In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, most companies asked their employees to work remotely. This is a drastic change in working conditions, given that collaboration becomes a challenge, and productivity might decline.
Challenges of working remotely
Lack of supervision
When supervisors or managers cannot see their subordinates regularly, it becomes difficult to assure that they’re doing their job right. On the other hand, it is also difficult for subordinates to not be able to approach their managers regularly, especially if they need guidance to proceed. It may halt tasks that can be accomplished immediately, if only there was a proper manager-subordinate relationship.
Difficulty in communication
Not everyone has a proper internet connection at home, and certainly not everyone knows how to use computer applications that can make communication easier. Video and phone conferences can also become challenging, since there’s a high tendency for people to talk over each other, especially if their internet connection aren’t good. Another form of electronic communication is through emails, but it is also difficult because some things can’t be explained through text only.
Difficulty in collaboration
Since you are not face-to-face with your workmates, some information becomes harder to be acquired. It may be because of the time delay, or even lack of urgency. You can’t expect everyone to revert details immediately.
Distractions at home
Since everyone’s isolated at home with the family, this also becomes a time to be closer to them. It is uncontrollable if some children demand extra attention from their employee parents, or if other members of the family decide to do something together. Moreover, employees are more likely to shy away from work given that no one is directly watching.
Being isolated alone at the same environment everyday can decline productivity, especially for creative workers who can’t focus without finding inspiration. When exposed to the same conditions for as long as a month, which is the length of this enhanced community quarantine, some employees will really feel unmotivated.
What can you do to make working from home more comfortable and productive?
Have daily check-ins
This doesn’t have to be a daily phone or video conference. It may be as simple as a daily email report to your manager. If you work at the human resources department, you may also find online timekeeping applications for free. This way, it’s as if everyone’s clocking in everyday.
If you’re a manager, it is important to clarify work from home rules with your employees. This way, you can provide utmost guidance to them. If you’re a subordinate, it helps to list all the things you need to accomplish before the week starts, so you can manage your time accordingly and make sure they’re all done at the right time.
Offer emotional and mental support
Everyone is on edge due to this situation. Make your colleagues feel that you got each other’s backs. This way, you can all increase productivity levels, and even improve collaboration. This doesn’t have to be a personal phone call or an email. It can simply be a “thanks for the quick revert!” when a colleague gives you information you need.
You are not a machine. You are entitled to have a break even if you’re in your home. If you take your lunch at 12 in the afternoon during work days, do the same thing during this period. This way, it’s as if nothing changed when you get back to the office, and you can manage your time efficiently.
Look for online learning opportunities
It is proven that you learn more in the office because of your day-to-day interactions with people. Because you’re away from them, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn new things. Look for online webinars. Most of them are free during the enhanced community quarantine. Since you’ve saved time on commuting daily, use this time to learn new skills.
Here at Mainline Power Philippines, we support work from home employees! In fact, 50% of our full-time employees work remotely. We have weekly catch-ups so we can strategize and brainstorm, but most of the work are done remotely. It is proven to work for us, since we were able to double our sales ever since we started asking some of our employees to work from home.