The corporate world is changing rapidly and Project Managers all across the globe are having a hard time catching up with the growing trends that have brought a major shift in workplace behavior during the last few years. The world has become a digital hub, with the latest technological advancements opening a whole new dimension for the business class. The use of advanced technology now provides amazing virtual workshop solutions to the companies and makes it possible for the teams to collaborate, communicate, and operate with each other more efficiently. Businesses are now relying on their digital teams more than ever because of the whopping success rate and greater convenience offered by remote working.
The rise in popularity of remote teams has allowed employees to work from different physical locations all across the world according to their feasibility. More and more companies have started incorporating this method to keep up with the revolutionary changes in the corporate world. In fact, as per statistics, around 69% of the companies already allow remote work, and 16% have gone fully remote.
“There seems to be a growing acceptance of remote working. All the stats suggest it is on an upward trend, and many jobs are well suited to it. Our team works remotely and we love it, though there are some challenges to overcome but that’s no different to working in an office.” – Chris Lakey from Vestd.
Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly amped up the already growing trend of working from home and the formation of digital teams. Corporations these days have no choice but to shift to these methods for maintaining their businesses and employees in general have grown accustomed to this new normal due to its ultimate benefits. It is for reasons such as these that experts believe that the remote working system is here to stay even after the pandemic is dealt with.
According to a survey by the globally acclaimed research and advisory company Gartner that included 317 CFOs and Business Finance leaders, 74% employers plan to move their on-site workforce to remote positions post Covid-19.
Why are Remote and Digital Teams Becoming a Trend?
The new technological advancements and working paradigms give a lot of scope for change and evolution. Industries are no longer confined to a specific building or city. Rather, remote working allows them to hire talented professionals from any corner of the world without any constraints of physical location or commute problems. With a significant increase in the freelancing community, companies can build a much stronger and efficient workforce while saving a ton of money on basic expenses.
Samantha Lambert, Director of Human Resources at a website design company, Blue Fountain Media says:
“Ten years ago, remote employment basically meant a telemarketing or customer service position at below minimum wage. It rarely was connected with full time career. Now technology affords us the ability to get the same job done, no matter where in the world we are.”
Similarly, an increasing number of people, particularly the millennials, prefer remote jobs and digital interactions rather than going to an office every day. According to a survey conducted by Buffer.com, a whopping 99% of the interviewees said that they’d like to work remotely at least once in their lifetime. This working method offers flexibility and a better work-life balance for the people. It allows them to create a working routine around their natural energy cycles that help them to be more creative, productive, and dynamic.
Stacey Epstein, CEO of Zinc says:
“The modern workforce is increasingly mobile, collaborative and dynamic and comprises of multi generations all with different communication preferences.”
However, despite its increasing popularity and uncountable benefits, remote working has its downsides as well. Similar to a corporate job, people working from their homes can face many challenges that are followed by stress and depression in the long run.
The Challenges Of Remote Working
1. Lack of Face to Face Interaction
One of the major problems that both the employers and the employees face is the inability to interact with each other efficiently without proper face to face communication. The tone and the body language are very important for good communication and therefore, it proves to be challenging to coordinate remote teams without being able to deliver or receive the instructions effectively.
2. Quick Meetings are Not Possible
Kim Koga, a Solutions Engineer at Web Content Management Firm, Zesto says:
“Sometimes I just need a quick yes or no or a timeframe of when something can get done and our internal communication tool doesn’t cut it. I could wait hours for what could be a quick response in person.”
Working from home means that you can no longer ask your manager or boss for an instant meeting to discuss an argent problem or a query. Scheduling meetings and appointments is not only taxing, but time consuming as well. As the day proceeds, the meetings take up a lot of space and time off the work hours, thereby compelling people to work overtime to meet their goals for the day.
Most professionals deal with this problem as more than half of their 8 hour office day is spent responding to calls and meetings that forces them to work overtime. As a result, the work day and personal time are bleeding inconveniently together.
3. Fighting Burnout
The flexibility that comes with remote jobs might also let people get distracted by numerous things throughout the day, and with no proper supervision, employees most likely end up working overtime way past the office timings to complete their daily tasks. According to statistics, around 27% of workers are unable to separate their work-time and personal time. This lack of management might eventually lead to a burnout.
Rebecca Safier, founder of remote job board Remote Bliss from Thailand says,
“You can check work emails, chat with the co-workers on slack or do work anytime you’re on wifi. As a result, it’s easy to keep working into the night, well past the time you said you’d finish up.”
She further adds, “Unplugging at the end of the day is important.”
4. Telecommuting can be Taxing
Technological advancements have made it possible for people to communicate effectively. However, a number of people find it difficult and annoying to type long messages to explain the instructions and details of the project, which is why, as suggested by research studies, more than 35% people face challenges while collaborating with their colleagues.
5. Lunch Breaks are a Luxury
Remote working means that people are not able to take short breaks from their desk for social interactions or quick meals. These breaks create a healthy and friendly atmosphere in the office and remote working takes away this opportunity, thereby making people feel left out and socially isolated. According to a survey conducted by Buffer.com, around 35% of remote employees feel isolated and lonely.
Caleb Chen, who works remotely at Housten says, ” I do sometimes feel that I’m missing out on the “water cooler talk”.
Challenges and problems are a part of the corporate world. The question is, how can we overcome these problems? Employers and employees should come up with strategies to make remote working a lot more effective and interactive to reap its benefits.
As employers, remote work is an opportunity to draw in more talent at significant savings. As professionals, remote work offers a great deal of benefits. However, this shifting dynamic brings with it drawbacks that certainly must be taken into consideration well after the pandemic is over. Will bringing people back into the office still make sense? Will the advantages gained by employers and employees both be easy to relinquished as they return to the daily grind of office life? Only time will dictate what ultimately transpires with what will soon be referred to as the “old way to office.”