Three Biggest Struggles of the Remote Worker — and How to Fix Them
For several years now, the idea of remote work has appealed to many companies and individuals alike, and in 2020, many of us were required to work from our homes whether we wanted to or not. However, it’s now 2023, and COVID-19 is officially no longer considered a public health emergency. Many have returned to the office, while others have fully adopted the remote work-style and with this comes highs and lows. We’ve not only highlighted the three biggest struggles of the remote worker, but we’ve also provided solutions.
The top struggle most remote workers state is not being able to unplug, according to a recent report, and this makes complete sense when you realize you work remotely; your devices become your office. That’s where work happens, where you get notifications, and where you hear from your coworkers. If you’re like most people in 2023, your devices are a big part of your daily life. Your cell phone isn’t just where you call your family, it’s where you respond to emails. You scroll on social media on it while still checking Slack messages.
Working in an office provides a physical distance, and the commute gives you the temporal distance that allows your mind to transition from work to rest. When you don’t have either of those distancing options available, like in remote work, you have to create your own. Make sure you’re working in a designated work space and with specific work electronics, if possible. If these electronics aren’t an option, try setting limitations within them. iPhones and other Apple products allow you to set different Focus options, including Do Not Disturb, where you can allow only certain contacts and apps to notify you within designated time frames.
If you no longer have a commute to set the temporal distance, try taking a walk around your neighborhood once you clock out for the day, or have some sort of set action you take daily to clear your mind of work.
Collaboration & Communication
Collaboration and communication are always near the top of the list of remote work struggles. In 2022, 16 percent of remote workers chose it as their top problem, and I don’t think the lack of tools is the problem. A quick search will show a long list of tools on the market for facilitating communication and collaboration, with many designed specifically for remote teams.
The root of the problem is the processes and systems within most insurance organizations aren’t set up to encourage collaboration and communication. This kind of atmosphere is crucial for any organization, but especially those where everyone works online and can’t fall back on gathering in a conference room several times a day to talk things over.
Setting up remote work collaboration takes a lot of clear intention. Some companies have a dedicated team that keeps those tools and processes top of mind and up to date, while others have a dedicated head of remote. Either way, it’s important to designate someone who takes responsibility for how work happens remotely. Without clear ownership over that experience, no one implements best practices, and communication can deteriorate over time.
Staving off the feeling of isolation in remote work is something many of us have had to cope with. Regardless of your position, industry or personality, in-person human connection is a very real physical and emotional necessity, and it can be jarring to suddenly lose many of those connections and small personal interactions that are taken for granted in an office environment.
Loneliness can also be very damaging to organizations. Lonely workers say they are less engaged, less productive and they even report lower retention rates. This is a massive topic that touches on points of mental health and wellness that we cannot fully speak to. We can, however, offer a few examples of steps your company can take to help remote workers create more connections at work and be more vulnerable, both of which have been shown to help with combating loneliness.
Again, organizations must act with the intention of creating space for their teammates to connect and be vulnerable. This may be a Slack channel dedicated to non-work topics like TV, pets, books and other personal hobbies. Or you may set up designated times for team members to meet in one-on-one Zoom calls a few times a week to discuss any number of topics. If you can host an in-person company-wide event, do it! Anything to keep team morale high and attrition rates low.
The future of work may not be fully remote, but it will certainly be more flexible than it has been in the past. The James Allen Companies is here to help you find the perfect opportunity, regardless of where that job takes you. We are an executive insurance recruiting firm that can find you a position where you feel appreciated and fulfilled. Our team of experienced professionals has the industry knowledge and expertise to match you with a role that will leverage your skills and provide an environment where you can thrive.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take your career to the next level.