There were some good things to come out of the global pandemic, and one of the biggest must be the concept of remote or work from home (WFH).
An actual office is yesterday’s news, bringing a benefit to the company balance sheet. However, managing the productivity of remote workers does present some unique challenges, and they can come from unexpected quarters.
Location, Location, Location
Remote locations can have so many variables, especially compared to having all workers in just one centralized location. Time zones are one challenge, but another, believe it or not, is the weather!
Staff living in remote areas or places vulnerable to natural disasters may be more prone to power outages during severe weather events.
Most homeowners faced with this problem regularly are prepared with generators, but should companies be more involved in sourcing the best portable power station to protect business output?
Helping employees keep their homes running during a power outage will also help keep the business running. Choosing a product that runs off green energy will tick everyone’s boxes.
The Thorny Issue of Monitoring Productivity
The need to monitor productivity depends upon the type of business and the number of staff involved. There are plenty of products on the market which can monitor employee activity, including keystroke software and tracking technologies.
Since the pandemic, tech companies like InterGuard, Hubstaff, and Vericlock have seen sales skyrocket. These software packages can track everything from the amount of time spent online to the type of content viewed and how long an employee spends on a specific website.
However, employee responses to these technologies differ drastically from employers’. The trade-off is worth it for some staff for the added convenience of flexible working and the lack of commuting costs and wasted time in the daily schedule. But for others, the cost of privacy is too high when the trade-off is giving over one’s home life to surveillance.
The irony is that some of this software has been in the office setting for some time. WFH workers may object to something they have already been exposed to without consent.
The irony about monitoring software is that studies show that many WFH employees overwork. It can be hard to draw the line when personal and work life is all under the same roof.
For many, the challenge arises in distinguishing the routine at home from the office. But employers would do well to offer training programs or guidance on clarifying these distinctions to prevent burnout and productivity loss.
Still, those who work from home enjoy better income and health, so this trend is unlikely to reverse any time soon.
Work from home is one of the most significant changes to hit the workplace, probably since the arrival of computers and the internet.
The specific challenges are unique to every business and workforce. For businesses making this transition, it pays to be aware of the challenges of investing in remote work technologies, monitoring productivity, and creating working conditions that encourage rather than detract from work-life balance.