Guest AuthorShital Kakkar Mehra

Executive Presence: Remote Working

By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO

Today, managers and their teams are finding it challenging to transition from high-contact face-to-face meetings to remote interactions. Despite the circumstances which have led to this sudden shift, it may prove to be the new ‘normal’ for the next few months, maybe even forever. LinkedIn Talent Trends 2019 showed that one of the most trending words was ‘work flexibility’ Today, it has become a forced reality. The organisations of future may not need a physical location as their employees collaborate from remote locations, creating new opportunities for both people and companies.

Challenges of remote working

To better understand productivity of remote teams, first let’s understand the factors which make work-from-home tough and demanding. By addressing these factors, we can increase the productivity of remote teams.

 1. Lack of face-to-face interactions: Till a few weeks ago, we were spending a sizeable chunk of our time in face-to-face interactions at the office. Suddenly, it’s gone! Both managers and their teams are scrambling with this new format as managers are worrying about the productivity of their teams while team members are struggling with reduced access to their managers.

2. Struggling for work-related queries: Team members are used to walking across the cubicle to collect information or gathering at the water-cooler to exchange informal notes on a project. Today, that’s not an option. Teams are grappling with ways to access information, which was free-flowing and taken for granted a few weeks ago. Today, getting answers to simple queries can feel like a task / obstacle as it involves ‘disturbing’ a colleague who is working from home too.

3. Remote = aloof: Remote teams work at different times from different time zones. While face-to-face meetings make an instant connect, remote workers are in an isolated zone where they can feel distant or find the manager to be a bit aloof.

4. Interpersonal challenges: During workplace interactions we can ‘read’ body language to understand if a colleague is going through a tough day or he/she is elated about a new project. With interactions using technology, one is unable to sense any behavioural context. Due to this lack of context, colleagues are battling with the feeling no one is able to understand their challenges. Also, loneliness is a common complaint. Social interactions which go beyond task-based conversations are reduced to nil and team members are feeling a lack of connect with colleagues.

5. Homes are unprepared for this transition: On social media we have seen images of news anchors with babies crawling at their feet, pressure cooker whistles blowing in the background and family members distracting the employee. Most homes have too many distractions and lack the workspaces / infrastructure to support multiple people working from home. 

6. Burnout: While offices have defined work timings, some professionals would stay well past the official end of work day. Similarly, in the virtual office too, there are people who will be unable maintain boundaries between professional and personal life, facing burnout. During my research, several professionals felt over-worked and over-whelmed with the balancing act. 

Republished with permission and originally published at Shital Kakkar Mehra’s LinkedIn

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button