COVID Surge: Overcoming Remote Working Challenges

The challenges of remote working do not end with deciding to work remotely, or allowing it for a body of workers. In fact, that is only the beginning. After remote working is introduced, it is not only the technologically-challenged workers who feel as if they’re turned loose, even the younger, adaptable professionals of the workforce miss the human touch of walking over to a colleague’s desk or showing someone a mock-up design on paper. Remote working requires everything to be prodded into two dimensions and using more words where verbal cues once sufficed.

The challenges of remote working are not isolated, though. There is plenty for team members to bond over and rejoice about – IF, the connection is forged and nurtured despite the humdrum, distended existence of working professionals huddled in their lone home offices for weeks after weeks, for months stretching into years. It points to opportunities for self-care, work-life balance, and even entertaining some upskilling opportunities.

You might also be interested to read: Is Remote Working Buoying Employee Productivity?

As in all cases of unquantifiable, intangible human resource dynamics at play, the approach towards creating connections, focus, and motivation toward a joint purpose in the remote working set-up is not one-size-fits-all. However, there are some common check-points that all remote working teams can harness, in order to retain good faith and camaraderie with one another:

  1. A catch-up call: By now, all remote working teams know that special effort goes into keeping in touch and staying on the same page so that their efforts stay concerted and aligned.
  2. In the event of infection: COVID-19 or any other highly contagious illness is a good reason to encourage remote working and let the sick employee recover well. Beliefs unsupported by facts or half-knowledge can surround these afflicted team-mates – stigma and embarrassment are common. They have to be dealt with in a sensitive manner from the origin of the news so that rumors are quelled and only the necessary details regarding an illness are shared.
  3. Don’t make light of the need for isolation: When the daily routine becomes harder due to remote working, it’s natural to want to prioritize the interests of the workplace and trickle back into the office for a quick meeting or half a day’s work. This doesn’t work when team members are sick or vulnerable to contracting the virus. The manager has to support and enforce isolation to reduce the chance of spread.
  4. Remote working makes isolation easier: Fundamental changes to workplace behavior are harder to make routine. But working from home or away from one’s team-mates reduces thoughtless or risky behavior while still getting work done. A staggering 74% of Indian workers prefer to work from home in the post-pandemic world.
  5. Device fatigue: Remote working required employees to be glued to their screens for the better part of the waking hours. The feeling of being tethered to the devices can make it difficult to draw boundaries with work and relax at home. Managers have to actively maintain and enforce these boundaries so that the productive hours get the best of the workers’ attention spans.
  6. Support device dependence: It is not possible to have the electronic media and infrastructure function without missing a beat. Specific support in troubleshooting and even basic upskilling in maintaining the uptime of these devices by the employees themselves is required.
  7. Create accountability: A realistic mapping of tasks and outcomes has to be cascaded to the whole team so that expectations are laid out. Time-bound goal-setting helps the whole team and burdens of the pandemic, workplace tasks, and family responsibilities become manageable.

Staying humane and professional throughout the course of remote working is a challenge at times. But putting in the extra effort to do this helps the team feel coordinated and respected. Soon, the positive energy can be nudged back into productivity and the managerial cadre can deal with lapses and setbacks despite not being present in an office.


  • Pandemic Phase II: How to Keep Remote Teams Connected and Focused | Talent Culture | Derek Jones | 15th March, 2021
  • 74 percent Indians prefer to work from home post COVID-19: Report|| CRN team| 22nd October, 2020

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