How to avoid frustration in remote work!

Today, 12/10/2022,  is the International Moment of Frustration Scream Day, a day from the list of curious holidays. But in remote office, sometimes you could actually just scream. What can you do about the frustration in the home office?

Hybrid working time models are here to stay. What started during the pandemic is now everyday life in a large number of companies. While employees enjoy more flexibility and employers often benefit from increased productivity, there are also some negative factors associated with the home office.

Isolation in home office due to remote work

Several studies prove that a higher degree of social isolation and less organizational identification are direct consequences of remote work. It is crucial that organizations must develop countermeasures to better integrate employees who work from home more intensely into organizational routines to decrease their feelings of social isolation and increase their organizational identification. According to the Work Trend Index 2022, 43% of leaders say relationship-building is the greatest challenge in hybrid and remote work—but it’s one worth prioritizing.

The spontaneous chat at the coffee machine that is so necessary on a purely human level may not be possible. But hybrid work also allows spontaneous chats. Some companies e.g. introduced informal chats with different topics so that people with common interests can meet and exchange. Also work related, spontaneous online meetings for brainstorming are a great opportunity to involve employees at an early stage in idea finding and development processes. Work can be less hierarchical and more cooperative.

New forms of communication and collaboration

How to avoid frustration in remote work!

There are plenty of great communication tools – if they are used in the right way. Hundreds of chat messages that don´t concern you and which makes you overlook important things, a message without a personal greeting that makes you feel upset, a short message that you don’t understand properly, are the negative side of the tools.  In Instant messaging, team chats, working emails – conversation with colleagues have changed. But written conversation can also lead to misunderstandings. Speaking directly with a colleague is often much more effective, in remote work. So don´t forget tu use the phone and be very concise in communicating. Take care if you use an individual chat or a channel for a project team – make some rules, try them out and adjust them if needed.

In remote work, it is important to ensure transparency and that everyone has the necessary level of knowledge to use the implemented tools. Decisions and determinations should be written down in a way that is accessible and comprehensible to all, and making the progress of work visible on digital boards helps cooperation, but also monitoring… Decide on digital tools and introduce them carefully. A good technical infrastructure must be a matter of course, as well as training and rules on how to use them.

When working life enters your home

How to avoid frustration in remote work-2Another negative factor is the feeling of being, “always on”. When work becomes more flexible,  digital overload can be a risk. Mary Czerwinski and Shamsi Iqbal, two Microsoft researchers with decades of experience studying productivity, focus, and wellbeing, recommend e.g. to use the delay delivery feature in Outlook for emails outside of established working hours, to write NOT URGENT in the headline of emails or chats when your colleague is in a meeting or it’s outside of working hours, to use the “required” and “optional” lines of meeting invites to help people prioritize their time, to consider designating certain days or time blocks “meeting-free“, etc. (Read more here!).

Controlling and trust

A challenge for employers is to allow a certain level of trust. Many companies openly show their distrust and introduce software to measure productivity. Spatial distance and a lack of direct contact between management and employees do not make the situation easy, but satisfied employees are good employees. Leaders who trust their employees can gain besides a lasting advantage in the increasing competition for talent. So it is important to keep the right balance of monitoring and controlling measures.

Virtual working environments undoubtedly increase the demands on managers. They need to build functioning teams and create lasting change, in remote work. Successful companies meet this challenge by promoting new team-building behaviours and implementing corresponding leadership positions.

Our project, E(U) Leaders is here to help you manage your team effectively and efficiently within remote working environments!

Stay tuned for more!

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