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Many people dream of working from home. They can say goodbye to their dreadful commute, wear pajamas all day, sip on homemade coffee, and zip through tasks without the distractions of an office. Better yet, remote working could even mean working from exotic destinations, such as a tropical beach, with just your laptop. Despite its obvious advantages, working at home can bring a number of distractions and downsides.
Having difficulty concentrating on work issues is a common complaint for those who work from home. Everything from unexpected visits, to noise from children or pets can make it very distracting to work from home. Other people may also have a hard time accepting the notion that you are busy, even though you are at home. Friends, neighbors, and relatives may assume that you have time to chat since you don’t go to work.
It can also be hard to motivate yourself to work when you are in the comfort of your own home. There isn’t anyone hovering over you, telling you to get to work and holding you accountable. There are many other things you could be doing instead, so it is easy to give into temptations. After all, catching that new Netflix special or perusing your Facebook feed is probably a lot more appealing than sitting in front of your computer and working for the next several hours.
When you only interact with your teammates virtually, it’s hard to develop the camaraderie and personal connections that make a team successful. There’s no substitute for face-to-face communication. Videoconferencing can help to offset this, but it has its limitations. Remote workers often feel like they are excluded, and in-house workers may feel like remote workers aren’t really a part of the team.
Communication on a distributed team is a challenge because you can’t just ask the person next to you a quick question or bring everyone into a meeting room to hash things out together. There is also the concern of time zone differences. While there are many ways to communicate with work-at-home colleagues, including instant messaging, video, and phone call, these communication channels won’t do you much good if there is no one on the other line because of a time zone difference.
Studies have shown that working from home reduces attrition and unplanned absences, boosts productivity, and lowers operational costs for companies. Working at home also encourages employees to achieve better work-life balance. That being said, working at home can also be lonely and lead to feelings of depression and isolation. You can no longer go out to lunch with your coworkers or engage in water cooler chit chat. What’s more, keeping remote employees engaged can be a challenge.
Remote employees aren’t in the office with their coworkers and may feel less connected to the company. This can lead them to feel unappreciated and unhappy. That’s why it’s important for companies to make employee engagement and teamwork a priority for all employees, regardless of whether they work at home or in the office.
People who work at home often worry about getting passed up for promotions because they are not physically present in the office day to day and the concern is valid. Workers who are seen at their desks during regular work hours are seen as responsible and dependable, even if they actually get less work done than their remote colleagues.
Working at home is here to stay, despite the disadvantages it holds. However, you can make remote work more successful in your workplace by ensuring that you have the right collaborative tools at your disposal. And rather than having a 100% remote workforce, you may consider having people come into the office on a regular basis in order to maintain a minimal level of in-person communication.
A team calendar and meeting room booking system can go a long way toward improving collaboration, productivity, and efficiency among distributed teams, so employees who work from home don’t miss a beat. To learn more, contact Add-On Products to schedule a free trial or free online demo!