It is said that in any evil there is also good, and this is also demonstrated by the pandemic that we are still facing during this period. With it, a phenomenon has gained momentum that has spread rapidly, that of remote work – remote work, as it is also called. Employees and employers alike competed to talk about the special and unsuspected advantages of remote work, about reducing expenses, about the possibility of working from any corner of the world as long as you have access to the Internet or about the time exempted from traveling to and from work that people can use for entirely different purposes.
As things settled down and the excitement subsided, both employees and employers began to see that the medal also had a reverse and that everything that seemed pink and beautiful also had drawbacks.
Throughout this process of remote work, many companies that have faced dysfunctions at the level of teamwork, with the inability to supervise the activity of employees, with their decreasing return, which once you enter the routine of working from home, are distracted by other activities and no longer have the promising return from the beginning.
Working from home proved even more disadvantageous for those who opened a business because they did not get to know their employees well and create a team on which they could bet in seeing the good conduct of the activity. In their case, remote work is something they would rather miss.
So here are the three biggest disadvantages of working from home and how they can be counteracted:
1. The sense of belonging and camaraderie is lost When working by himself, just with the screen of a laptop in front of him the man completely breaks away from the usual commotion at the office. Communication between team members or between leaders and their teams can be affected in time by the impossibility of asking questions on the spot, verbally exchanging information, quickly making an eventual urgent meeting, etc. Employees lose the feeling of belonging to the company they work for, but also to the team they theoretically belong to. That is why to change their job for the first better financial offer that is offered to them will be much easier if they no longer feel attached to anything other than the laptop on which they do their job. Not being always with people, I no longer feel that camaraderie that binds in human communities, especially when physically a certain space is shared in which certain experiences are shared.
What to do? If working from home remains the employer’s favorite under these conditions, it is important that he periodically reunites the team, physically, thus giving people the chance to spend more time working together in the same space. That’s the only way they’ll stay in touch with each other. Renting flexible offices for this purpose can be the optimal solution to maintain a balance between teleworking and the negative aspects it produces.
2. Communication with the team becomes faulty People at work solve different problems with each other, give explanations, share experiences and help each other. Often verbally, on the spot. Of course, from home you can use any dialog box in an app that you use for communication, but you don’t always get the answer right away. It all depends on when the other sees the message and when he finds time to type the answer you need for you. Those who work remotely have to balance various, almost overwhelming, communication flows. There are instant messaging applications, video call software, project management tools, and of course, the ubiquitous email. The more channels to check, the more pertinent the concerns of managers and employers about the return and the fact that information escapes employees through their fingers become.
What to do? In addition to regular meetings to strengthen the team, it is very important that employees are well trained, have permanent access to any possible information they would need quickly, so that they do not unnecessarily consume time and energy to find out the solution to a problem they face. Of course, being present at the office even for half of the work schedule can be another way to prevent the occurrence of such problems, but that depends a lot on what way of working was negotiated with each employee individually.
3. Noticeable decrease in yield and productivity. Working without being watched is for some something that suits their glove. Others, however, can relax so much that they can no longer realize that they are still employed. Unwittingly, they easily become victims of entertainment such as conversations in the café where they stop to work, the temptation to watch a documentary, to carry the garbage and wash the dishes during a break, if they are at home, or to talk more on the phone with a friend or relative, if they go out on the balcony on a cigarette break. Not to mention the alluring fridge that sits nearby filled with kind and kind of goodies waiting to be eaten from hour to hour.
What to do? A handy solution is to impose a working rule and deadlines for completing tasks by days or even hours. This is an additional effort on the part of the team coordinator who has to plan everything in detail and constantly follow up on what extent the established conditions have been met. Failure to comply with the rules, however, could attract unwanted sanctions for employees, which would inevitably lead to tensions that can generate unpleasant consequences. Over time, however, one can make a sorting of employees who are yielding from home versus those who are much more productive if they come to work and act accordingly.
In all three situations, but also in others of this kind, it can be easily seen that the definitive abandonment of a common workspace is impossible. People are different, jobs are different, the needs of employees and employers are different, and all this makes it almost impossible to harmonize everyone by keeping distance or maintaining communication at the exclusively digital level through the technological means we have at hand. Working in the office remains a necessity for the time being.