Biggest Remote Work Fears
(& How to Overcome Them Like a Boss!)
Remote work is becoming more and more of a selling point for people. A study by Flexjobs found that 61% have left or considered leaving a job because it did not have work flexibility.
61% have left or considered leaving a job because it did not have work flexibility
And we’ve all heard about the benefits of happier employees, lower overhead for office space, better work life balance and so on. But what about the dark side of remote work, even if we don’t want to believe it, it exists.
There are downsides to remotework and it’s this fear that can stop us from even consideringallowing our team to work remotely. The most common recurring issues that come up are:
People taking advantage and not working.
Not knowing your team’s availability.
More difficult communication.
How will you keep everyone in the loop?
How do you track productivity and accountability?
Concerns over data security
These aren’t baseless complaints that we use for denying our team the extra freedom, these fears are based in reality.
We get it! There are those that when not under the ‘watchful eye’ of the office, will take advantage and slack off. Communication is essential to all businesses, and needs to be thought about.
But can these be overcome and what’s the solution? Keep reading…
1. People taking advantage and not working
Always the first issue that comes to mind when people are able to work remotely, how can you know they are actually working?
A fair question, there will always be people that take advantage of a good thing, such as
. But that shouldn’t mean that everyone will do this and that those happy to pull their weight/do their fair share, should be given the privileges/advantages of being able to work remotely.
First things first, working remotely is based on trust, you need to trust that your team will. If you don’t trust your team will do work, you’ll always see any problem that arises, due to them working remotely.
Second, if you have a physical office, with the option to work remotely some or all of the time, make sure that your employees know that this is a privilege, not a right. For those that don’t pull their weight working remotely, and take the time as a personal holiday, restrict them to working in the office.
If you have a fully remote team, you’ll want to make sure when you hire a new team member that they have the right qualities for remote work, so you don’t end up with someone who doesn’t pull their weight.
2. Not knowing your team’s availability
Regardless if you have an office or your entire team works remotely, there can be a struggle knowing when someone’s available. In an office, looking over your shoulder towards Mitch’s desk lets you see if he’s available, tied up on a call or away from his desk.
But for your remote employees, this isn’t so easy. There is no easy way to see if someones available or even in work that day. Situations like this can be frustrating, especially when you’re in the middle of something important and you need to speak to a colleague, but can’t get hold of them.
There are a number of solutions, which will mostly depend on the tools you use, but essentially, they are a way of signalling to the team their availability. For companies like Zapier, they use Slack as their virtual office where they say “if you’r in Slack, your in work”.
If you wanted to take that a step further and have more real-time knowledge of who’s available, our tool PukkaTeam lets you do that at a glance. You can even let others know if you don’t want to be disturbed when you’re in the zone.
3. More difficult communication
Lack of communication can be a concern, after all, Yahoo and IBM rescinded their remote work policy, citing communication and collaboration as the main concern, forcing people to return to work in their offices.
The concern is that because more of an effort needs to be made to communicate, that things will be missed due to disconnection.
First things first, you’ll need the right software for making communication simple for your team. There is no one tool to cover all your communication bases, you’ll want to get the right tools for the job.
The basics you’ll need are:
Video calling: for conversations for face to face talking.
Instant messenger: Less intrusive calling, and easy to leave a message for someone on non-essential questions.
Email: For communicating with clients.
Screen sharing: This is more optional, but can be invaluable for teams that need to work together on the same screen/project.
You will then need to encourage your team to communicate. This can be done by getting everyone together, maybe after work so that everyone can become more familiar and get to know each other. Another method is what Buffer use where they randomly pair people off to chat and get to know each other better.
4. Keeping everyone in the loop
The concern is that because of the separation, it can cause issues where people are noton the same page. How will anyone know what Dave will be working on this week? How do we know when Tim has finished an element of the project he was working on?
This sort of unknowingness can result in delays, projects not moving along as quickly as they should. This is more than an issue with communication, it’s a problem of not everyone being on the same page.
If you don’t already, have weekly team meetings, this lets everyone share and know what’s been worked on and the plan going forward, which helps keep everyone in the loop.
Something we also do is have a Trello board, each labelled up with the tasks we’ll be working on, in the order, they’ll be worked on. Once a task has been completed, it’s marked as finished an moved down the list. This then lets the whole team know what’s each person what’s been completed and what still needs to be worked on.
5. More difficult to track productivity and accountability
The perception of lower productivity is amalgamated by the idea that if you can’t see your team working, then you have no idea what they’re up to. This goes hand in hand with distractions.
The concept that some people have is that if you’re at home, you’re probably not working as hard as you should be, sitting on the sofa, watching Netflix, checking your social media, nipped out to do the shopping.
It’s easy to understand the fear that some managers might have over their employees taking advantage of this.
Let each person know what they are in charge of, what their focus and responsibilities are, this lets people take ownership of what they’re in charge of.
You’ll also want to invest in project management with time tracking. This lets managers view what each person has been working on, and can also you a better idea of for time estimates on future projects.
6. Security concerns
Security can be a real concern, with the all the talk about how data has been mishandled, loss of customer confidence due to a data breach and the high penalties from regulations like the GDPR, companies have a reason to worry about security.
This is especially true if you often handle/send sensitive information.
Implement essential security solutions, such as getting everyone to use a password manager like Dashlane (we use this) or LastPass, helps store everything centrally, makes creating strong, unique passwords easy, and it’s simple to share details with other team members.
Use VPN’s to provide a secure internet access and encrypt data sent over it. This will help keep your browsing secure from people trying to watch what you’re doing.
Have everyone use antivirus software to keep your PC’s secure and stop a virus from causing a data breach. We use Malwarebytes and Avast, but there are plenty of others out there.
Make sure that everyone has a lock on their computers, where password access is needed to get into it (or fingerprint if you’ve got that).
This can work you
Having your team work remotely can be tricky, and the fears people have are genuine concers, but by being prepared can help facilitate and let remote working flourish within your team.
Make your remote team communication simple. Try our app PukkaTeam 14 Day Free Trial — No Credit Card Required!