Identifying Key Challenges to Work From Home for Employees and Employer
There are certain reasons why companies don’t go all out on work from home. Despite having considerable advantages, it also entails many challenges both on the individual and organizational level. Because of the current Covid – 19 crises more employees are working from home than ever, they are bound to face these challenges. So,before you can take steps to resolve all these challenges, you must identify them first.
Key Challenges to WFH
1. Challenges faced by the individual employees
a. Too many distractions
While there are many of us who are unable to be creative and productive in the formal environment of the office, for many others it’s the other way around. To put it simply, they are ‘too much at home’ when they are at home. Those who look deeply into the problem would ultimately discover that the feeling of ‘being at home’ is nothing but the presence of an overwhelming number of distractions around you.
Since most of us have a tendency of accumulating things at home, we don’t realize that each one of those things have certain emotional memory associated with them. If we are surrounded by too many of these things, they would literally transpose us into different world altogether, one that’s full of memories and nostalgia. Although these things might help us in relaxing and destressing, but seen in the context of work, they might prove to be roadblocks.
b. Technical issues
At the office, the technology is mostly business grade quality. Particularly the phone’s network coverage and internet speed are impeccable, as the work highly depends on them. At home, this might not be the case. The mobile network coverage might not be as good as you might want it to beand the internet servers might have frequent downtimes. In addition, with your work requiring so much of data, the limited data plans might no longer satisfy your internet needs. Also, in case your work involves working on heavy sized files, you also need an internet speed that’s fast enough for their transfer.
c. Blurring line between work and home
This is another issue that many people working from home usually face, especially the ones who are supposed to deal with clients. When you are at the office, you normally have fixed working hours. This reduces the chances that your boss or client could call you up at an odd hour and ask you to work on something. You can simply tell them that you aren’t at the office so you can’t work. But when home becomes the office, this might no longer apply. By forcing you to believe that the task at hand is extremely urgent/important, the clients and bosses might make you work even during your non-working hours. While the extra work could easily be compensated by paying overtime, the encroachment of privacy would still remain.
2. Challenges faced by the organization
a. Fragmented communication among the employees
E-mail, calls, video conferencing, hangouts, messages, etc. all of them are substitutes to human communications, but they can never supplant it. Furthermore, the chances of errors and miscommunications significantly increase when we take into the account the degree of unreliability of each of these mediums. For example, if ten people are talking to each other on a conference call, some of them might not be able to participate fully because of technical issues, without the others knowing about it. The same might never happen in the conference room.
b. Employees are invisible
One great advantage of being in the office is that every one in the office is that the bosses have a constant watch over all the employees. So, in case of projects involving numerous employees, the bosses can simply watch over them to get a rough idea about who’s putting in more effort and who is not. A false perception of the same might have a bad outcome both for the organization and the hard-working employees. Since it would be harder to fathom the contribution of each individual employee, if the bosses aren’t watchful enough, the promotions and the incentives might fall in the hands of undeserving people.
c. Lack of motivation for the employees
Nothing can bring out the feeling of camaraderie like real-time employee interaction. They have lunches together and after work many of them hang out together. This is a stress-buster for the employees. The organization, on the other hands, gets employees that identify themselves as a part of a team and are thus motivated to work for the sake of their team’s performance. Both in sport and at work, team spirit is a great motivation. However, this is something that the employees might miss out on when they are working from home.
These are six biggest challenges that work from home entails. In the next 4 chapters, we detail on how you can easily overcome these and other minor challenges by following the best practices on effectiveness, sustainability, motivation, and digital communication.