The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies and organizations to have their employees work from home in order to slow the spread of the virus. As a result, the number of people working from home has skyrocketed in recent months.
According to an article published in 2022 by Justina Alexandra Sava with Statista, regarding remote work frequency before and after COVID-19 in the United States, she cited that before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 17 percent of U.S. employees worked from home 5 days or more per week, a share that increased to 44 percent during the pandemic. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the remote working trend, as quarantines and lockdowns made commuting and working in an office close to impossible for millions around the world. Remote work, also called telework or working from home (WFH), provided a solution, with employees performing their roles away from the office supported by specialized technology, eliminating the commute to an office to remain connected with colleagues and clients.
This shift to remote work has not been without its challenges. Many employees have faced due to the sudden shift to remote work include feeling isolated and disconnected from their colleagues, difficulty staying motivated and productive, and struggles with technology and communication. Many employees have also had to juggle their work responsibilities with caring for children or other family members who are also at home. Additionally, some employees may not have a suitable workspace at home, which can make it difficult to focus and get work done.
In a recent poll conducted in September of 2022, Marija Kojic with clockify.me asked 19 experts who have experience working remotely in different positions to share their biggest challenges of remote work.
Here’s what a few of the experts stated from their own experience:
The main challenge I face as a remote worker is isolation. Although, the benefits are that I can more or less work my own hours (pressing deadlines aside) and from any location, the fact that I work alone (as a sociable person) is something that I’ve had to overcome. When I worked in an office back in Australia, my colleagues were also my friends. We would socialize often, particularly for that great institution of workplaces around the world: Friday night drinks. ~Diane Lee | freelance writer, editor, and author | Diane’s challenge #1: Isolation
Although some people can relish not having to interact with colleagues on a daily basis, it can sometimes be lonely when you are a remote worker. Work colleagues can become lifelong friends and form the basis of a lot of social activities. With modern technology, working remotely doesn’t always have to equal working alone. There are many ways to connect with people both online and face-to-face, and many co-working spaces are now available if you enjoy working alongside others in an office environment. ~ James Rice | SEO & Growth Marketing Professional | James’ challenge #2: Loneliness
As a founder of my company, I supervise staff daily. Not only do I work remotely, the majority of my team works remotely as well. Our staff was becoming disjointed, unguided, and didn’t understand how their tasks helped the business. There was little opportunity to converse. I began a weekly Google Hangout and signed everyone up for the same project management/task manager program. The first thing I do each morning is review and provide guidance on the questions and yesterday’s work. ~ Earl White | Real Estate Attorney | Earl’s challenge #2: Team monitoring
Despite these challenges, the transition to remote work has also had some positive impacts. For example, it has allowed many employees to have a better work-life balance, as they no longer have to commute to the office each day.
In terms of productivity, the data is mixed. Some studies in 2022 have found that employees are actually more productive when working from home, while others have found no significant difference in productivity levels.
It remains to be seen what the long-term effects of the shift to remote work will be. Some companies are already planning to continue allowing their employees to work from home even after the pandemic ends, while others are eager to get back to the office.
Overall, the move to remote work has been a major change for the workforce, and it will be interesting to see how it continues to evolve in the coming months and years.
Additional Statistics by the US Census Bureau: Those Who Switched to Telework Have Higher Income, Education and Better Health
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