If you're about to work from home or have employees who are going remote, there are some obvious benefits to it:
Comparing these benefits to working in an office, having a remote job seems like a sweet deal. Yet over time, there are some things about working remotely that can have some detrimental effects on an employee when you don’t have the right culture, team mindset, and routines to support productivity.
Here is what we’ve seen:
1) Little human interaction
If we could label this as the number one negative outcome, we would! As part of our happiness framework, we know that connectedness and belonging in an organization is vital to its sustainability and success. As much as some businesses want to treat humans like productivity bots, we just aren’t. We need to feel like our work is contributing to a tribe with a higher purpose [or a shared goal, at best].
Having connectedness means you are contributing to meaningful interactions at your workplace – beyond the courteous, passive chit-chat. How can you build those connections in a remote work culture? Some ideas:
2) Stifled collaboration
Don’t get us wrong, great teamwork can happen from afar – that’s how we do 80% of our work at DH. From creating a new website, coordinating masterclasses, and scheduling keynotes, we all pitch in to make it happen. Yet even with our remote culture, we make it a point every year to get together in-person for our All Hands Meeting where we discuss and create plans for our yearly goals. But why?
To be honest, there's something to be said about physically getting together, bouncing off ideas, and co-working in real time. Also, it gives us an excuse to start spontaneous dance parties, drink some wine, and create more memorable experiences together.
3) Bottled up stress
Have you ever gotten into a disagreement with a coworker and became frustrated about it? It’s okay to admit, frustrations happen. The thing about working remotely is that there aren’t many extra moments in your day to help create more positive moments with that coworker – whether it’s at the water cooler or out to get coffee.
So your last impression of that coworker may be lingering as a negative one. Without micro-interactions with the team throughout the day, disagreements may not smooth over as quickly.
4) Not enough daylight
When you’re in your creative or productive workflow, it’s hard to peel yourself away from your computer. If your remote setup is inside your home, with few windows giving in natural sunlight, then it can really mess with your head!
The University of Rochester found spending time outside in green, natural environments can boost your vitality by nearly 40%, while spending time indoors has the opposite effect. Of course, the lack of daylight can still occur at an office job, but from our experience, it’s harder to give yourself a break when you work from home [and work is accessible 24/7].
5) Fewer breaks
Contrary to what traditional manager may believe about remote workers, people who work from home are more productive on average than those who work at the office. In a two-year study by Standard professor Nicholas Bloom, the results showed that work-from-home employees work a true full-shift (or more) because it is easier to concentrate at home. With this boost in productivity, we wonder, how often are remote workers taking true, intentional breaks?
If you ask any remote worker what it's like- they tell you how hard it can be some days. When work is just a few steps away or always at your fingertips, it's a struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance. We know that some employers don't care about that balance, but if employees are suffering from burnout and stress, then it can be costly in the long run.
Do you want to incentivize your employees to take a break? You can add some fun to it!
Our partner, fun dept. has created “Break Boxes” that you can send to your team members to help them take a break in a fun, engaging way. Not only does it show that you care about their well-being, but it encourages a culture of self-care too!
Are you looking to create a sustainable, productive, remote culture? First, understand where your culture stands with our free, 5-minute Culture Pulse:
Your teams can take it too!