There are various job models available in the market today. One of those job models is called ‘telecommuting’ or ‘telework’. Within this arrangement, employees don’t have to travel to a central institution of work like an office. They can work from wherever they have taken up residence. Work from home is a form of telecommuting and in recent days, is becoming a very popular work arrangement!
The coronavirus pandemic has shut down many offices globally and employees have been forced indoors in their houses. Since organizations cannot shut down or stop functioning, the work from the home model has been adopted. Official workspaces have been created online and conferences are undertaken through video calls, thanks to today’s technology. All you need is a fresh mind and a good internet connection!
Given today’s scenario, working from home is the safest option. While frontline professions such as healthcare, security, and essential services don’t get work from the home pass, almost every other industry has converted to the digital mode. Many companies across the globe are even considering changing the permanent work arrangement to work from home, considering the ease of functioning and the employee’s comfort by working from his residence!
Like everything in this world, work from home has its pros as well as cons. While it is extremely easy and comfortable, it comes attached to its own set of risks. But it is a great profession arrangement to earn some money at the comfort of your house! So here’s a detailed study into the ‘work from home’ model, its challenges, and solutions.
Work from Home Challenges and Solutions
Despite having the freedom to not dress up and get ready for office, to work at our own pace and timeline, studies have shown that employee productivity and satisfaction has hit an all-time low due to this work model. As explicitly mentioned above, working from home comes with its challenges and some of them have been listed below.
1. Managing Projects
Any big corporation or company has multiple ongoing projects at the same time, and big projects require many people to run it.
One of the biggest challenges of remote working is project management. There are too many working parts of the project scattered across different places. To track the work of every project member becomes a gargantuan task for the management.
Managers are responsible to make every employee meet the deadline be it work from the office or work from home. Without having a physical presence, communication is more difficult, and keeping track of individual tasks is problematic, especially for complex projects and large teams.
Multiple online tools could act as a manager for a remote project. These tools are inbuilt with functions that set specific goals for the employees and keep a track of the progress made by every individual on the team.
Some of these online tools are:
Each of these online tools has paved a way for complete transparency and efficiency in managing a project remotely!
2. Team Collaborations
A project often requires multiple minds working on it simultaneously. This involves brainstorming and ideations on a common piece of document. In physical presence, it is easy to share documents, presentations, and memos without any holdbacks. But it becomes multiple times difficult to do the same through online modes.
Remote working highly limits a group of people interacting on the same piece of document for different places. There are a lot of technical difficulties and a lack of coordination faced by the team members.
The basic go-to tool for online collaborations will always be google drive. Google drive provides all the basic requirements and creates an online hub where multiple people can edit or work on a document at the same time. Other features include a chatbox on the document page, where a document can be ideated by sharing views and opinions without any hassle. You can view the document being formed in real-time and make changes on the go!
Other tools like Slack, InVision, and Spark can also be used based on company requirements.
3. Productivity and Task Progress
Working at home has shown a stark decrease in employee productivity according to recent statistics. Home is the one place where you can be at absolute ease and sometimes become too comfortable! It also leads to problems like procrastination or deprioritizing which can in turn lead to a huge pile-up of work.
When different team members are scattered across different places, tracking their work activities becomes difficult. One snag in the process and the entire team suffers for it.
The only way to solve this problem is to track the employees’ work in real-time. Online management tool such as Toggl or Status Hero shows the entire team as well as the manager about an employee’s work status. This pushes the worker to complete the given task on time and also enables the team to adjust their work as per their teammates. This leads to harmony and coordination within the team. Individuals can set up personal goals that enable them to finish the work within a set time frame.
4. Internet Connectivity and Time Zones
Multinational Corporations work across the globe from different countries. Employees could be working on the same project from two opposite ends of the world. This is where the problem of timezones will be factored in. A difference in time zones leads to miscommunication about deadlines and a mistiming in general. It could be a good night’s sleep for one employee while the other might be in peak working condition.
Another major factor for remote working is a good internet network. The majority of any company’s work has been converted to an online database that cannot be accessed without a good internet connection. Slow speed internet or a lack of network coverage in the area might make it extremely difficult for an employee to work with the team.
A good internet connection with a high-speed data flow router can be installed in the house for uninterrupted internet access. There is no other solution to that.
For dealing with timezones, companies can deploy online tools such as Calendar, in which employees can mark up slots of their free time and the work can be allocated in those slots.
5. Cyber Security
This is a problem faced by tech companies primarily. An online transfer of data can be highly dangerous as third parties have the access to hack such data. Also, downloading secure company information on a personal device can also make it accessible to unwanted entities. Data destruction by viruses is another con of remote working.
Request for a company-issued device at your residence if your management allows it. This will keep secure data off of the local servers. Companies mandate an encrypted line of communication for security. If your work has to be done on a personal computer, then install quality antiviruses and a private network for complete security.
Work from home is an extremely easy-going mode of working. It is comfortable and flexible, unlike rigid office regulations. However, a residential setting has a lot of distractions and can drop productivity to very low levels.
It’s like two sides of the same coin, one good, and the other bad! But we live in a techno-pro world where every problem has a solution!
So stay home, stay safe, and give your best!