The pandemic has changed many things about the structure of work within our society. Many offices adapted well to work-from-home culture, but others are experiencing difficulties. Whether it’s issues with collaboration or concerns about security, working from home comes with some serious hurdles for certain industries. Learn more about a few of the disadvantages of remote working and discover solutions to those disadvantages here.
1. Difficulty with Collaboration
With your employees spread all around the city or even the country, it’s a lot harder to get together for collaborative work. Sometimes, different time zones, technical difficulties, and distractions at home make finding meeting times that work for everyone a challenge. Working together over the phone or a video call is a communication barrier that can disrupt even the shortest conversation. Worse, it’s no longer possible to just walk to a coworker’s desk for quick answers! Instead, employees must opt for communication via phone, email, or office chat.
Resolving Remote Collaboration Concerns
This disadvantage of remote working is primarily due to a lack of a flexible, fast, and responsive communication platform. Since emails and phone calls aren’t as efficient or effective as talking to someone in person, teams need new tools to battle this disadvantage of telecommuting for work. Many companies are turning to file-sharing applications that already come with chat features for better communication with the team, including Google Docs and Slack.
2. Cybersecurity & Confidentiality
Even if your business doesn’t deal with proprietary or patented information, cybersecurity and confidentiality are still important. When most of your team is working from home, it can be difficult to ensure security when each individual computer needs additional antivirus software, VPN configurations, and extra firewalls. Even more challenging is providing security for employees who choose to work over public wifi, like those in coffee shops or shared workspaces.
Any confidentiality or security breach could be a potential disaster for your business. Whether it’s a non-employee overhearing a confidential discussion or seeing sensitive documents, or a team member accidentally downloading a virus, your business needs to plan for better security to mitigate the potential damage of this disadvantage of remote working.
Resolving Security Risks
One way to reduce your vulnerabilities is by storing all business data and files on a cloud management platform. Don’t let employees save important information on their laptop or home computer hard drive. You can also require that employees use VPNs when working and set up remote access to their computers in the office (if you still have a physical office space).
Regular security trainings are also an essential part of any company policy, even when working in an office. Cover typical phishing and virus scams they may encounter and educate your team on the importance of password hygiene, two-factor authentication, and the dangers of connecting to public wifi networks.
3. Inconsistent Access to Internet & Tools
Because employees are in their homes, they’re using whichever internet provider is available and affordable in their area. Unfortunately, there are significant disparities in high-quality internet access throughout the country, and a lack of reliable service is common in rural communities. This is a major disadvantage of remote working, as many people have subpar connection speeds and reliability. Even homes with decent internet connections may experience slow upload and download speeds when too many people are utilizing the network, leading to poor audio and video connections during video calls, issues with buffering, and slow loading programs.
Resolving Connectivity Issues
Your team needs access to the right technology in order to overcome this disadvantage of remote working. Bolster their internet connection with appropriate hardware, like ethernet cables, to support spotty wifi connections, and set up a remote helpdesk to deal with any IT issues that may crop up. A remote IT team trained in connectivity concerns has the power to support your teams if anything goes wrong. Make sure your IT team has a robust ticketing system and self-help SSO.
Counteracting this particular disadvantage of telecommuting may require an even bigger investment for some companies. Any team that needs to run heavy-duty rendering or editing software may need specialty computers that can process all that data. You may want to invest in additional computer hardware to outfit your team’s home office with better technology than they may already have.
Isolation is a much bigger disadvantage of remote working than people think – especially for those who live alone. Without frequent face-to-face contact, your employees could be dealing with chronic isolation and loneliness that lowers morale and productivity. When people work in an office, human interaction is necessary and built into the day-to-day routines. Employees interact in the hallways and breakrooms, the elevators and parking structures, and in various meetings throughout the day. They may also commune with others while on their daily commute at coffee shops, the metro, and restaurants. Working from home eliminates the potential contact with all these people!
Resolving Isolation Concerns
Regular check-ins with your team could go a long way to dealing with this disadvantage of remote working. In addition to conversations about current work tasks and projects, it’s important to also check in with your employees regarding their personal lives. There’s certainly no need to pry, but creating a space where your team members feel safe to express themselves if they wish to can help prevent frustrations and challenges from building up. This may be a new management style that requires a more personal touch, but it will help your team build higher quality connections, better communication, and more trust.
Will Your Office Continue Working From Home?
There are many other disadvantages of remote working, but some teams are rising to the challenge. This evolution in workflow, company structure, and technology has pushed many businesses to find innovative solutions that ensure they’re stronger and more sustainable. What about you? What will your company do to combat the disadvantages of telecommuting to ensure your success?