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How to Overcome Challenges of Remote Work
Lina Yakunina
,
April 16, 2020
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Remote work’s popularity is on the rise. And let’s be honest, it does have a lot of benefits both for employees and companies. Although, as with everything, there are downsides to remote working and a few challenges to overcome, especially if you are new to it.

In this article, we are going through the most common remote work challenges, and how to overcome them. We split them into 3 types:

Remote work challenges for managers

Team collaboration and project management

Managing projects when your team is spread out across multiple locations is one of the biggest challenges with remote working. Whether it’s a mix of a remote and in-house staff or if your entire team is on remote, managers are responsible for meeting the deadlines of each project.

The solution to this problem

Technology is a great facilitator of breakthroughs. Powerful team collaboration and project management tools will allow a dispersed workforce to collaborate on projects in real-time.

Gmelius does just that – effectively boosting collaboration among remote teams everywhere and unifying employees in a structured way so that nothing gets lost in confusion due to virtual distance.

Tracking team performance and productivity

With a remote team, there are multiple factors to take into consideration. First, your team might be located in different time zones. Then there are differences in personalities and culture. And the absence of body language, which is present in the office, doesn’t help either. 

Before you can understand how well your remote team is doing, you first need to set clear tasks and accountability for each team member. When everyone has clear and realistic goals they won’t feel frustrated or unproductive.

The solution to this problem

To track team performance, consider daily scrum calls, briefs, regular 1-to-1 calls and weekly team catch-up meetings to summarize last week’s performance and present main items and priorities for the coming week.

Working well remotely also requires effective documentation. Set up an efficient reporting system, a daily diary — for you and your employees.

Again, leverage platforms that roll-up detailed team activity reports and estimate performance at glance. 

For example, Gmelius empowers you as the team lead or manager with clear visibility. Your Gmelius dashboard gives you access to detailed activity reports of your team’s performance. Reports can be filtered by team, productivity, and specific conversations – making it easy to monitor the status and resolution times of your most important activities.

If you’re looking to increase the transparency of how your remote employees are spending their time during the workday, CurrentWare’s employee computer monitoring software provides you with the means for tracking how they spend their time on the internet and computer applications. 

These are powerful solutions for managing remote teams as they can help managers understand the time required to complete projects and measure changes in workflow efficiency as employees get used to working from home. If you’d like to start using employee monitoring software for remote workers, be sure to include it in your work-from-home policy before installing it on company devices.

Remote work challenges for employees

Maximize productivity without overworking

Personal productivity is one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. 

When you work from home, you have to take into account all your home distractions and other duties you may need to perform. 

With working hours being more flexible and without a proper routine, many remote workers overwork. Constant feelings of exhaustion and lack of personal time are just a few of the most common negative effects.

The solution to the problem

Consider breaking your to-dos into smaller tasks and prioritizing them. This will allow you to focus on the most important aspects of work and will increase your productivity. 

Time tracking can also be helpful. You can determine how many hours you spend on work and limit the time to the most effective hours during a day.

Time tracking will also help you take much-needed breaks. In general, try to set up a daily routine and don’t allow yourself to sit in front of the computer all day. Take breaks and set the alarm clock for when it’s time to finish your work.

If you are looking for more advice, we just started a community where we share insights and ask questions regarding remote work. Join the discussion here!

Eliminate distractions

When working from home, we might often find ourselves in situations that don’t require our immediate actions, but we don’t hesitate to switch to them, because work is flexible, right? Everyone would probably agree that it doesn’t always work out this way.

The solution to this problem

It’s crucial to create your workspace where you can focus and work peacefully away from distractions.

While it’s important to make the workspace comfortable and even cozy, it should only be equipped with the tools that are necessary for your work and that won’t drive your attention away.

Consider muting your phone, deactivating notifications and avoiding non-work related social media activities.

Remote work challenges all of us can face

Communication

One of the most significant challenges in remote work is communication, between your managers and team members.

It is particularly challenging because when working from home, you do not have the chance to talk to people during a coffee break or just sit together to discuss a project. Instead, it’s just you at home alone doing your job.

The solution to this problem

Effective communication is the foundation of team collaboration - even more when it comes to remote work. 

Below are a few tools that we use ourselves to improve communication.

Gmelius and our Slack integration do a great job when it comes to client- and project-related communications. It keeps the team focused and connected.

For video conferencing we use Google Meet. It was a natural choice for us, since Gmelius integrates with G Suite. Alternatively, you could consider Zoom - well-known video conferencing tool.

Having quick in-office chats has been always important for us at Gmelius. When switched to remote mode it was necessarily for us to keep this feeling of real-life conversations. For such cases when you don’t want to schedule a video call, and instant messaging doesn’t quite get your point across, our team is using Discord - virtual vocal chat rooms. Simply enter a room and have a talk.

If you are new to remote, make sure to update your company policies and communicate about them. If you need some ideas, here are a few templates for remote work policy.

Digital overload

When working remotely we have to rely on technologies even more heavily. There is no doubt that advances in technology have had a huge impact on our productivity, but the problem of digital overload is also undeniable. 

The solution to this problem

Effective remote work is based on choosing the right stack of tech tools. You should try to use the least number of tools possible while making the most out of the common ones that you and your team are already familiar with.

Follow the Gmelius guide to remote work to make sure your tech stack is optimized.

To conclude, there is no doubt remote working brings a lot of potential benefits that both managers and employees can enjoy, once the right level of productivity and performance is achieved. We have looked into the most common remote work challenges and hopefully provided you with enough solutions. Now, the rest is up to you!

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About Gmelius

We ensure teams can work together - everywhere.

We believe the one reason that made team collaboration such a nightmare is the dispersion of data across too many tools. We fixed teamwork by designing a platform that lives in your existing apps. Then, we added all the key features your team needs on a daily basis. Explore features

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