It's promising that remote work is becoming more widespread.
Employees are already happy with the flexibility remote working offers, and employers are also starting to benefit from it.
Cost reductions and diverse remote teams present significant advantages for companies. But, as remote working grows stronger, certain issues are to occur due to its freshness.
To begin with, remote working causes impairment in employers' control over their employees. Such challenges of working might perturb business leaders because employers might feel like they are losing their competence.
Remote work is a challenge for employers, since employers are used to having a close monitoring potency over their employers in the office environment.
It gets difficult to keep track of employees and assess if they're putting in the right amount of work with remote work. It hinders continuous communication between employers and employees, resulting in a disconnection.
There might be some organizational remote work problems. Creating a shared value is essential for businesses as it's one element that keeps employees together. But in the remote work model, employees interact with the company less, and it is harder to create a mutual sense among them.
But these kinds of problems have long-term characteristics, which may prolong their respective challenges. Instead, there are more apparent issues with remote working that companies with remote work models are facing, and they need to be addressed.
Assessing the quality of work
It's hard to ensure your remote workers are doing a good job when you can't observe them in real-time. In the office environment, it's effortless to see if people are committing themselves to their job or slacking off. Although spending hours doesn't always mean quality work.
Nonetheless, traditional work allows employers to monitor their employees first-hand and creates a sense of control within their power. They know that the job is getting done.
Under remote working conditions, when everyone's on their own and employers don't know what is happening, different indicators need to measure employees' performance.
First, a trusting relationship between employers and employees must be formed. Employers need to understand that remote working is not a way to cheat work but an opportunity to commit themselves more. Companies must trust their workers that the job is being done and people have sufficient time management skills to control their workload.
The result should be the center of evaluation instead of counting how many hours the person worked to assess the quality of the job. As long as a result is adequate and the employee accurately fulfills his responsibility, how and when it's done should not be given the weight. Remote work endows employees with time flexibility, so don't take it away from them.
Understanding the essence of remote work
It's not unusual to see businesses that implemented a remote work model but kept traditional "office hours" structure. So, what is happening here is demanding employees to behave as if they're still working face to face. This is not, at least, not what remote work is about.
Remote work depends on the flexibility provided to employees. This flexibility includes the freedom to choose the work time and place for working without overstepping acceptable limits.
Companies should not hold strict office hours if they are implementing remote working. The reason is it might put them at a disadvantage about retaining their employees. The reason that employees are happy with remote working is the power that it bestows upon them to work-life balance.
Another thing that businesses should be wary of is not viewing any time of the day as an opportunity to perform tasks. Yes, remote work opens the door for late hours to be considered office hours; but let's keep in mind that as much flexibility remote work provides. It's also a part of employees' personal life and doesn't cause leaders to demand work in unusual times.
Therefore, if businesses don't want to leave the office mindset altogether, they should reconsider their remote working options. Maybe a hybrid work model or flexible working is more in sync with the policies of your business. The line should be clear.
Compensations for employees
Thanks to the remote work model, many people have changed their city or even the country. But, this has brought up some discussions regarding the compensations provided for employees, the salary in particular.
Salaries are usually computed by considering the overall financial conditions of the business's city. There are also extra benefits that companies provide, such as transportation costs or food expenses. In the case of remote work, specific changes appear about those situations.
For example, transportation costs almost disappear as there's no need for commuting anymore if working from home. Eating at home might significantly reduce food expenses of the remote employees. Also, employees might have moved to a different location where life is cheaper.
Some argue that when employees' living conditions change, so should their salaries. Paying workers less since they're not making as much expense when working remotely as in an office is their argument.
On the other hand, let's not skip over the fact that companies get rid of several expenses in the remote work model. Their utility expenses drop significantly, and they don't have to provide for transportation of their employees unless necessary. So, it's an open discussion about whether employees' salaries should be readjusted or not.
In the end, the business world is changing, and there are challenges to come as remote work advances forward. But, a challenge there always might be, and it's always the best to face it head-on. Businesses should develop company-specific strategies to create their optimal solution to implement remote work. One thing's for sure, whatever the answers will be, it'll change the dynamics for good.