What Are The Common Work From Home Challenges & Ways To Manage Them?

Working from home isn’t as easy as it seemed before the pandemic. Ever since remote working entered our lives and homes, we have been trying our best every day to meet the challenges it presents.

Well, yes, there are obvious benefits of working from home as the virtual work environment allows flexible working hours, cancels commuting time, and there is no one looking over our shoulder judging the workflow. We save up on travel expenses, and our company, in turn, doesn’t have to incur as much infrastructure and operating costs as before.

But for many of us, managing work from home (#WFH) presents challenges that are hard to tackle, such as managing the work-life balance, adapting to different time zones and cultures.

However, one of the most common challenges faced by all professionals is that their home does not provide an office-like environment where one could take online meetings without worrying about different types of background noises, which unfortunately is part and parcel of the home environment!

So, we thought, why not take each remote working challenge individually and present ways to manage them to bring in work productivity!  

Different Time-Zones and Cultures

Work from home presents a different work culture that some of us might find hard to get used to. Maybe you are working remotely, but the company is located in North America, so you need to reset your clocks and work in their time settings.

The in-office common work system presented opportunities for mediation and getting to know your teammates' personalities and cultural differences up and close. But in the virtual setting, lack of direct communication and responsiveness might pose some of the biggest threats when it comes to collaboration and people management, especially for the HR and Managerial cadre.

The best way to address the situation where you have to collaborate with a diverse group of team members is by being approachable, open to collaboration, and encouraging frequent and transparent communication, both formal and informal.

Keep your work calendar updated to the ‘T’. Giving access to your colleagues can help them know when is the best time to reach you.

In addition to work-related discussions, having informal chit-chats around an array of topics ranging from weather to wellbeing of the family, to current affairs, to even what’s cooking for dinner, and sharing traditional recipes can work wonders in developing interpersonal relationships within team members across the borders. These small gestures filled with compassion can help break the ice faster and is a good way to learn about other cultures too!

Remote Collaboration on Projects

The absence of regular face-to-face interactions has affected the productivity of many professionals, especially from the departments like HR, sales, operations, and even for the ones who had never worked from home earlier! There are no team managers or other team members to consult with, on the spot.

And unfortunately, without a system to regularly stay connected at least 2-3 times a week, virtual teams would start to miss out on essential interactions and grow isolated. Team members find it difficult to cultivate strong one-to-one relationships with their supervisors and business managers while working remotely.

For supervisors, giving an immediate response is not always possible. Also, unless a manager has experience in remote working, keeping track of an individual’s performance and team projects becomes difficult due to a lack of critical communication and physical presence.

Here we recommend investing in professional project management software to assist in bringing the whole team under one roof. You can time-track tasks and list impending projects and priorities for the whole team in one go.

Picking the reliable platform that best suits your needs while working remotely on complex projects will be of big help. Introduce your work team to this idea and try your best to collaborate.

Finding the Right Balance

Remote working allows you to have some freedom on your work times. But some employees find it hard to maintain the right balance between their regular work and daily life.

While some may be working for fewer hours, others end up devoting more time to finish the task and end up with unpaid overtime at work. Yes, there are 24 hours in a day, and then, there is a new day to pick up the unfinished work.

It is critical to mention that unless you are racing against deadlines, do not stretch beyond your work hours. Regular stretching will lead to stress and less time for yourself and your family. This would affect your mental and physical well-being. Hence, plan your schedule and create a To-Do list to create and respect work-home hour boundaries.

HR of the companies need to act proactively and fix remote working hours so that employees maintain a healthy work-life balance and do not burn out. Also, employees need to choose a suitable area at the home void of any disturbances, put a signboard on the door saying ‘Office Hours: 9 a.m – 5 p.m’, and ensure that they follow their schedule religiously.  

Building Trust with Each-other

Transitioning to the virtual work environment has been tough for most of us. Communication and building trust with team members, supervisors, and managers is essential to sustain a stable working process.

The sense of belonging and team spirit with the company and team decreases among employees due to the absence of face-to-face workplace interactions. Building and maintaining trust is critical in a company's common work culture system.

Informal virtual meetups will give new employees and team members a chance to know each other more personally. Employers should take sufficient measures to promote transparency and encourage collaboration.

Managing Noise Distractions

Distractions while working from home may be hard for some who live in crowded places or with a large family. Noise from the background is more often than not, a big problem. It prevents you from turning on the audio during online meetings due to the fear of being embarrassed.

You need to be calm and confident when voicing your opinions during team and client meetings. It might not just be you. Maybe the unwanted noise is coming from the other speakers' side, and you cannot hear them. Mic noise cancellation is required, but you cannot resonate with it.

Also, miscommunication is a major issue to tackle during remote work situations. Crystal clear audio with background noise cancellation is necessary while working with your teams or presenting your ideas to your clients in audio/video conferencing.

While you cannot control the noises coming from home and the neighborhood, you can invest in software for noise cancellation that not only improves voice quality; but, also ensures that your audio data does not leave the local install, eliminating worries related to the security and privacy of all your audio communications.

While trying to find solutions for this challenge, we came across ClaerityAI. Making the most of the free trial offer, we tested this AI-based speech enhancement technology during our online meetings on multiple collaboration tools, including zoom, Microsoft teams, web-ex, skype, etc.

We found ClaerityAI to be quite competent. It not only detected the primary voice of the person speaking but also enhanced the voice quality while at the same time carrying out background noise cancellation.

It’s very effective in suppressing sounds from outside the house or traffic or the construction work in the neighborhood. It also nuked the distracting noises from inside the house, like, from the kitchen, dog barking, kids demanding attention - especially baby crying a few meters away!

Even the loud music and television playing from other rooms at home were not audible to our clients. For one of our colleagues whose house faces the main road with crazy traffic, the sound of honking and buzzing traffic vanished during online meetings.

My team and I are now experiencing uninterrupted conversations with ClaerityAI. Moreover, it has enhanced security measures in place, ensuring the privacy and safety of our conversations.

Book your demo to experience this awesome technology at ClaerityAI. It enables you to work closely with your team and have crystal clear audio conversations conveying every idea that results in improved work productivity.