Three challenges companies must overcome in times of mandatory home office

Read tips on transitioning to a home office work model during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

April 06, 2020

As a result of the social distancing recommended by WHO (World Health Organization) to contain the spread of the coronavirus, many organizations are directing employees to work remotely from their homes.

But adapting to the new work model can be challenging – even for organizations that already have some level of remote work policies in place. Following are three challenges many organizations are facing – and tips on how to overcome them. 

1. Technology

Technology plays a fundamental role in remote work. Employees need equipment, a reliable internet connection, secure applications (for communication, sharing and saving files), and training to use those applications.

Tip: Organizations need to invest in technology that helps them adapt to the new work model. Ideally, the focus shouldn’t be on the costs, but on offering a complete and comfortable experience for all employees. Without robust technology, remote work is flawed. 

2. Remote leadership

Some managers aren’t comfortable leading if they can’t observe their teams working. However, it’s important to remember that productivity does not require physical presence.

Tip: Business leadership should rethink how they interact with their workers. In order to have a motivated and productive team, it is important to work hard in building relationships, trust, and connection among people.

3. Adaptation for employees

Managers aren’t the only ones who might have difficulty doing their jobs from home; their employees also might struggle. Obstacles can include inadequate work space, noise, cohabitants, household chores, etc.

Tip: It’s normal for people to feel a bit lost at first, and change can affect productivity. That being said, it’s generally just a matter of time until employees adapt to the remote environment and start working efficiently. It is essential to pay special attention to everyone on the team, and to understand the individual challenges each person faces, as much as possible.

To make home offices productive, it helps to:

- Define the workspace by organizing your desk in a functional manner and ensuring you have privacy to avoid distractions.

- Post “Busy” signs to let others know when you’re busy and cannot be interrupted. This makes it easier to concentrate and maintain workflow.

- Adhere to a routine to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing. Establish a rigorous schedule for meals, breaks, and, most importantly, finishing tasks.

- Create a task list at the end of the working hours, noting all tasks that must be done the following day. Also schedule required calls, meetings, follow-ups, reminders and tasks.

- Work with your team to keep your personal calendars updated with meetings, calls and tasks. This ensures your team stays up to date on everyone’s availability.

- Establish reminders to keep in touch with clients and peers via email or phone. If you are working in a group or in the middle of a project, keep your team and clients updated at a determined frequency on the project’s current stage.

- Schedule breaks to stretch your body or, get some fresh air, and enjoy lunch or snacks. It’s important to make time to disconnect and avoid working for unnecessarily long periods of time.

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