It seems that more people are working remotely than ever before, across the globe. Whichever country you are based in – or relocating to – it’s likely that your time in the office is reduced or even completely vanished. Last year, 18% of the UK workforce worked remotely. Fast forward to April 2020 and 50% of employed adults were working from home.
With technology on our side, many people feel that this different way of working is an opportunity for long term change. There are certainly advantages to enjoy, such as increased flexibility, productivity and work-life balance. However there are also problems to avoid. Here are three big traps associated with remote working – and how to avoid them.
1. Feeling Disconnected
Our colleagues and clients are spread across an increased variety of locations. Whilst physical meetings are very restricted it remains important to keep connected and engaged with clients and colleagues. Video calls ensure that meetings carry on… with a plethora of solutions available. Getting together online is a great way to check how everyone is doing. A 10-minute catch-up call is the equivalent of a chat by the kettle – and essential to our mental wellbeing.
2. “Zoom Fatigue”
“Zoom fatigue” refers to the mental exhaustion associated with online video conferencing.
During April 2020, during the height of the coronavirus lockdown, UK adults spent a daily average of four hours and two minutes online. This was up from just under three-and-a-half hours in September 2019. The proportion of UK online adults making video calls also doubled during lockdown, with more than seven in 10 doing so at least weekly. But the biggest growth was seen by Zoom, the virtual meeting platform, which grew from 659,000 UK adults to reach 13 million adults over the same period – a rise of almost 2,000%. (Ofcom, June 2020)
We can change how we interact on video calls with adapted social behaviours such as scheduling shorter meetings. In addition, carefully preparing our environment – such as distractions and comfort – leads to less stressful video calls.
When we work remotely it’s easy to forget to take time off, especially when vacations are postponed. Forbes reports that whilst working remotely:
- workers are feeling the pressure to perform and in turn, working longer hours. More people are working outside of the normal 9 to 5 workday.
- having no commute means more early-morning productivity.
- employees are signing on earlier and earlier, with a 26% increase from pre-COVID logins occurring at 4 a.m., 23% at 5 a.m. and 22% at 6 a.m.
- there’s a drop in logins in the afternoon, from about 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., possibly to address family and other responsibilities.
- there’s an increase in logins later into the night, with a 30% increase from pre-COVID logins at 1 a.m. and 34% increase at 2 a.m.
Working remotely requires self-motivation, especially if you are working alone. Routines are a great way to help achieve a healthy work-life balance. From realistic goal setting and protecting times for key concentration, time guidelines can help us gain productivity whilst protecting our wellbeing. Ultimately, safe remote working practices
For many of us, remote working is a necessity rather than a choice during our current times. Thinking through the steps that we can introduce and control will enable us to create the working environment that suits us best individually, thereby helping our organisations too.
“We’re seeing an increased number of people who are working remotely, often in a different country to their main work location,” says Sarah Huntridge, Global Move Specialist at BTR International. “Travel is slowly opening up for many locations and we can help to bring possessions to people so that remote working is more comfortable.”
Would you like an informal discussion about the best way to manage international relocations during the current times?
At BTR International, our priority is to help wherever we can, whilst keeping everyone safe. If you think that we may be able to assist you in any way, please let us know, by emailing us or calling Sarah on +44 (0)7495 021 103 or Louise on +44 (0)7508 318 093 without obligation.