Remote work makes employees feel productive, if not more so, according to the Future of Work survey's 880 participants. Employees also stated that their teams are productive, although it is still too early to definitively say whether employee views of productivity correspond to overall organisational productivity.
Maintaining a professional connection with important stakeholders has not become more complex, according to 54% of respondents, while 46% say the opposite. This could be largely related to personality differences, which is something managers should take into account while attempting to understand the demands of their staff.
Most employees feel just as productive when working remotely, at the same time there are common fears that remote workers may be a challenge for them.
Definition of remote workers
Remote workers are individuals who typically work from home or in another location outside of their primary office, and it's one of the reasons why people love remote work.
According to Cambridge Dictionary, remote working is having employees work from home or another location other than the company's primary office.
You can successfully finish tasks, connect with your team, and even lead a team in the digital age even if you are not in the same room or even the same city. This means that as long as you have a laptop and internet access, you can work remotely from anywhere rather than commute to an office.
Further, with technological advances and the ability to work from anywhere, remote working has its challenges.
The challenges remote workers face include difficulties in maintaining a consistent schedule, lack of proper communication and collaboration with co-workers, feeling isolated from the rest of the team, and fear remote workers could face that.
Here are fears for remote workers and ways to overcome the fears.
4 Fears of Remote Workers
1. Fear of isolation
The most common issues among remote workers that have been observed to be problematic are loneliness, isolation, and fear of missing out (FOMO) in remote work, which can have an impact beyond simply the individual, according to Forbes.
The signs of isolation are higher stress levels and poor decision-making. These are uncomfortable traits for an employer in someone with significant authority. Being alone also makes it challenging for employers to recognise these symptoms.
Further, Fear of isolation can impact remote team members’ productivity and burnout. Hence, as a remote worker, you need to realise the signs of fear of isolation.
2. Fear of unclear expectations
Remote work phobia is real, the fear of unclear expectations is one of them. Both managers and staff can experience fear of unclear expectations.
It may come when managers fear that the staff take a nap and do not have a sense of responsibility while working remotely, and the staff fear failure to achieve the goals.
Several factors may contribute to the fear of failure. For some people, having an unsupportive working environment, and fear of loss of opportunities while working remotely. It can carry bad feelings for remote workers.
3. Fear of disconnection from the team
When remote team members work independently of one another, their social connections may occasionally suffer. Fear of disconnection from the team, and the risk of feeling socially isolated, or being cut off from the team are real.
When team members feel disconnected at work, they can experience some impact such as anxiety and depression. Loneliness, stress, and burnout are all possible sources of anxiety and depression at the office. It's frightening to learn that anxiety affects over half 47% of remote workers and that two-thirds report that it has reduced their productivity.
4. Fear of lack of support
You can flourish as an employee if you receive continuous encouragement and appreciation. You can create a support network among your bosses and coworkers to create a positive work atmosphere.
However, remote work challenges sometimes may give employees the fear of lack of support. The minimum interaction while working remotely may require more than asking for help from your coworkers. At the same time, we know that asking for support can boost our self-assurance as a worker.
Further, it’s important that support can inspire you to persevere through difficulties, and urge others to notice the initiative you show in your work.
4 Ways to Overcome Fears of Remote Workers
1. Build clear communication
All businesses must have effective communication to succeed, but working remotely this requirement is even more pressing. Since 2009, the number of remote workers has increased by 159%, and 16% of businesses globally now employ just remote workers.
The importance of communication in our daily lives will increase as businesses continue to adopt a culture that allows remote work flexibility. Hence, remote team members need to build clear communication.
Clear communication can help your team members overcome fears while working remotely. For example, clear communication can prevent your team from the fear of lack of support.
2. Set realistic goals
Using the S.M.A.R.T strategy to set goals for your remote team is one of the smartest and most attempted methods.
The acronym SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) refers to a traditional goal-setting technique. You can set relevant, outcome-driven goals for your remote team using this technique.
The specific goals must be clearly defined and significant. Decide what outcomes you wish to attain, then set your objectives accordingly. You may track the efficiency of your remote workforce with the help of measurable goals. Set goals that are achievable and relevant for your team. Further, the timeline for goals should be adjusted.
3. Create a sense of community
Getting to know your coworkers and teammates is a good approach to keeping or developing a sense of community while working from home. To give them a better understanding of your workplace, couch, or living room than what they may see in virtual meetings, thinking about giving them a tour of your workspace can be a nice idea.
Further, after getting to know your coworkers, you can share your hobbies or go to the same gym.
Keep in mind that everyone you work with is a person, therefore it's crucial to remember to express gratitude, be nice, and take into account how you would communicate with other employees if you were in an office or face-to-face.
4. Develop a robust IT support system
Those who work remotely may have different hours than those who work in an office. It's anticipated that some employees may also need to change to new work schedules as a result of remote employment.
When the system crashes or they are unable to access the resources, remote members may need rapid assistance. Make sure they can get in touch with the IT team at any moment to give your staff the best IT assistance possible.
IT support systems can be formed as a service desk, cyber security, and cloud hosting.
Most employees report feeling at least as productive when working from home. Despite the fact that it is still too early to say with certainty whether employee perceptions of productivity correspond to overall organisational productivity, employees also claimed that their teams are productive when working remotely.
Working remotely has its challenges, but maintaining a professional connection with key stakeholders has not become more difficult. Remote workers can experience the fear of isolation, unclear expectations, disconnect from the team, and a lack of support.
Hence, building clear communication, setting realistic goals, creating a sense of community, and developing a robust IT support system can be options to overcome the fear of remote workers.