11 Pitfalls of Remote Work & How to Improve Remote Working

Remote work is becoming more of the norm in our society. But it can be very difficult to know how to start and make Improvements though. We’ve compiled a list of 11 pitfalls of remote work and how you can improve your company’s working habits so that they are on board with the trend.
by Billy Stone » Remote Work Nerd » 
last updated on November 13th
The number of people working remotely is increasing. In fact, more companies are switching from a traditional office to a remote work environment every year. And while many people see this as way of improving how they do business, there are still some pitfalls that can be avoided with a little preparation and know-how. Here’s how you can make your organization more remote friendly!
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Recently, Gallup found that 43% of employees had spent at least some time working remotely for their organization, and it is estimated that 50% of the workforce will be doing so.

This means that remote work is here to stay.

How you manage and improve this change can make or break your company’s success. You must start strengthening your organization’s remote work infrastructure right now if you want to succeed in the long term.

What is remote work?

Before you can improve your organization’s remote work infrastructure, it is important to know how to define this type of working style.

Since the corona crisis took place in our lives, we have been constantly reminded how important it is to be able to work from anywhere.

Plain and simple, remote work is when your employees can work outside of the office. Oftentimes people work from their own homes or at local coffee shops.

remote call from home

Some companies have become so good at this that employees don’t need to be in the office for days, weeks, and even months!

People choose how and when they work best. They come into the office whenever it is convenient for them. Some people like to dive right in when everyone else arrives at the office, while others prefer to start their day early or late.

In an interview with Deloitte’s Human Capital Leadership, Mr. John Boudreau said that “the definition of remote work has expanded over the years for many organizations and now includes not only people who do their jobs away from a central office but also those who regularly work from home."

3 Biggest Benefits of working remotely (Yes, there are tons more!)

Let's face it, how many of us have dreamed about working from the comfort of our homes? What can you do to improve remote work, boost productivity and morale? Here are three major benefits.

#1 Time and money savings and being more friendly to the environment

One of the biggest advantages of people working outside of the office is that they save their employers time and money.

Imac displays words do more

According to a study by Igloo, remote employees spend fewer hours commuting than those who work in an office. They also waste less gas looking for parking spaces and taking long walks from the parking spots to their offices after finally finding one. This means more savings for the company.

Employees who work remotely are also friendlier to Mother Earth.

According to Global Workplace Analytics, if every American worker left their office and worked from home just one day a week for 50 weeks out of the year, it would save more than 600 million gallons of gas each year!

Ultimately this translates into fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less pollution.

#2 Higher productivity because of fewer distractions

Working remotely also improves employees’ productivity levels, which is good news for both the employees and their employers.

Employees who work remotely are generally happier than those in an office setting because they have more freedom to explore how they like to get things done best (e.g., how they want to dress, how often, and how much they communicate with their team).

Remote employees tend to spend more time working than those who work in an office. According to a study by Virgin Pulse, almost 69% of remote workers said that it took them less than two hours after waking up before starting the first task of the day.

Another important benefit is how it helps attract and retain talent. According to a study by FlexJobs, 70% of millennials say this type of work schedule would help them stay with their current job longer! A big reason why they are leaving companies at such high rates (51%) is that they are tired of how the office environment makes them feel like they can’t be themselves.

#3 Remote is the new normal and here to stay

Yes, it's true. The remote work revolution has already started and it doesn’t seem like the trend is going to stop anytime soon.

According to a study commissioned by Citrix, 43% of U.S companies have introduced flexible working practices within their organizations to recruit top talent and keep employees happy while ensuring they remain productive.

The number of companies that offer remote work opportunities has increased 66% since 2012.

The fact is, more and more people are moving into the city every day - something they call “the great inversion” or how suburbs become cities as a result of urbanization. People want to live where there is access to public transportation, entertainment, health care, education, etc.

This means that employers need to adapt how they work in the future if they want to attract top talent and remain competitive. If you can’t improve flexible working practices like remote work (or even part-time hours) - your organization will become less attractive than companies that do.

Pitfalls of remote work

On the other side of the coin, there are some things you need to keep in mind when it comes to how remote work is implemented. Some factors can lead to how remote work negatively affects employees and their organizations.

#1 Burnout

One of the biggest downsides of remote work is that it can lead to burnout. No matter how much you love your job, working from home for eight hours straight without any kind of break gets tiring after a while.

Woman in bed having a burnout

According to a recent survey by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, 44% of employees said that they would feel more comfortable if their employer offered flexible hours but only 23% said they would take advantage of flexible schedules if offered.

This means that employees are afraid to ask for time off or if work is too much, which can lead to burnout and ultimately high turnover rates in the long run.

#2 Culture taking a backseat

This point is often gets ignored, but it is just as important. Working remotely can be incredibly lonely if you don't have an office to go to, which means that how your company treats its employees at the office becomes even more critical than ever before.

Creating a sense of togetherness and community should always come first for any organization - regardless of how big or small, they are!

Consequently, how employees communicate and how often they interact with one another is critical to the success of your company.

If you want to be successful in remote work - make sure your employees are actively engaged not only at their desks but also outside of working hours. This could mean organizing events like a happy hour after work or encouraging them to get together at the weekend.

#3 Dangerous delay mindset

You can't control how people communicate when they are in different time zones or how much work is too much. Sometimes, employees may take advantage of flexible hours and come into the office a few times per week instead of working from home.

This is why you need to set clear guidelines on how often they should be coming in for meetings with their colleagues - no matter where they are located.

If you don't set clear boundaries, employees will take advantage of how flexible your company is and how much work they can do from their homes which could lead to a dangerous delay mindset in the long run where deadlines aren’t being met or results are achieved.

#4 Distance bias

Another issue that can arise with remote work is that it leads to distance bias.

For example, if you are working remotely for someone on the other side of the world - how do they know how hard you're working? Do they trust what you tell them about your progress or how much time and effort you’re putting in?

This is why the way you communicate and how much effort and work ethic you put in over the phone or internet becomes even more important. Your employer needs to know that their time and money are being invested into a worthwhile project where they will get results, not just sit back at home for eight hours doing nothing.

If your boss can’t see how much effort you’re putting in - how can they know that their money is being spent wisely?

#5 Lack of meeting preparation

One of the issues that you can have with remote work is how employees may not be as prepared for meetings.

This issue often arises because there are no set meeting times or it's difficult to coordinate a time where everyone will be online so they can attend. It also means people don't always take meetings seriously and simply go through the motions instead of putting in the effort.

This is why the way your company prepares for meetings and how effective they are at communicating with their employees beforehand becomes crucial to remote work success. If you don't prepare thoroughly, people won’t be prepared which could lead to wasted time and money on both sides!

#6 Miscommunication

Miscommunication is another common issue that can arise with remote work.

This takes place for several reasons. For example, how you communicate over the phone or how fast your internet connection is will have an impact on how much information people can understand each other properly.

If there are too many delays or you don't understand what's going on then this can lead to miscommunication and a lack of productivity. In the end, it all comes down to how well employees communicate with one another!

#7 Mistrust

Mistrust is another common issue that often arises with the way you communicate in remote work situations.

For example, if someone doesn't see how much effort and time their colleagues are putting into a project - it can lead to miscommunication and mistrust which means nobody trusts each other at all! This leads to long-term issues where people start sabotaging one another.

Hence, the way you communicate with your colleagues over the phone or in person is incredibly important because it can lead to a lack of trust between employees which could have long-term effects on how well work gets done!

#8 Not having the right tools

Number eight of remote pitfalls is to consider with how your organization deals with remote work is if you don't have the right tools in place.

For example, if people are working remotely then how can they share their ideas? Do you have a platform where everyone can brainstorm together or post updates on what's going on?

images shows different tools

It's also how you deal with people getting paid. If everyone is being paid in different ways then how can they keep track of their money? You need to have a system where your employees can see how much time they worked, what projects were completed, and when - so that way everybody gets the same information at once!

This all comes down to how your company deals, collaborate, and how you pay people. Without the right tools in place - it can become incredibly difficult to work together!

#9 Thinking digital tools are all you need

Wait, didn't you just say we need lots of tools? Yes, but it all comes down to the right tools.

Yes, it's important how your organization uses technology - but not everybody has to use it! This means people who aren't as tech-savvy or perhaps don't have access at all times should still be able to complete their work.

After all, how is it fair to leave people behind because they don't have the right tools? Instead of creating a division between employees - why not make use of other resources! For example, if you're an artist who doesn't want to use photo editing software then go outside and draw your ideas down on paper or sketch something up.

#10 Too many meetings

With how effective and productive your organization can be when it comes to communicating with one another - having unnecessary meetings is only going to add more stress.

After all, people will spend more time in a meeting than they do to complete their work which is how you get people to stop working on their tasks!

In turn, this leads to miscommunication and overall it becomes very difficult for a business or organization. The more meetings that take place - the less work gets done which means your company isn't going anywhere any time soon!

#11 Requiring a 9-to-5 schedule

If people already work 100% remotely, then why force them into having onsite times? This can lead to a lack of productivity and how you don't get as much work done in general which means less money coming in for your company!

Instead, allow your employees to work from home 100% - as long as they get the job done! This not only helps those who are parents, have small children at home, or simply can't make it into a "standard" office environment.

How to improve remote working?

Okay! After we discussed the pitfalls, let's talk about how to improve remote work and manage distributed teams.

Onboard the Right People

To begin, which talent you onboard and handle Remote Collaboration can have a huge impact.

To find the right people, you need a hiring process that allows you to find how your employees are going to fit in. For example, how do they handle their work ethic? Can they juggle multiple projects at once or are they better suited for one thing?

Be Flexible

Letting employees work how they want, when they want is how you encourage your workers to be more productive and satisfied in their job.

For example, if somebody wants to work from home once a week for three days - why not allow them! This could help the person save money on gas or public transportation fees which mean more of that income can be used for something else.

Give Feedback

If employees are remote, how do they know how well/badly they're doing? They don't! So how can your organization give them feedback promptly so that way mistakes aren't made and people stay on track with their work? Make sure you set up regular meetings with how your employees are doing so that way they stay in the loop.

Encourage Staff to Socialize

We know how important it is to encourage your employees to socialize with one another - but how do you make sure those in different areas can effectively communicate?

For example, if a company only has two people working from home and they're on opposite sides of the country/world - how does that work? One way would be for each worker to video chat with the other person and how you can make sure they're both on task.

Train Staff for Remote Working

A lot of people can be used to a typical office environment where everybody is in the same room and how they don't need any special tools beyond their computer/laptop.

For example, how you teach staff to communicate is vital if your company does any type of remote work! You might need them to use video chat or audio calling so that way everybody can get on the same page and how there will be no miscommunication.

After all, this helps enforce how important how you communicate is to how your company operates. This makes sure that everybody knows what they need to do and how it's not just "about the work" but rather about making sure everyone can connect - no matter where they're located!

Establish Communication Channels

The more communication channels you have, the more difficult it'll get for people to stay on top of how everything is going.

To improve remote work, It's best to define one or two communication channels. The first one could be email, the second one skype or slack.

Communication Is King

How do you make sure everybody knows how often they need to check-in? How will people know what's expected of them if there are multiple channels like email and chat? What about when somebody leaves the company - how can employees still get feedback/recognize their accomplishments even though they're no longer working there?

Rule of Three

Lastly, how do you make sure people are being productive without micromanaging them? We suggest using a "rule of three."

This means that instead of checking how your employees are doing every single hour - how about once every few hours or maybe even just once!

This will allow them to feel how they're free how that way you can still keep track of what everybody is doing - without making it seem like how much you need/want control.

Develop Processes

You must encourage your employees to work how they want and when they want - but what about how processes will be handled?

For example, if somebody doesn't show up for a meeting or forgets something that was planned ahead of time how does that affect how the company operates itself going forward.

Establish a Clear Work Schedule

When times people work is unclear, how can they expect to stay on top of their workload?

It's important how you make sure your employees understand how much time they have for certain aspects of the day. For example, if somebody knows how many hours are dedicated to working with a client - that way it helps them know when everything will be done.

Remote work shouldn't be how everybody is hanging out all the time. Instead, how about encouraging face-to-face interactions through video calling and other forms of communication! This way how you can make sure everybody knows how often they should be checking in and how there's no confusion.

Track How Employees Spend Their Time

You should know how much time your employees spend on certain tasks and how that way there's no disorganized business. For example, how will people be able to tell when something is too long or not enough? This is how you can figure out how to improve how your company operates as a whole.

Make Roles and Responsibilities Clear

You need to define how much responsibility everybody has when it comes to certain aspects of the business.

For example, if somebody is in charge how making sure that there are no mistakes or errors before a project goes out - then how do they know how well things have been going? How can they make sure everything is done on time and how do they know how well things are going without micromanaging everybody?

Use Collaborative Platforms

Communication again! And in most cases, there's so much headroom for Improvements.

How about using a collaborative platform how gives everyone access to certain documents and files? For example, if somebody has an idea for something new how do they share it with the rest of the team? You need to know how much sharing is appropriate how that way everybody will stay on the same page.

This can come in how forms how tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote - but how about also using collaborative platforms like slack? This gives everyone access to see what's going on without having to be glued to their computers or smartphones all day long!

Live Caption Zoom Meetings

A lot of people want to avoid telephone calls. This is why we recommend using a tool like Live Caption Zoom Meetings. This gives everyone access how the same document at the same time and how you can easily communicate about certain aspects of your project how that way there's no miscommunication.

Build a Remote-Friendly Workplace Environment

We know how much it can be sometimes to work from home - but how about working in an environment how is more remote-friendly? For example, you could have designated spaces how employees can go and focus on certain tasks without feeling like they're disturbing others how this way there's no miscommunication.

Make sure you communicate how well your employees are doing. That way they feel like their workload is distributed equally and that the goals of everybody in the company align together!

Transcribe All Meetings, Briefs, and Calls

One of the biggest complaints about how people work remotely are that they feel like they're not up to speed on what's going on and how their opinions aren't being heard. This is how you can make sure everybody feels included in important discussions and also how it makes communicating easier for everyone!

When your employees know how much time is spent talking about how much time is spent working, how that way everybody knows how well they're doing and how there's no confusion.

Building a remote work culture

This one's huge! Building a culture for remote teams should be on top of your priority list. When you have a culture, people feel more engaged, and their productivity increases.

The best thing about building a culture is how it starts with small things, like setting up regular meetings or including everybody in bigger projects how this way people feel more included!

Be explicit about your work policy how

That way there's no ambiguity about how people are expected to conduct themselves.

Communicate the mission and goals clearly how

You need how everybody knows what's expected of them and how they fit into the big picture. This way, people will feel like their work has a purpose!

The best way to improve remote work is to make sure that everyone is having a clear picture is to make your mission and goals are clear how that way everybody knows how well they're doing.

Define how you work together how

That way there's no ambiguity about how you communicate how well how processes are working. For example, when do people need to be available? How should they reach out in case of emergencies? What tasks can be delegated how that way everyone knows their roles and responsibilities!

How to engage remote employees

Remote employees how to feel like they're part of the team, how that's why it's important how you create a sense how inclusion in all kinds of projects!

There are lots how different ways how you can do this.

  1. First, make sure that everyone feels like they're part of the team how that way there's no miscommunication and how you feel included in important discussions.
  2. Build a remote-friendly workplace environment
  3. We've mentioned this earlier, but we can't stress enough how much having designated spaces where employees can focus on certain tasks
  4. Make sure you communicate how well your employees are doing. That way they feel like their workload is distributed equally and how that the goals of everybody in the company align together!
  5. Define how you work together. That way there's no ambiguity about how people are expected to conduct themselves.
  6. Don't forget how to engage remote employees how that way they feel like their work has a purpose!
  7. Make sure everyone feels included in important discussions and how it makes communicating easier for everybody!
  8. Then build a culture, like setting up regular meetings or including everybody in bigger projects how this way people feel more included!

Conclusion

This is how to improve remote working!

Make sure how you hire individuals who have experience working remotely how this shows them how much responsibility they have when it comes to sharing their progress with others and also being able to manage their own time how that way they can be more productive!

Now, you might be wondering how to make sure your remote work program succeeds. Well, there's no better time than now! Start implementing these tips right away so everyone can start feeling like part of a unified team.