not having to commute is wonderful, spending too much time in front of the screen may be draining. As most of our lives are online now, we also face new health issues including headaches, eye strain, and screen fatigue. On top of this, decreased face-to-face interaction leads to social isolation and elevated feelings of loneliness. Therefore, developing a work routine that involves screen breaks, no back-to-back calls, shorter meetings or a Zoom-free day has become essential in most organizations and it was a big part of the lesson we had to learn.
Work-life balance is a personal journey
The famous concept of work-life balance has been trending for many years now but
when your office is in your living room, the challenge seems to be even greater.
The key lesson here is that finding balance is incredibly personal, and working from home is not always the best way to do it. We should not compare our own work-life balance with that of other people. We are all unique and have different skills, needs, and limitations. It is about making the best of what we have, without trying to fit into an ideal routine.
Employees demand respect around the time
No employees enjoy having their time micromanaged since it makes them believe they can’t be trusted to finish their work, which is the first lesson about time management.
The second lesson is that most organizations have to create a culture where taking time off is encouraged.
The third lesson is that time off is a benefit—and one that should benefit both employees and employers alike. This means that fair solutions that consider both employees’ requirements and the company’s needs are needed.
Managing yourself is a must-have
How simple do you find time management to be? How about dealing with interruptions and distractions when you are at home? Can you maintain your concentration and find the drive to complete the tasks? Have you developed new work rituals to support your new working habits?
Given the tsunami of change that we are experiencing, feeling overwhelmed while working remotely comes with the territory. While it’s normal to feel like a kid on your first day of school, learning to manage yourself is a crucial lesson and a formidable challenge that we need to tackle.
In conclusion, making the workplace more flexible isn’t a one-and-done change.
Although there are real obstacles to it, the work from home experiment has taught many organizations and their employees that with time and attention, those concerns can be addressed.
We can all agree that no solution is perfect. No team or company will benefit from pretending that there are zero downsides to operating under flexible working conditions. Since different personalities and industries thrive in various environments, one of the most important takeaways is that working from home is not suitable for everyone.
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