4 Common Work-From-Home Challenges and How To Overcome Them
Most of us have been used to face-to-face work, so the shift to a work-from-home (WFH) setup has been disorienting. This is especially true for the Philippines, which has one of the most expensive and slowest Internet connections in the world. Everyone is finding their footing in an uncertain reality that has left many companies and businesses reeling. Some have resorted to a hybrid work arrangement, where employees are required to report to work on certain days and do remote work on others. Some companies have decided to continue the work-from-home setup until the end of 2021.
Yet this seemingly flexible work arrangement has brought to light issues that did not exist before 2020. Employees are now online round-the-clock, and with more than a handful of daily virtual meetings, work-life balance has become practically non-existent.
Overloading surge capacity: How humans survive Psychologist Ann Masten of the University of Minnesota states, “Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems—mental and physical—that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters.”
Minimizing risks, dealing with stress, worrying about finances, and staying COVID-19-free have become top recurring concerns in this pandemic. Our collective surge capacity has been stretched too thin, and with no end for the pandemic in sight, we can only hold out for so long.
Constantly dealing with a pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, including your employees. And because the boundary that used to exist between home and work has been blurred, your staff may be grappling with new challenges that need to be addressed. Here are other common work-from-home issues and how you can work around them.
1. The battle for mental wellness Employees with a healthy mindset function better and produce quality output. The worries of job redundancies, news of other companies in your industry closing shop, elderly loved ones’ health issues, hurdles in children’s online schooling—these are just a few of the many things that occupy your employees’ mind 24/7. Encouraging your staff to think positively may not be enough.
Instead, learn to dig deeper into issues that confront your team. Ask how their weekend went. Arrange a safe space where you can get together and share a meal together—virtually. Schedule an online meeting where work is not the priority. Observe work breaks as you would when everyone was reporting to the office.
By initiating this balance, your company benefits because your employees are recharged. Two-way communication is key, so let them know that the management and the HR department are there for them.
2. The disappearing division of work and home spaces It used to be easy to separate work life and personal life; each has its own space. But as homes are suddenly converted into pseudo offices, escaping the stress of work (and vice versa) has now become more challenging. There are house chores to finish, family to prepare meals for, kids to help with online schooling, and deadlines to finish—all coalescing under a single roof. It is no surprise, then, that workers feel more stressed than usual.
Take all these into consideration and understand the various challenges each employee faces in their WFH setup. Flesh out such concerns over virtual town hall meetings. If applicable, shift to an output-based work arrangement. Set specific boundaries to help everyone cope with this new normal at work (e.g., no emails past 6pm unless it is an urgent matter).
3. Working with no end in sight Because everyone is connected to the internet almost all hours of the day, many employees have complained of longer working hours. Pre-pandemic, clocking out from the office means work was done for the day. But without such routines, a work day now goes on and on.
Change things up by putting a stop to this unhealthy practice. Establish clear guidelines on work schedules to ensure everyone gets to disconnect from their professional lives to give time to personal matters.
4. Zoom fatigue is real Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams—video conferencing platforms that were once heroes of remote work have now become the bane of the virtual workplace. Because it now seems so convenient to huddle for a sudden virtual meeting, back-to-back Zoom calls became the norm. It also became exhausting.
Avoid video call fatigue by scheduling meetings only when necessary. If you can send a simple memo via email, do so. If you need a quick reply to a pressing concern, take it to the office chatroom. You do not always have to have a virtual meeting for every issue that crops up. Better yet, use platforms like Trello, Monday.com, and Slack for efficient team collaboration.
Conquer these mounting but manageable WFH disadvantages so you can create a more harmonious work environment for everyone. After all, when your staff is happy, healthy, and thriving, your company benefits, too.
If you are looking to grow your staff, explore JobStreet’s Talent Search to find the right candidates for your organization. For more insights on how to cultivate a healthy workplace, amid the pandemic, visit the COVID-19 Jobs and Resources Hub.
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