Remote working isn’t as easy as you think

Before the Covid-19, there were around 4.2 million of us enjoying the benefits of remote working – that’s 13.9% of the entire UK workforce, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

But the coronavirus lockdown has seen more employees than ever working remotely, with some businesses setting up entire remote workforces and call centres almost overnight.

And while we regular readers will know we’re right behind remote working, it’s not always as easy as it should be, especially if you have to work from a coffee shop, or don’t quite have the right set up at home.

This infographic from Turnstone, designers of inspiring office furniture, highlights the problems faced by anyone working away from the office.

The trouble with remote working

A survey of 2,022 adults across the United States, the report found that almost three-quarters (71%) of employed workers work remotely at times, and nearly two-thirds (64%) of workers were found to be most productive when they worked from home. But this dropped dramatically to 18% when using a co-working space, and just 6% when working from a coffee shop (6%).

And while the accepted wisdom is that remote working is good for productivity, this study found that frequently working away from the office actually had a detrimental effect on productivity levels. This is a statistic that’s all the more concerning – from an employer’s perspective, at least – by the fact that a FlexJobs study reported that almost two-third (64%) of companies don’t have formal remote working policy and only 3% of organisations measure performance, engagement, and productivity to quantify ROI.

So if you don’t monitor the performance of your remote workforce, it may be high time you did.

More than seven out of 10 (72%) reported having some problems when working outside the office, with over a third (35%) complaining phone conversations could be difficult to hear and keep up with, while more than a quarter (26%) cited limited WiFi/internet access.

The absence of printing facilities was a problem for a quarter (25%) of those surveyed, while just under a quarter (24%) struggled to connect to company servers.

If you’ve ever had problems when working from home, a co-working space, or a coffee shop, see if any of this sounds familiar…

How to stop overworking

Over working can be a huge problem when working remotely, and even if you take regular breaks during the day, these still might not offset the fact that you’re often starting earlier and working later.

Here are some things you can do to avoid the problem of overworking:

  • Set reminders for the end of the day – If you’ve got your head buried in your tasks, it can be all to easy to miss the end of the day, meaning you work well past clocking off time. One way around this is to set a reminder at the end of the day, and maybe even set a specific task to do once the working day is done, such as going to the shops, doing some exercise or even get stuck into a book while relaxing. It will also help to set up similar reminders for regular breaks during the day.
  • Let everyone else know when you’re leaving – Peer pressure can be used positively in this instance, and getting the rest of your colleagues on board with an agreed time to clock off means everyone is more likely to stick to it.
  • Turn your notifications off – Having email, Teams or Slack notifications set up on your smartphone or smartwatch means you could be getting messages from those still working, long into the evening or first thing in the morning. And that can make it even more difficult to switch off. So turn off those notifications until work starts.

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