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Work Remotely? Beware of Digital Overload
Working remotely is a hot topic, and it's not hard to see why. Remote work has been proven to produce more output than in-office work, but at what cost? The digital meeting and video conferencing overload at work have been a hot topic for quite some time now. Studies show that working from home and spending time on video conferencing is a draining task.
Back To Back Meetings
If you are among the workers who live in fear of the back-to-back meetings on the calendar, you have a right to be concerned, as it does add stress. Digital overload is real, and something has to change. Companies and workers should start to build in 10-15 minutes between meetings by making meetings only 45 minutes vs. an hour.
Video is not always required
Multiple research projects at Microsoft reveal the toll video meetings take on our wellbeing. Video calls require more focus and deplete us faster. Phone calls, however, allow us to tune in just to a person's voice without needing split attention.
You and your team can reduce the time spent on video calls by using them only for large groups and allowing people to turn off their video occasionally to preserve morale.
Establish specific remote working rules
There are many facets to this remote work issue, but one of the most important aspects is what type of technical assistance the employee needs to do their job remotely. For example, what should we redesign workflows and processes to accomplish employee goals when working remotely? It may be possible that repeated activities could be automated and eliminated from employees.
Flexible working can help, but it needs to be truly flexible. A Frost & Sullivan survey claims productivity can increase 34% through remote/flexible working but warns employees will feel the pressure to be constantly available, mainly if expectations are not clearly defined.
Policies that help you be more efficient and supportive of remote work include:
Respect your staff's need for personal time outside of working hours by utilizing email responders to incoming messages.
Use corporate social media networks instead of emails.
Remote work can be the best thing for your company, but certain things need to be considered to avoid putting any additional stress on employees. Leaders must ensure that their employees get enough off-duty time, and conducting regular informal touchpoints to see what leadership can do to support them will help boost wellbeing.