The challenges of hybrid and remote working

Part 1 Establishing the challenges

I ran a session with a business recently to help them to think about how the shift to remote and hybrid work has affected them individually and as a business and to think about what they might try to mitigate some of the challenges.

I ran the session remotely using Microsoft Teams, a polling tool and an online whiteboard. I started with some questions to establish how they were  feeling about the changes and where we should focus our efforts.

The business has clearly made efforts to give people flexibility, to encourage conversation and to support people.

I asked what was good about working from home

Comfortable Less travel time No traffic jams Flexibility Not commute time No commute Walk at lunchtime Focussed No travel Flexible A quiet space I like working remotely Can decide myself Concentration No travel Free food Commute Ability to focus on tasks, Flexible, flexibility, No commute, Flexibility, Flexibility, Flexibility, Focused, Flex with school run, Less travel, No travel, Good time to focus, easier to concentrate, Work time longer, Can multitask, Flexible, Concentration, Can be more productive, Quicker to get into work, Flexible starting time, No commute, Kitchen, Good for my health, See my children more, Spend time with pets, Gym at lunchtime, Here for my family, No travelling, Solitude when needed, Can wear home clothes
Flexibility, the ability to concentrate and no travel

I asked what was challenging about being remote and about being in the office while others are remote

Pets and noise, Dogs barking, interruptions eg doorbell, Dogs barking, Relatives popping in, Miss befriending, Barking dogs, Amazon, I pack too much in, Miss social interaction, Dog barking, Interaction, Interuptions, lack of collaboration, No body language cues, Dogs, Instant decision, making Harder to switch off, Too isolated, Children after 3pm, Needing a quick response, Can procrastinate, I sit too much, Miss nipping to shops, Interaction, Too easy to snack, Team vibe, Less productive, Response times, Amazon deliveries, Lack of face to face, response time, Distractions, Working too much, Deliveries, To easy to work longer, No switch off, Collaboration, Miss wearing nice shoes, Family distractions
Missing the social interaction, response times from others and interruptions
Poor audio Interactions, Out of the loop, Joint planning, Audio when more than 1, response time, Not the same interaction, Audio issue sometimes, Talking when travelling, Attention on the office, Their interruptions, Background noise, Tech fail eg internet, Seeing nice biscuits, Audio, Lose tea break chats, Signal, Teams is rubbish, Interruptions for them, Engaging on screen, Unable to contribute, Team bonding, Harder to collaborate, Concentration, Hearing in group meetings, Interruptions, Working together, Connecting as humans
Poor audio or video, not the same interaction and connecting as humans

The challenges selected to discuss were as follows

  • The day is filled with meetings and there is no time for any other type of work
  • Too many video meetings
  • I don't have time for breaks
  • I don't get to chat to colleagues
  • I work longer hours or find it difficult to switch off outside of working hours
  • I have tech problems
  • I find it difficult to get help quickly
  • I find it difficult due to the lack of non verbal interactions
  • I find being at home very distracting
  • I find others being at home very distracting
  • I find it more difficult when collaborating with others
  • I find it difficult brainstorming when not in the same room

It is very important to begin with to understand the actual problem

For example 'Too many video meetings' could be a problem because:

  • it is tiring being at a screen all day
  • it is uncomfortable being on camera all day
  • the meetings are not a good use of your time
  • it does not allow you time to do other work
  • you find yourself working long hours to get things done
  • you do not have time between meetings to have a break, get a drink, go to the bathroom, think about the previous meeting, process your email or other messages

In part 2 I will share some of the ideas we discussed.

If you would like to have a conversation about how I might be able to help your team to build new approaches to hybrid and remote working please contact me via email or directly book a 30 minute call. I look forward to hearing from you. Or you could take a look at how I can help or some testimonials.