What are the real challenges tech workers face with working remotely?
Fear of the coronavirus is prompting more companies to have their employees work remotely. But what are the real challenges workers face when working from home and trying to communicate with colleagues?
Working remotely may sound like a dream to some employees. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 26 million Americans (16% of the total workforce) work remotely at least part of the time. Now, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more employees around the globe are receiving advice to work from home as much as possible.
The survey showed that nine out of 10 (91.1%) communicate in person at work, and four out of five (84.4%) communicate by phone at work.
Over two out of five (42.2%) prefer to communicate in person, but less than one in ten (7.6%) prefer to communicate by phone, indicating that some face to face meetings, and phone calls are deemed to be intrusive by the recipient.
Remote workers are over two times as likely to prefer communicating by email than by company chat apps (like Slack) or by phone.
Over two in five employees used online video call services and company chat applications, but fewer engaged with work management software (almost 19%).
Almost all employees deemed themselves productive regardless of which workplace communication tool was used. And digital communication was reported to increase workplace socialization, with three out of five respondents (61.7%) confirming this.
However, a quarter of respondents (25.5%) reported that digital communication decreased workplace socialization.
Four out of five reported that they felt connected to their workplace -- regardless of their preferred method of communication.
Workers sentiment toward remote employees was positive, with over half (50.5%) viewing them the same as in-office co-workers. Only one in five (18%) of respondents believe remote workers work less than they do, and one in 10 (11%) believe the work is of worse quality.
But working remotely has its challenges. Now many workers are having to adjust to a different way of working. Whether people are already used to working from home, many difficulties can inevitably be involved.
Working remotely will be new to many people and something they are not familiar with. The LinkedIn blog recommended creating a designated office area to define the boundary between home and work areas.
It also recommended creating a new normal. But how do you manage those watercooler moments with the rest of the team?
Hundreds of businesses are advising their workers to work from home to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19. But in the age of digital distractions, how much of that time during the 40-hour week do workers actually spend working?
The survey data showed that employees in the technology industry report an average of 1 hour and 52 minutes of downtime during a standard workday -- higher than the overall average of 1 hour and 40 minutes.
However one in three (33%) of employees in the technology industry said they have too little downtime. Only 9% said they have too much downtime -- compared with the average of 18%.
This could be due to the autonomous nature of many tech jobs.