The rising popularity of remote work and more organisations seeking remote employees comes as no surprise in the 21st century. Advanced technology has made the concept of remote working technically easier. Although mentally and physically there were many challenges that both employers and jobseekers have to overcome to make themselves comfortable with the new trend. Here are a few challenges that organisations had to overcome to be successful in embracing remote environment.
A lack of community
Many people believe that a good team leads a project to success. When you don’t see your team-mates or your fellow employees personally, it is quite difficult to develop the tight-knot camaraderie, that leads to great teams. One of the biggest challenges that an organisation have to move past through is the fear to lose their culture. Many employers feel that without interaction and collaboration, the work culture of their organisation can be at risk. With the advancement in technology and the ease by which you can set up a Skype conference meeting whenever you need, have helped organisations move past this hurdle. Organisations hiring remote employees have also started to educate their employees about the fundamentals of their company, to grow past their cultural differences.
The continuous sense of unreliability
Employees tend to look at remote jobs as a stepping stone to something bigger. They generally do not consider remote jobs as something permanent, and they tend to take their job lightly and do not work with a sense of dedication. The link is weakened by the lack of community. Employers found it difficult to trust the reliability of their employees, which restrained them in appointing important projects to remote employees. Employers have now moved past this hurdle by correcting their hiring process. Most organisations tend to incline more towards people who have worked before in such an environment or had their own businesses.
There can be a belief that they are more reliable and trustworthy as they are aware of the independence they receive and how to utilise it.
Difficult to manage
In an environment with both remote and non-remote workers, the former tends to be ignored and forgotten about. Due to the lack of communication, it is difficult to monitor the work of remote workers and to hold them accountable. It is difficult to track the working hours of an employee and is harder to maintain ties among your remote team. Many organizations now use a time tracking software to combat the problem of accountability and overworking of their remote employees. The software includes URL monitoring, app tracking, productivity gauges, and detailed time reports. Creating a culture of total transparency with your employees help the organisations to not only manage their tasks but to also assign responsibilities along with getting a weekly report of the task at hand.
Paying a distributed remote working team can be considerably more difficult paying a co-located team. And if your virtual employees are settled across your country boundaries the headache increases significantly. With international payments you need to be mindful of foreign exchanges rates and who foots the bill for items such as bank fees. Global banking solutions and payment gateways like Paypal, Stripe and Transferwise, make paying international employees less of a hassle.
Navigating the different laws in different jurisdictions
The legalities that need to be considered for where your remote workers are located can be challenging and are subject to change. This is evidenced by the “Assembly Bill 5” released in California in late 2019. This was prompted in part to protect workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers from exploitation, however is having an effect on other contracted workers as the ambiguity in the law as to whether an individual is classified as an “employee” or a “contractor” and what rights they have as a result gets debated.
Issues regarding security
Security is a major concern especially for organisations whose business deals in sensitive data. Loss of data or a data leak might be catastrophic for such organisations. Remote working frequently involves uploading your data on the internet, and without proper security measures there is a great chance someone might hack into your system and files. Organisations traditionally have leveraged VPNs to encrypt data to make it more secure, however often times sacrifice the remote worker’s experience in doing so. Fortunately, with more modern solutions companies and their remote workers can enjoy both a secure and “user friendly” solution.
Author: Jason Ferguson – 22nd January 2020