It's no longer news that the COVID-19 pandemic changed so many things about how we live our lives. It has had staggering effects on the traditional work environment. Many businesses were forced to shut down as part of the preventive measures to curtail the spread of the deadly virus. Most businesses and employees have had to shift from the traditional office to working remotely to keep work going.
Working from home can be quite challenging, especially for those working remotely for the first time. With no structured office environment to help them get into the work mode, it can be quite difficult to get much work done with many distractions ranging from TV, Kids, social media, and lots more. This is why it's important for business owners and employees to learn how to adjust to their new working environment and provide strategies that can make working from home a lot easier.
Challenges of Working From Home
For most employees who are tired of waking up so early every morning to report to the office, working from home can seem like a ticket to freedom. However, it also has its challenges. Some of which includes:
1. Communication: one of the biggest challenges of working from home is effective communication. Effective communication is vital for the overall success of any business. When employees are in the same work environment, it is easier for customers to reach them via the office phone numbers.
Working from home also makes it extremely difficult to monitor how employees respond to customers' calls, as there is no supervisor physically present to monitor conversations between employees and customers.
What Businesses Can Do
• Go Virtual: with virtual phone numbers, employers can easily transfer incoming calls to employees anywhere in the world. Instead of keeping a customer waiting simply because an employee is busy, you can easily transfer the customer's calls to another employee who is available to attend to the customer's demands.
This will certainly increase your business's productivity because one missed call could mean a missed business opportunity.
• Have a system that allows you to check how your employees respond to your customers: Incorporate a phone system that allows you to keep track of conversations between employees and customers. This will help you retain control and monitor business conversations.
When you buy virtual phone numbers from companies such as SendMyCall you will be able to record the conversations between your staff and customers. This will help you rate the performance of each employee.
• Have Scheduled Daily Meetings: it's important to get daily updates about each employee's progress and the challenges he/she might be facing. This will make them feel more accountable. Employers can also pass across all necessary information during such meetings.
2. Too Many Distractions: Have you ever had to go home with some workload with the hope of getting it done over the weekend? How easy was it to get the work done? If my guess is right, you probably went back to work the following week, with half the workload left untouched!
It's so easy to get distracted while working from home. You might be tempted to take a break now and then to watch your favorite TV series, respond to a FB message, do house chores, or attend to the demands of your kids. All these will slow you down and prevent you from getting much work done.
What You Can Do
• Set Up an Office Space in Your Home: when you work in the same space you live in, time management becomes a big problem. Having a specific space set aside as a home office will help you get into the work mode more easily. Once you are within that space, you know you it's work time, and your mind automatically tries to shut out all distractions as much as possible.
• Switch off: as much as possible, try to limit the length of time you spend on your phone while working at home. Even if you have to work with your phone, you can turn off all notifications while working to help you stay focused.
Avoid the temptation of checking or replying to messages while working; this will make it almost impossible for you to stay on track.
• Avoid Procrastination: when you form the habit of leaving your work halfway to attend to other things, you may find it more difficult to finish the work on time. Once you have work to do, don't keep procrastinating because there is no physical boss to make you do the work on time.
3. Overworking: the idea of working from home may sound appealing to many workers because they visualize themselves sitting on a sofa, eating snacks, and doing very little work. However, the reality is that working from home could mean working for longer hours, sometimes far into the night. It's possible to become absorbed in a task to the extent that you find it difficult to create time for yourself and your family.
What You Can Do
• Have a Timetable: It is important to create a timetable to help you manage your time properly. Assign a time frame to every task and try to stay within that time. Learn to take your breaks as well.
Avoid the temptation of skipping your breaks because you are too engrossed in your task. When you are too stressed up, you can't stay focused and productive. Simply going for a walk might be all it takes to do the magic.
Tips For Employers To Support Employees Working Remotely
• Be More Flexible
Create more flexible working hours that allow your employees to have time to attend to their family while still staying productive. You could prioritize and redesign their works if need be. You also need to be more flexible with your company policies to provide adequate support for employees.
• Equip Your Employees With The Necessary Tech Tools Needed To Work From Home
Employees need to have access to tools that will help them stay productive while working from home. It's important for them to have PCs, Laptops, and smartphones to enable them to access the internet.
Also, employees can equip their workers with virtual phone numbers so that they can easily transfer customers' calls to a colleague if they are unavailable at the moment.
They should also have project management tracking apps and video conferencing apps to stay in touch with both the employer and the team members while working remotely.
• Provide Emotional Support For Employees
Most employees have to deal with lots of negative emotions as a result of working from home. Being disconnected from co-workers can make them feel lonely and sometimes depressed. As an employer, it's your responsibility to support them as much as possible.
Encourage your employees to exercise and get quality sleep. Also, avoid using harsh tones when making virtual calls, listen to them, and help them get medical help if need be.
Contrary to popular belief, working from home is not a ticket to freedom. It has its challenges. Businesses need to learn to adapt to this new working arrangement. With the application of the strategies listed above, both Employers and employees will find working from home much easier and more enjoyable.