Remote work used to be a dream for people exhausted from long commutes, or for introverts who dread heading into the office each day. But now that it's reality for most employees, it turns out that it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Read on for the 4 most common sentiments remote employees wish their bosses knew—and what remote teams can do to address them.
"I'm burning out."
The normal work day used to involve psychological cues triggered by physical locations: You'll probably feel more like working at the office, and are ready to relax once you get through your front door. However, there's a common assumption that working from home is more prone to distractions than working at the office, and so most employees tend to compensate by overworking. The work-life balance eventually deteriorates, and burnout is inevitable. What now? One way to restore balance is to set a schedule for everything—including your breaks—and stick to it religiously. Don't think of work outside work hours or on weekends, and encourage your teammates to do the same. Finally, don't bring your work to bed! Instead, create a space dedicated to working so your mind associates specific locations in your house to work or rest. If you're feeling extra, dress up in your work clothes (or at least don't wear pajamas).
"I feel lonely."
Maybe you're one of many who looked to after-work hangouts with colleagues as a way to destress. But with the various applications companies use to keep their remote teams in touch, it's difficult to keep up with the things going on in the lives of your co-workers, or to know if you're being left out of the loop. On the whole, it can feel very isolating, and constantly feeling lonely can lead to depression in the long run. What now? Encourage your remote team to play some games, create channels for casual communication, or set up virtual drinking sessions on the weekend. With all the technology available at our fingertips, the possibilities are endless, so go ahead and experiment—you don't have to do it alone.
"I miss my old office chair."
Not all of us have a separate room at home serving as a study or personal library. Many of us may just be working at the dining table or on the living room couch. No one's meant to sit there for eight hours, so you may have found yourself feeling an ache in your tailbone. Though it might be impacting productivity, studies have shown that many employees are reluctant to tell their bosses about musculoskeletal pain caused by insufficient work-from-home setups. This is mostly due to job security concerns and uncertainty about what they have a right to request as employees. What now? One solution that organizations can put in place is to encourage remote workers to invest in their workspaces. Ergonomic furniture—like desk chairs with plenty of back support, standing desks that let staff avoid sitting for too long, and even wrist rests that can help them avoid pain—can go a long way in maximizing comfort and boosting productivity even when working from home. Your team can put up a reimbursement program for expenses and provide resources for learning healthy working habits, too.
"I feel like I'm lagging behind."
No two remote workers are the same—the productivity of a parent with a toddler may not be the same as that of their single teammate in their early 20s. Feeling that you're a step behind everyone else in contributing to the team can hit your self-confidence and may even decrease your productivity further. What now? Remind every member that they are still valuable to the remote team: It's the synergy of the whole that counts. Also look into talking with each member about their work expectations so it can be catered to their respective home situations.
Editorial penned for zoomvirtualoffice.com
by Julienne Blaire