According to a study conducted by Gallup, 90% of remote workers want to continue working remotely in some capacity. Another poll of more than 15,000 individuals suggests that 43 percent of employed Americans reported they spent a minimum of some time working remotely. This marks an increase of four percentage points from 2012, which satisfies the needs of many job searchers.
In fact, after the pandemic, most employees (82%) prefer to work from home rather than go to the office. The rise in remote work is due to a number of factors, including advances in technology; the prevalence of high-speed internet access and the increased flexibility and freedom that comes with working from home & the global nature of many businesses.
With more and more businesses looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency, remote working is becoming an increasingly attractive option. According to a report, over half of U.S. employers provided remote work opportunities in 2019. This percentage has climbed to 58.6% by 2021, based on a NorthOne analysis.
Although working remotely has a number of benefits it has disadvantages too. Many employees experience stress as they cannot meet deadlines on time. There is also a lack of social interaction when working remotely which can lead to the feeling of isolation.
We’ll be covering more about these challenges below and also how mentoring fits as an all-in-one solution to it. Let’s get going!
Also Read: How mentoring helps organizations flourish?
Challenges of a remote workplace environment
Having a remote workplace is one of the traits that attract people to join an organization. Having said that, it’s becoming challenging for employees since organizations aren’t equipped with proper means to address the problems faced by them. Let’s talk about those in details:
Feelings of burnout: A new study, which surveyed 20,000 people across 11 countries in July and August, found that nearly 50% of employees and 53% of managers are experiencing work-related burnouts.
This can happen when employees feel that their work is unending, or that they are constantly on calls that are leading to nowhere. This pressure to be "on" and available can take a toll on mental and physical health. That is, employees may feel like they need to be available 24/7, which can lead to sleeplessness, anxiety, and stress. With constant access to work email and phone, it can be hard for them to disconnect and take a break.
Blurred work-life balance: In our ever-connected world, it's easy to blur the lines between work and personal life. Besides, there's no physical separation between office and living space when they’re working from home. They may continuously work and spend less time with family. 68% of the workforce think that a lack of work-life balance has a negative effect on their motivation and attitude on the job.
Since it’s work from home, it's easier to take work calls at all hours of the day or even at night. This can be disruptive for their personal life as there’s no time for leisure.
Employee Isolation: According to a Microsoft survey, 68% of company decision-makers see the change to hybrid work as posing a moderate-to-major difficulty in fostering team cohesiveness and social relationships. About half of employees say their relationships outside their immediate work group have weakened (51%) and they feel disconnected from their company (43%). There are several key factors that can contribute to feelings of loneliness or isolation among remote employees.
First, working remotely; especially from home, can limit opportunities for social interaction with colleagues. Thus, when they’re not in office, it's easy to feel cut off from the rest of the world and colleagues, as they may miss out on the everyday social interaction that they would have in an office setting. This can lead to a feeling of being left out or excluded from the team.
Second, remote workers may not have access to the same resources or support systems as their on-site counterparts. This can make it difficult to stay motivated and focused on work tasks.
Thirdly, working remotely can be isolating in general, as they are busy working at home and unable to step out and enjoy with friends or family.
Technical Challenges: Working remotely often means dealing with different technology platforms which can be frustrating and time-consuming. There are a few primary examples of why employees face technical challenges in a remote working environment.
First, many companies have not invested in the infrastructure that is needed to support employees who are working from home. This includes reliable VPNs, secure file sharing platforms, and collaboration tools. As a result, employees are often left to their own devices when it comes to trying to connect to work-related resources.
Another reason for the technical challenges faced by remote workplace employees is that they are often not given the same level of IT support as their on-site counterparts when it comes to getting access to the company network, using specific software or a dedicated technician. This can be especially true for small businesses or those who’re new to work from home operations.
Lastly, the issue of bandwidth and slow internet speed can be a big problem for employees who are working remotely, as they need to access large files or use video conferencing tools for meetings.
Also Read: 6 Ways To Deal With Challenges In Mentoring Remote Teams
Techniques to cater challenges for remote employees
It's no secret that working remotely or from home can be a bit of a juggling act. They're trying to maintain a healthy work/life balance while also getting all the work done, and it's not always easy. But introducing them to mentoring programs can help. Let’s talk about it expansively:
Mentoring promotes open dialogue
You can encourage your employees to take breaks throughout the day, set clear expectations for what needs to be accomplished each day, and give them regular feedback. Apart from that, if you still feel that they aren’t able to open up, introduce them to a mentor.
This can help them feel more connected to their work and give them the opportunity to ask questions in return. As per a report, mentoring relationships have been successful in reducing the likelihood of burnout among employees.
Create a culture of open communication where employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns with a mentor. Since mentors are experts in understanding human psychology, they can help them with perspectives to get hold of the situation on their own. This will prevent smaller issues snowballing into a menace.
Mentoring promotes balance of living
It can be difficult to maintain a work-life balance when you're working remotely, but there are some best practices that can help. By providing mentorship, you can help employees identify areas where they need to make changes in order to achieve a better balance.
Mentors are experts in suppressing the stress points, they will encourage your employees to make some space in their calendar for themselves. During this time, employees can disconnect from work and spend time with their family or friends, take a walk, or introduce themselves to other wellness regimes. This way they won’t feel too much work pressure or even isolation, thus promoting work-life balance.
Mentors can suggest ways of remote working
A mentor can ask to create a dedicated workspace in their home. This can be a spare room, a corner of the living room, or even just a desk in your bedroom. Having a separate space for work will help your employees to stay focused and avoid distractions.
Another way a mentor can help is by asking remote employees to set office hours for themselves. Mentors can help employees to decide on what hours they're going to work each day and stick to that schedule as much as possible. They can let their family and friends know when they will be unavailable, so family members don't interrupt them while they're working. This will help them stay productive on both ends.
Mentors can give exposure
Organizations can support their remote employees and help them avoid loneliness or isolation. How? By giving them a mentor. This can be done in a number of ways, such as matching new remote employees with more experienced ones with the help of buddy programs.
During this, their mentor will provide employees resources to work with. They can suggest books or magazines which will give employees exposure in their endeavors.
They can introduce them with connections or even other employees with similar interests and help them bond. 82% of mentees and mentors agree that mentoring relationships help them make meaningful connections with people in different departments and with the organization as a whole.
This gives them a sense of belonging. And this can even lead to making better connections with their manager or seniors. And once they become visible in front of the leadership, they can express their ideas and even get involved in the major projects.
Overcoming technical challenges
Here are a few best practices to help your remote employees overcome technical challenges:
- Check if they need support regarding a specific skill set: Mentors are a great helping hand when it comes to helping employees recover from any specific challenges. With their experience and skills, they can guide your employees to gain knowledge about skills that help them outperform. Since they will have some experience in the field, they can talk about it and help them understand ways to gain expertise.
- Access latest technology: Make sure that your remote employees have access to the latest technologies and tools such as video conferencing, different software, secure file-sharing environments and collaboration tools. Mentoring Complete is one such platform which will keep them connected with their mentor whenever they have a session, or if they want to reach out to them via chat or email.
- Training and support: Give your employees new means to upskill so that they can stay relevant for you and gain knowledge that’ll help them grow.
- Knowledge sharing: Encourage your remote employees to share their knowledge with others. This can help create a collaborative environment where everyone is working together to overcome challenges.
- Asking for help: Make sure that your remote employees feel comfortable seeking assistance from you or colleagues when they need it. This initiative will ensure that your remote employees feel comfortable asking for help, and you will create a more cohesive and productive work environment for everyone involved.
With mentoring, you can create a positive and productive environment for your remote employees so they don't feel overworked or isolated. Mentoring can also assist your employees to overcome any technical difficulties and maintain a proper work-life balance. So now is the time to invest in a remote mentoring program for your business. Once you have the basics in place, you can tailor the program to fit the needs of your organization and your employees. With a little effort, you can create a remote mentoring program that will benefit everyone involved.
If you're not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available online. When it comes to managing a remote workforce, one of the best tools you have at your disposal is Mentoring Complete. By taking advantage of the features of Mentoring Complete, you can create a positive and productive environment for your employees, no matter where they are located.
Learn more about it and help your employees grow!
Want to make your mentoring program for remote employees successful? We're happy to help you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do remote employees suffer from a work-life imbalance?
Sometimes, it becomes difficult for remote employees to know when to stop working when they are at home, and this can lead to long working hours and little down time. This causes a work-life imbalance.
Q. What causes a feeling of loneliness among remote employees?
When you are working remotely, you can often feel cut-off from the rest of the world as you don’t get a chance to interact with your colleagues. This can lead to feelings of loneliness or boredom.
Q. How can mentoring help remote employees?
Mentors can help remote employees to deal with various challenges of working remotely, and offer suggestions for improving productivity. They can listen, share views and give them opportunities to stay relevant for their growth.