Top Challenges of Work from home & its solution
Updated: Apr 23, 2020
Work from home (WFH) had been continually on the rise since Y2K, with the freelancing model, it further blurred the geographical boundaries. Many industries especially IT / Software Development, Engineering have leveraged WFH flexibilities to create a better work-life balance.
Industries with less than 30 years of an average age of the workforce had considerable millennials and had started inducting Gen Z. Gen Z and late millennials love the culture of flexibility including casual WFH culture.
However the current situation is different and companies are forced to give WFH to everyone, leaving very little to no time for everyone to prepare for this.
This sudden WFH for everyone altogether came with its own challenges. Let's try to identify the top challenges and how we can tackle them.
1. Poor Infrastructure
There are various infrastructure shortages and limitations which may pose challenges for an individual to effectively work and coordinate with the team like
- low Internet speed and data limitations
- fluctuations in electricity and internet
- obsolete desktop or laptop
- low quality of camera, mic, and headphones
- non availability of isolated room for taking calls
- not having a proper desk to support ergonomic gesture
- non availability of the printer and its cartridges (In some cases only it is required).
Self-action point:- Try to upgrade the infrastructure ASAP so these hygiene needs are quickly fulfilled.
This is the greatest challenge while doing WFH, it could because of various reasons including
- needs of kids
- unplanned visits of guests
- noisy surroundings like construction or repair work, market, and traffic noise if too near the main street, vicinity to railway line and airports
Self-action point:- Some of these challenges are not completely avoidable at a point of time however efforts must be made to pre-schedule the meetings so as to minimise its effects and find a space with least surrounding noises.
3. Ineffective management and coordination
Often the team productivity goes down if
the tasks are not properly communicated
the objectives are not defined
proper inputs are not provided
Issues are not timely resolved
there is sluggishness in quicker decision making
Self-action point:- Taking an active role in addressing the above issues, advance planning of tasks at least 1 day in advance if more is not possible, so when everyone is starting their day, they know what is expected from them and they deliver it efficiently.
4. Support & availability of mentors
All the team members may not be well capable of completing their tasks on their own and require guidance from mentors, the mentors and team leads are usually overloaded with work - now what is the solution?
Self-action point:- If you are a subordinate, try to consolidate your queries, possible solutions and have a meeting slot with your mentor. So most of your queries are timely resolved and it saves you from bugging your mentors quite often and frustrating them.
If you are a mentor, having an increased bandwidth for resolution and guidance to the team. Grooming your team to become experts in micro areas, so collectively they can hit bigger goals with ease.
5. Gaps in communication
Effective communication has always been the key but with WFH, communication is the bridge, without which you cannot move forward. Often teams lack to effectively communicate amongst themselves as they tend to limit themselves by emphasising that "the work would be faster if we were sitting together”, but it is not true. The only factor which restricts you to effectively communicate is you and not remote locations.
Self-action point:- Maximise the use of technology like
Screen & voice recording tools
Video conferencing tools
Calendar meeting invites
Issue tracking tools
Time tracking tools etc to bridge this gap
6. Blurred work timing and poor time management
Maintaining a consistent schedule like the usual working hours of 9-6 is a challenge, and often people tend to work in scattered patches throughout the day and leads to a feeling of overworked - however that may not be true.
Self-action points:- WFH saves you from travel and that’s all, rest if you carry out your day in the same way as if you have to go for the work including timely getting up and going to bed, timely meals, timely shower, and so you should be simply able to wrap your work timely in the evening.
Also while starting the work in the morning try to put a message to your team that you have started your work, similarly try to put a message in the evening that you will be wrapping your work in the next 30 minutes, so if someone needs to have a discussion with you can find it easier.
7. Boring schedule
Like taking food and water, sharing your emotions with your work colleagues during lift lobby, washroom, pantry discussions, having a cup of tea or lunch together is equally important.
Keeping up the momentum at work
Start the meetings by greeting your colleagues
Spend 5 minutes of your long meeting time to discuss off-work issues and Induce the atmosphere of togetherness
Have a bi-weekly or monthly meeting to collect feedback and make the best efforts to address those challenges
Finally what we need to learn is to be more considerate towards our team members about the different challenges they must be facing and how best the bridge of communication is maintained to adapt to this model.
The adaptability to this model, not just in a pandemic situation, will define the new way of working in the future. The organisations who have learned to interchangeably work it will create benchmarks in the employee friendliness index.