What are the disadvantages of working from home?

What are the disadvantages of working from home?

Working from home is a hot topic at the moment – and is fast becoming a new reality for many people. There is a lot of information about the pros of remote working. But for some staff and employers, there are also disadvantages to working from home.

Flexible working specialists redwigwam look at some of the frequently asked questions about the disadvantages of working from home, and offer some solutions on how to overcome them.

  • Why is there a lack of team spirit when everyone works from home?

It’s true. Working at home, on your own is a very different experience to working in an office. While there are advantages – less disruption (nothing worse than being interrupted mid-email to be pulled into a pointless meeting – right?), there is also an inevitable loss of office banter and the camaraderie which goes with it.

To overcome it, try to organise regular face-to-face meetings – whether annually, quarterly or more frequently, set the dates in advance and make it clear people need to attend. Here at redwigwam, we also use a virtual office space with video capabilities, meaning everyone can be in the same room, even if they’re not physically together.

You also need to make sure everyone is aligned to business objectives – and openly share success achievements and what individuals are working on.  

  • Why is it hard to manage a team and get them to be accountable?

Is this an issue with people working from home – or just poor management skills?

Remote managing home workers is a different skill – but it is one which can be learnt. One simple tip is breeding a culture of accountability in your team. Set clear responsibilities and expectations. Get them to understand each other’s tasks and who owns what. Share what worked – and what didn’t.

  • Why is it so difficult for the teams to communicate?

Arguably, this can be just as much of an issue for teams who are together in the same office…

Okay, you do miss asking the person sitting next to you a quick question – but it’s resolvable. Our office software has a chat function, plus we use WhatsApp, email and good old-fashioned phone calls!

Meetings can easily be held virtually – there are loads of options for video conferencing – and the benefit of this is the meeting can be recorded and kept on file. Has to be better than circulating meeting notes and actions?

  • Why are the team less productive when they work from home?

There are arguments for and against this – but honestly, if someone isn’t going to be productive, it will happen whether they are in the office or at home…

Set ground rules for your home working team. Encourage them to take regular breaks and plan their time. But don’t set too many rules around time. Allow people to work when they are most productive rather than forcing them to stick to traditional hours. You’ll see productivity fly!  

  • How do I get staff to distinguish between leisure time and work time?

If you’re new to managing a remote team, to a certain extent you’re going to have to allow staff to manage their own time. You can’t stop them from putting their washing on – or going out for a run at lunchtime, but you can allow them to work slightly different hours to suit them and their family. What you will probably find is productivity soars, as people will work when they are at their most productive.

Make sure your team have clear KPIs and deliverables and when they need to deliver updates on these. Make yourself accessible – but remember this doesn’t have to be 24/7 – you also need downtime too.

And ultimately, you have to trust people.

  • How can I work from home securely?

This can be an issue – but it is one which is very easily resolved. To start with, encourage best-working practises (locking your screens and set them to lock automatically when idle for example).

You can also use password managers and remote wipe-clean apps to make sure data can be retrieved if needed. And it goes without saying to make sure your team have up-to-date anti-virus software installed.  

As a team who have been working as a mix of office based and remotely for the last 5 years, we can confirm it can work! Clear communication is key – and setting realistic goals and expectations.

Any other questions or objections you’d add to our list?

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