Managing the Downsides of Remote Working

Employers had to quickly transition to a remote workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as restrictions start to lift, many businesses have continued with a work-from-home policy, and it’s not likely to disappear as we move to a post-pandemic way of life. While it may not reach the same level as during the peak of the shutdowns, it remains a common and popular work arrangement.

Workers will primarily drive this model in an increasingly candidate-driven market as professionals weigh up a work-life balance. Companies will have to promote perks that attract top talent, which includes offering flexible working conditions.

The advantages of remote working cannot be disputed. Companies can hire great employees from anywhere in the world, and it helps to reduce time, costs, and our carbon footprint with commuting, which is particularly relevant as climate change comes into focus. Yet, there are downsides to working remotely, but companies can effectively manage these challenges by putting solutions in place and establishing a remote working policy.

Let’s look at the top 6 disadvantages of working remotely:

Social Isolation

One of the most significant drawbacks of working remotely is isolation. While not having to leave the house is appealing, it can lead to social retreat and loneliness. It’s all too easy when you work from home to go days without having a meaningful face-to-face encounter with colleagues. Discussion and collaboration are essential components of human connection and it’s important for strengthening relationships with coworkers. Employees may also find it more difficult to feel connected to and involved in everyday corporate events, which can lower morale.

Decreased Engagement and Collaboration

When teams operate remotely, there are less opportunities to socially discuss random topics during breaks. While this may seem trivial, they actually aid in team coordination and communication. When remote teams keep their talks exclusively business-related, with no time for casual chats, team members are hesitant to call out to their coworkers about any obstacles or concerns that may be affecting their job.

Home Distractions

Working from home exposes a remote worker to a slew of distractions, including childcare, pets, chores, errands, TV, and so on. A dedicated home office free of such distractions is necessary and should be encouraged. It also requires self-discipline. Working at home and not succumbing to distractions needs a lot of commitment and self-control. It’s easy to lose motivation and attention, so it is critical to effectively manage time and home surroundings in such a way that remote workers remain focused and productive.

Career Development Barriers

The absence from the office can hinder professional development. According to studies, having a physical presence at work enhances your chances of getting promoted, receiving positive feedback, and getting a raise. Office-based employees that are actively pursuing upward mobility will most likely have the upper hand. Remote workers can counter this by making office visits and maintaining open lines of communication with direct managers to demonstrate their interest in career advancement.

Employee Burnout

Constantly being connected to work has serious consequences for physical and mental health and can results in stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Remote working is a great draw for the best talent throughout the world because of its structural flexibility, but it’s frequently the aspect that people struggle with the most. It makes sense to be entirely focused on work during working hours (even if they are quite flexible) and to be completely free during non-working hours when working remotely.

Management Difficulties

Managers may find it difficult to lead remote teams and guarantee that staff interact effectively and regularly online, collaborate with others, and learn how to use various IT technologies. They may also be concerned that remote workers will be inefficient and unproductive (although many surveys indicate otherwise). Employees may also struggle as a result of the lack of guidance and assistance from their bosses. So, it’s critical for managers to invest refining their leadership abilities and concentrate on being results-oriented rather than being time-based focused.

Setting up a Remote Work Policy

There are core issues to address when creating a remote work policy as it lays the foundation on expectations and establishes the general policy for working remotely. The goal is to mitigate the traps and downsides. A remote working policy can also apply to hybrid models where employees enjoy a mix of both remote and office working.

Start by addressing the following:

☐ Who can work remotely.

☐ How will work tasks be carried out i.e., tools and technologies.

☐ How remote teams will communicate.

☐ Expectations for office presence.

☐ How working hours and results will be monitored for KPIs.

☐ Schedule video conference meetings and virtual team building activities.

☐ Schedule time for informal chats to reconnect with teams.

☐ How technical support will be provided.

☐ What equipment and connectivity is required for remote workers.

☐ What company data and systems will be accessible remotely.

☐ Define expected working hours.

☐ Offer time management training resources.

The goal of deploying policies is not to micromanage employees, but rather to have a better understanding of how people are working, as well as to foster a sense of belonging and teamwork. This will make it easier to lead, inform, connect, and coordinate feedback.

Digital Platforms for Remote Workers

It doesn’t have to be challenging for remote employees to access the information they need to be productive. Most employees spend an average 30% of their time looking for information during their workday, and with working remotely, this percentage increases which leads to reduced productivity and increased frustration.

KRIS Document Management System (DMS) offers an integrated digital platform with automated workflows and a central, secure repository for employees to access and track work on documents and records.






Find out how a Document Management System can simplify your everyday office processes.