Work – From – Home. It’s Problems. It’s Solutions.

The operation in the organizations due to the Corona virus outbreak has rapidly subsided. Here are some of the problems and solutions that owner’s of the company can follow to improve the work efficiency of their team at home.

 

by Taher Lokhandwala and Vinisha Changulani

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, the functioning of most of the businesses have been crippled owing to a 21-day country-wide lockdown. This has made survival of most of the SMEs in the country challenging.

But in the wake of the crisis, many businesses have come up with a Work-From-Home (WFH) regime, where certain tasks of the business are completed by employees virtually from their home. The nature of the tasks which can be completed virtually is largely restricted to intellectual tasks.

While setting-up a WFH regime, the organization is able to notice certain problems.

1. Lack of community

Working remotely, with just a computer screen as your company, is much different from working in the hustle and bustle of the office. This makes the work mundane for many employees and as a result leads to distractions.

Solutions:

  • Increase the # of all employee meetings daily.
  • Encourage frequent team-level meetings.
  • Interact with the employees over chatty platforms rather than just formal platforms.
  • Provide frequent feedbacks on the work.
  • Provide team-collaborative tools such as (Office 365), to work collaboratively with co-workers.

2. Accountability for a task becomes hazy

Accountability is lost in the noise of the networking and collaborative tools. This might lead to increased slacking tendencies, dependencies and irresponsive behavior on the part of the employees.

Solutions:

  • Provide for a time-tracking software with your HR Cloud system, to measure the activity of the employees.
  • Create a culture of transparency.
  • Keep communication channels clutter-free, to avoid important information being cluttered in the noise.

3. Over-Working

Employees tend to have a psychological distinction between their work environments and their home environment. When work enters the home environment, certain people exhibit the behaviours of over-working and thus exhaust their productive capacity by not finding the requisite work-home balance.

Solutions:

  • Create a calendar set-up, presenting all tasks for the day.
  • Encourage employees to schedule breaks.
  • Encourage employees to create physical separations between their working space and their living spaces.

4. Bad Health Habits

With the merging of the office work stress with the homely comforts, people tend to become a lot less alert, and involve in much a sedentary lifestyle.

Solutions:

  • Encourage physical exercise.
  • Provide a set of guidelines to practice ‘mindfulness’ while working.

5. Difficult/Lacking Communication

One of the prime reasons for reduced output of a team which recently shifted to a remote working environment is communication bottle-necks. Compared to a general office set-up, communication in a remote-workplace set-up is completely different, and collaboration even more difficult sometimes.

Solutions:

  • Create communication routines. (Team Meet-up calls twice daily within, Full department meet-up call twice a week.)
  • Utilize multiple tools to provide a seamless collaborative environment (Video-conferencing tools, Document sharing softwares, Chats, 1:1 Calling, etc.)

6. Loss of Productivity

Productivity Loss is one of the prime issues related to a WFH regime adopted by any organization. Due to the lack of physical presence, supervision, guidance and direction, employees tend to be less productive. The problem is exacerbated in activities where collaboration is necessary.

Solution:

  • Use a cloud-HR system to assess slackers, and provide requisite counselling.
  • Allow workers to work at their own hours (if possible for the activity handled by the employee).
  • Accept that certain loss in productivity is normal for a team imminently shifted to a remote-working set-up.

 

Remote working regimes do have certain technical and operational hindrances with regards to its implementation, which stand exacerbated in times of complete isolation. Nevertheless, the entire journey of creation of a procedural WFH mechanism provides long-term benefits to firms operating in the current digital economic ecosystem.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Hubstaff Blog – 7 Disadvantages of Working from Home and How to Counter Them – https://blog.hubstaff.com/disadvantages-of-working-from-home/
  2. Zapier Article – The 7 biggest remote work challenges (and how to overcome them) – https://zapier.com/blog/remote-work-challenges/

McKinsey Article – A blueprint for remote working:  Lessons from China – https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/a-blueprint-for-remote-working-lessons-from-china



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