Loneliness: A New Challenge for the Remote Workplace
By Tanya Conner
Due to the many benefits that remote work brings, the number of employees working remotely is growing. More and more companies are seeing the benefits of hiring employees remotely in order to cut down costs and expand their workforce. While there are many benefits of remote working, for employers and employees, there are some drawbacks that are impacting the workforce. In the blog post ‘Going Solo: Is remote work right for me?’ the author explains how remote work leaves employees isolated and disconnected from the team. This drawback has been highlighted by a new report.
70% of remote employees feel left out of the workplace
‘The 2019 State of the Digital Workspace’ report from Igloo notes that 70% of remote employees feel left out of the workplace. As it stands, companies are not meeting the needs of remote employees and more than half are missing out on important information. This is because the information doesn’t get communicated in person, and more than half of the employees get excluded from meetings because of their location. This report also found that 43% of workers couldn’t access groups, 39% had problems with access in general, and 33% missed information on policy changes and processes. The above statistics are a clear indication of the challenges presented to employers by a remote working structure.
Finding the right tools to address the remote loneliness challenge
“Every organization needs to be aware of the workplace challenges identified in this study and take corrective actions to address them. Modernizing their intranet and creating a digital destination for employees is a great first step that helps drive productivity, innovation, and creates a real competitive advantage. Improving employee experience has a direct impact on the customer experience. It’s really that simple,” explained Igloo Software CMO Mike Hicks.
The results of not implementing a good “digital destination for employees” can affect their productivity. An article on remote work culture by Business.com highlighted that remote workers can feel isolated, which has an impact on their wellbeing and therefore their productivity. Social isolation is a serious threat to public health and can be severe than, for example, obesity. This emphasizes the need for good digital solutions, such as instant messaging and video communication. This way, remote workers can still feel like they are physically present in any important meetings.
Bright future for remote work despite challenges
Despite the above statistics, remote working is on the rise with Business 2 Community reporting that 90% of remote workers would prefer to work remotely for the rest of their lives. This shift in workforce culture has not only led to a change in the way people work but also in the leadership skills managers need to learn. Maryville University in their industry outlook for future leaders details how there is a demand for managers who can organize and train remote workers. These leadership skills will involve utilizing the latest tech developments to ensure that remote employees feel engaged and part of the team. If the managers can’t adapt, the process gets easily disrupted.
Many employers have a long way to go in order to set remote workers up for success. Remote working is the future and companies need to be prepared for the changes it brings.