Common Work from Home Challenges & How to Overcome Them
Covid-19 has disrupted how offices operate. The worldwide popularity of work from home model is a direct result of the pandemic. Research shows that about two-thirds of people prefer working from home. Studies have also revealed that remote employees tend to take fewer sick leaves than regular workers. In fact, Gen Y is ready to accept a salary cut if given the opportunity to work from home. This sounds like a perfect recipe for higher employee satisfaction and retention.
Besides, corporate houses have noticed that their financial burden could potentially go down if they switch to a complete or a partial work-from-home model. Lesser electricity expenses and minimal office workstation costs are all reasons for business houses to switch to the WFH model. But like all good things have drawbacks, the work from home model too, has its share of challenges. Here are some of the main challenges of work from home and how you can overcome them.
Challenge 1: Lack of collaborative environment
A majority of organizations are reluctant to shift to the work-from-home model during the post-pandemic era due to the lack of proper coordination among remote workers. Without proper coordination and a collaborative environment, leaders, managers, and other team members find it difficult to discuss, understand, and grasp project requirements.
This might lead to unsatisfactory performance from the remote employees. Also, this can negatively impact bonding among team members. In fact, remote workers often feel isolated due to the lack of physical presence of their colleagues.
Remedy: With the advent of state-of-the-art online collaboration tools, a window of opportunity has opened up for remote teams. Irrespective of where someone is located, he/she can efficiently get in touch with the concerned person and collaborate on the web in real-time. Most work from home productivity tools enable users to invite participants for virtual meetings, share messages, ask for live feedback, and host or join video conferences. Access to such tools enables team leaders and managers to seamlessly coordinate with their remote team.
Challenge 2: Lower productivity
When working from home, the intensity of teamwork dims, which might lead to lower productivity. Because there is no one physically present to watch over a remote worker’s daily routine, there is ample room for productivity loss. People might take this opportunity to spend time on social media or play online games. This is one of the main concerns regarding work from home.
Remedy: With work from home monitoring software, managers can track the productivity of their team members. Work from home software applications have all the necessary tools to help you monitor what’s going on within the team. With real-time collaboration tools, you can keep your remote employees active at all times.
Challenge 3: Employee progress and feedback
Another drawback of work from home is the lack of direct communication with seniors. In a brick-and-mortar office, managers can walk to an employee’s desk and review his work-related progress and then provide relevant feedback. However, the online space lacks the personal touch.
During virtual meetings, most remote workers end up saying nothing about personal development. Naturally, if there are a hundred participants in a group meeting, chances are high that ninety of them would remain silent the entire time. The most that one can do is nod their heads to whatever the team leader says. This raises a challenge for managers to gauge the abilities of his/her remote team members.
Remedy: With modern collaboration tools for a remote team, one can conduct unlimited virtual sessions through multiple communication channels like audio, video and chat. Remote workers can now reach their manager’s inbox and opt for real-time feedback. In case there’s an urgent project requirement, managers can quickly connect to their deputy and delegate various responsibilities including asking for necessary document edits or rectifications.
Challenge 4: Not everyone understands technology
The young generation is habituated with the massive technological advancements that have happened over the last two decades. As a result, they can adapt to the changing tech scenario. On the other hand, any aged person might have a hard time coping with the change. Some elder people might find it challenging to use new technology and this can be a dramatic scenario as far as the WFH model is concerned. This knowledge gap can be a potential threat to an organization’s overall efficiency and productivity.
Remedy: Today’s software for remote workers has user-friendly interfaces with easy navigation tools. These enable even new technology users to swiftly manage the dashboard and access databases without any complications. Besides, many WFH software applications also provide video and text tutorials, aiming to train newbies on how to use the specific tool.
Challenge 5: Poor time management
In a traditional office, people are molded into a deadline-oriented work culture. In contrast, work-from-home schedules offer enough flexibility to remote workers, which can lead to poor time management. Not being able to complete certain tasks within the desired timeframe can wreak havoc on the overall team workflow.
Remedy: Work from home productivity tools enable managers to assign projects to designated professionals and allocate timetables and deadlines. With top-notch management tools and integrations available in modern WFH software applications, time management has become much easier. Real-time access to files and documents makes things even more transparent and the workflow becomes quicker.
What is Work from Home Software?
Work from home software is a computer application that enables corporations to conduct remote work by streamlining everyday tasks. A work from home tool enables managers and remote workers to track and manage projects, communicate, coordinate and collaborate with other team members. Irrespective of the team size, work from home software solutions perfectly support the post-pandemic work culture.
With remote work software, you can automate your workflow, integrate third-party tools, and carry out multi-channel communication with your colleagues. Also, work from home tools aid in enhanced brainstorming, thanks to its whiteboarding tools as well as screen recording and sharing features. Now track and monitor your employees’ productivity and manage your team efficiently.
Why Do Companies Need Work from Home Software?
- Project management: Work from home software allows team leaders and managers to keep the workflow under control. Work from home tools like project management software ensure proper management, allocation, and handling of corporate projects, and tracking their progress.
- Team communication: Corporate teams must communicate among their members to seamlessly execute daily professional tasks. With work-from-home tools such as video conferencing software, managers can streamline the entire process and communicate effectively with remote team members. There is a plethora of options; including group chats, video conferences, instant messaging, file sharing, and many more that make your corporate communication and feedback process more spontaneous.
- File sharing: Companies understand the need for effective collaboration to execute any given task and achieve the desired outcome. With work from home tools like file transfer software, managers and remote workers can collaborate, share, and edit files in real-time.
- Tracking individual progress: While working remotely, it is crucial to keep an eye on the performance of distant team members. Work from home tools helps fetch insightful data that gives an overall report of whether the goals are accomplished and if the team is implementing appropriate strategies.
- Time management: When remote working is the norm, managers must keep an eye on how well the workers are managing their time. Employee time tracking tools allow you to track how long your employees are working each day and week. Being able to track time also helps charge your business clients as per the number of hours spent on each project.
- Enhanced security: The digital realm is full of data security threats. And when you are shifting to remote online work, you are bound to store valuable data on the cloud. In order to keep your data and systems secured, an extra layer of protection should be added. With top-notch work-from-home tools like enterprise security solutions, you need not worry anymore about your organizational data security and routine backups. Some tools also come with two-factor authentication, further enhancing your digital security.
- Automation of repetitive tasks: Work from home software applications help in maximizing organizational productivity by automating repetitive tasks, enabling employees to focus on more complex projects that require deeper attention. Additionally, you can streamline your team’s entire workflow with automation. This leads to cost-effective processes.
Key Features of Work from Home Software
- Automated workflow: Work from home software automates the entire workflow, from adding project labels, filling specific fields, conducting small and complex tasks, to organizing all cyclical activities.
- Customized workflow: Work from home tools can be utilized to design the task flow for specific projects, depending upon the priority and specific requirements.
- Centralized storage: Work from home applications help you to store data on the cloud and secure it with enhanced protection layers. Now access information remotely, from any place at any time.
- Multi-channel communication: Communicate with remote team members using multiple channels, including video, instant message, audio, and live conference. This is crucial for conveying relevant messages to appropriate members in real-time.
- Collaboration: With work from home software applications, it’s easier to collaborate with other members of the team, and share & edit documents remotely. Providing real-time feedback has also gotten easier with remote work software.
- Integrated virtual assistants: Modern work from home software solutions enable users to integrate virtual assistants like Google Home and Alexa to ease task management and get work done faster.
- Seamless dashboard: State-of-the-art dashboard of work from home software applications supports superior task navigation and organization of projects. The dashboard allows you to restrict employees’ access to confidential information.
- Screen sharing & recording: The screen recording and sharing feature enables editors and managers to train their team and also provide real-time feedback, irrespective of each participant’s location.
- Whiteboarding: Whiteboarding has become the most preferred feature for remote teams that rely on visual online collaboration. Work from home software programs offers teams the freedom to brainstorm ideas online and share different perspectives with relevant members in real-time.
- Online office suite: Thanks to the work from home software solutions, the cultural gap between traditional offices and home workstations has been reduced to a significant extent. With online office suites in the arsenal, managers can lead their team, assign tasks, set deadlines, accept submissions, and many more, right from their remote location.
- Team insights: View detailed reports and insights based on the work routine of your remote workers. This particular feature helps team leaders review their team’s performance and monitor key productivity metrics.
- Security: Work from home systems help in avoiding data losses and prevents security breaches, courtesy of their multi-layer protection.
Benefits of Work from Home Software
- Exceptional project management: Right from communicating with remote employees to providing real-time feedback, a work from home tool offers 360-degree features to streamline your entire project tracking and management requirements. This also includes real-time tracking of project progress, collaborating with team members, dividing team members into appropriate work groups, and providing instant feedback.
- Customized dashboard: Dashboards in work from home software applications enables users to oversee work reports and allocate tasks to different teams. The comprehensive dashboard also helps track productivity and progress, as well as monitor the overall team performance.
- Calculating individual progress: With the right remote working tools in your business arsenal, you can keep an eye on your employees' productivity and figure out the time frame they are spending on leisure activities while still being on duty. This tool has a significant advantage since it allows the admin to track the time spent in various events, such as conferences, meetings, focused tasks, etc. This helps in detecting the potential productivity killers and therefore, cutting down on unnecessary chores.
- Cultural amalgamation: With remote working software programs, companies can hire the best talent from around the globe, without worrying about time-zone differences. This leads to the opportunity of building a culturally diverse workplace, adding more depth in the work culture and higher credibility to the organization.
- Maintain safe distance: The pandemic might have slowed down significantly, but it hasn’t ended yet. This calls for a safe distance among individuals. Organizations that have a higher number of employees can minimize their risk of community transmission just by adopting the right set of work from home software.
- Save money: Companies can save tons of money by transitioning to the remote working model and work from home tools. With a remote working team, organizations would not require draining cash for renting or buying office space, paying utility bills, and paying travel allowance to employees.
- Streamline operations: With the right type of work from home tool, you can streamline your entire process. This ensures that none of the important tasks are overlooked and neither do your employees need to kill time by conducting smaller repetitive tasks on a routine basis.
Different Types of Work from Home Software Systems
Depending on the nature of your business, there are a plethora of options available in our online marketplace, as far as remote working tools are concerned. Here are the different types of programs suitable for distinct tasks:
- Team Collaboration Software: As the name suggests, team collaboration software is best suited for virtual teamwork. Using this kind of software helps you to efficiently collaborate on projects, share documents with relevant team members, edit files online, and provide feedback from remote locations. Remote working software simulates an online workspace for team members who do not meet regularly.
- Video conferencing software: With modern video calling facilities, conferencing software programs enable managers to hold virtual meetings, resembling a traditional meeting room. With this particular type of software, you can collaborate with your team members on another level. For important meeting sessions, you can even record the screen for future references. Note-taking is a habit of the past, as screen recording is the new industrial trend.
- Time tracking software: One of the most obvious challenges of the work from home model is the extent of productivity that remote workers bring to the table. Managers often are stressed by the probability of their team members not working enough. With employee time tracker software, one can be sure that the productivity level of remote employees isn’t falling off. This promotes a sense of constant supervision, as your colleagues continue working from their homes.
- Endpoint protection software: When your employees are working from the office, you have total control over how they spend their time on the internet. An in-house IT team can detect any malicious threats lurking on the web and take adequate precautions to protect the organization’s system. But in WFH scenarios, such control and vigilance might be somewhat missing. However, contrary to the belief, an endpoint protection software takes care of all potential security threats and blocks any malware that the remote worker might have clicked accidentally. This ensures that the organizational data and sensitive information are protected.
- Remote Access Software: In a work from home office setting, being able to access your employees’ computing devices can be necessary at times. For instance, if a WFH intern is stuck in the middle of a complex dataset, you can simply get access to his/her computer and solve the issue efficiently. Remote access software enables managers to work with their colleagues from remote locations. It helps in connecting two remote devices for professional and educational purposes. With such a technological marvel available for all, distance is no more a hindrance in the way of corporate productivity.
- Project Management Software: As a project manager, you are required to handle and monitor multiple projects simultaneously. Even a few years ago, this seemed like a dream to accomplish in a remote work scenario. However, in the modern era of tech superiority, remote project management has become just a matter of clicks. With project management software, not only you get the ability to handle numerous projects but also the tools to manage teams of any size. Tracking employee work hours and generating project reports have also become easier with such applications.
How to Choose the Best Work from Home Software?
With many types of work from home software applications available in the marketplace, it is crucial for you to choose the right one for your daily requirements. Here are the main factors to look for:
- Cloud support: Cloud-based remote work software uses a centralized database that ensures data and information are universally available across all workstations irrespective of the user’s location.
- Interface: A user-friendly interface makes it easier for everyone in your team to navigate the software and generate meaningful information without hassles.
- Security: Work from home software with enhanced security protection ensures your data is protected from malware. This also means your confidential information is uncompromised.
- Integration: Choose the software that supports the integration of external applications, which makes your workflow easily executable and accessible in the long run.
- Scalability: Always make sure that the work from home software that you choose has the capacity to scale adequately in order to support your business growth and operational expansion with time.
- Budget: You should choose the remote working software that fits into your corporate budget. Also, in case you switch completely to a remote work model, scalable software will mean freedom and efficiency.
Is Your Business Ready to Work from Home?
The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily transformed the business community, forcing most companies to adopt work from home strategy. About 75% of remote workers, according to research, admitted to being more productive in WFH setup, courtesy of lesser distractions. These “distractions” come in the form of longer commuting time and interruptions from colleagues.
On the other hand, companies have realized that the WFH model not only improves productivity but also minimizes business expenses. Commercial property rates are rising faster than ever and setting up a traditional office space requires more money to be pumped out. In addition to that comes electricity expenses and other utility costs. Overall, by switching to the work-from-home model, your organization is likely to save thousands of dollars every month.
There was a time when work from home was considered an impractical way of doing business. But with the pandemic hitting hard, business leaders have started approaching remote working from a different perspective. Not all positions require individuals to work from an office. These days, most employees are carrying out their professional duties from their homes and with the right WFH software, the entire work process is streamlined as per the requirements of specific projects.
If you are looking forward to adopting the future of remote working, we recommend that you check out our comprehensive list of the top work from home software programs.