Telecommuting and remote workforce have been on the rise over the last few years but recently skyrocketed. COVID-19 brought among many other things the uncertainty of the future, and as a result, many companies have encouraged their employees to work remotely to protect them and others. Today, up to half of the American workforce is currently working from home. That’s more than double the amount in 2017-18, including many at the time who worked from home only occasionally.
And although many countries are currently slowly lifting the restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19 may have permanently changed the way many companies work. If now working remotely is a necessity, in the post-COVID-19 era it may be a part of the so-called “new normal”, as companies start to realize the business benefits of such practice, like:
- Higher levels of job satisfaction and employee retention
- Increased productivity
- A larger talent pool for hiring
- Reduced fixed costs associated with office maintenance.
In fact, Gartner’s recent CFO survey reveals that 74% of the companies intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently.
However, remote work and management are not easy, especially for managers and employees who are doing it for the first time.
Most Common Challenges to Remote Work
The most efficient way to embrace the “working from home philosophy” is to establish clear remote work policies and training in advance. But, we all know in times of crisis like this one, we don’t have much preparation time. And the biggest issue with unpreparedness is that if not done correctly, instead of the benefits mentioned above, telecommuting can backfire on business productivity and efficiency.
I, too, have been working remotely for five of the last seven years and know that that isolation can have a negative effect on employees’ well-being, career development, and job performance.
Some of the most common challenges faced by remote teams include:
- Lack of communication: Today, there’s a bunch of teleconferencing technology, like Zoom and Hangouts, to reduce the distance between co-workers. But the lack of face-to-face supervision reduced access to manager’s support, and real-time feedback may impact productivity and efficiency, especially for those experimenting telecommuting for the first time.
- Lack of team-building: Remote work may also have an effect on personal relationships between co-workers. If you only know your colleagues virtually, you’re less likely to collaborate and trust them than if you were sharing an office with them all day.
- Limited access to information: One of the most common struggles of newly remote workers is in finding the information and data they need. If before they could simply get up from their chair and talk directly to their colleagues, now it has to be done through an email, phone call, or preferable chat software, which can take a bit more time and is less efficient.
- Sense of isolation: Probably the most common struggle of any remote workforce. In the long run, it can impact the sense of belonging, collaboration, morale, and even the company’s culture.
- Distractions at home: Particularly true for people with children in the house, which may affect the productivity and efficiency of collaborators.
No doubt that managing a remote workforce has its challenges. It might sound like a cliché, but technology and digital transformation have become more critical than ever before. That is why more and more companies are investing in new solutions to help organizations quickly adapt to the new norm.
How to Manage Remote Work: Real-Life Solutions
Given the need to adapt to this new reality where telecommuting is king, several of our OutSystems partners have been using their expertise on low-code to rapidly deliver solutions catered for those who are still new to remote work.
So, if you’re trying to make the best out of your remote workforce, here are a few solutions developed by our partners that may be useful for you.
Fast Feedback by Etecture
What if there was an app that allows you to praise a colleague for an idea they just had? Or, let’s say you’ve just watched a webinar and have some constructive feedback to share. Since you can’t simply go to your colleague and share your thoughts, Etecture developed FastFeedback.
Crafted for in-house or fully remote teams of any size, Fast Feedback is an intuitive mobile app connected to your company’s directory and designed to improve communication and foster team building.
Check out the video below to watch the full demo.
Centricity: Your Digital Workplace by Just Solve
To help business owners and managers have full visibility and control over their business and execute work processes as normal during COVID-19, Just Solve offers Centricity, a web and mobile app designed to manage teams, all in one platform.
With Centricity, you can define your employees’ roles and onboard an entire team with just a few clicks. You can also assign tasks to the right person, or access tasks assigned to you, and submit your work once you are done—all paper-free. It also allows employees to send daily health checks wherever they may be working during the lockdown.
CoorpID by Inforza
To help financial services simplify the Know Your Customer (KYC) process, Inforza developed CoorpID. This award-winning app enables a single, secure collaborative space for teams to store, manage, and synchronize their KYC process easily.
With CoorpID, organizations can keep all their KYC's information, communication, and requests in one place, eliminating the risk of losing track of documents between multiple people and in painfully long email threads. It also empowers team collaboration by enabling your team to receive, review, and delegate documents.
GEMS Connect by Netlink
One of the biggest challenges brought by COVID-19 was the need for schools to go digital and embrace remote teaching. Thinking about this industry, Netlink created for GEMS Connect Education, a parent engagement mobile app for GEMS Education developed and implemented to enable remote learning, provide information along with uploaded document details, health information, student academic details, and fee payments.
Through this app, parents can view their kids’ attendance rate, assessment report, and academic calendar and be even more involved in their kids’ academic life. They can also use the app to communicate directly with the school through an AI-powered chatbot, pay fees, track payment history, and set payment reminders.
Find the Right Solution for You
No matter what the future entails, I hope these solutions inspire you and help you surpass at least some of the challenges your remote workforce is facing right now. With the right solution in practice, you, too, can strengthen that sense of togetherness, even at a distance.
So, if you are looking for the right technology to create the solutions you need to ensure successful remote management faster, I invite you to try OutSystems low-code platform for free. And if you’re looking for a skilled partner to help you build those solutions, check out our Partners Business Solutions page and find the right partner that better suits your business idiosyncrasies.