Common IT headaches caused by working from home over a long term

Swami Nathan Mon, 01/18/2021 - 07:45

With work habits that look set to require working away from crowded workplaces for the near future, it is now more important than ever to have the freedom to work from anywhere on a platform that is comfortable and suitable for your workload.

However, for many SMEs, the logistical overhead of ensuring that workers have the right IT device and resources in place can be prohibitive, often leading to organizations introducing a patchwork of solutions that do not quite hit the mark, leading to dissatisfied and demotivated staff.

We recognize that businesses with outstanding employee experience outperform the S&P 500 by 122 per cent, so ensuring that your employees have seamlessly working devices is essential to efficiency and your potential success. But after switching to remote work, we've found that there are some typical IT headaches that most SMEs have experienced.

1. Distractions

Even if you settle on a fixed schedule and have a dedicated place to work if you work from home, actually being productive during your working hours will prove difficult.

It's difficult to concentrate, surrounded by your personal possessions and reminders of chores. Distractions are starting to call you, such as your TV, books, and laundry. Despite intending to work until 12:30 before breaking for lunch, you find an excuse to break early. They don't hesitate to disturb you at any opportunity if your spouse or children still happen to be home.

One of the many reasons I stop working from home is to eliminate such distractions and create a solid boundary between my working life and home life.

2. Inconsistent Performance Metrics

By what standards does your boss measure your job performance, even if it is you?

Mediocre executives often fail to monitor clear metrics for the performance of their team. In extreme situations, managers actually keep an eye on how long their staff physically sit at their desks.

When employees telecommute, managers can't see if they're at their desks physically. While sitting behind a desk does not qualify as work, lazy executives often allow lazy employees to skate by as long as they show up on time to work and put in a minimum effort to get a little work done.

Managers and employees alike need to be consistent on exactly what constitutes success for any single member of the team. Every employee should have at least one key performance indicator (KPI) regardless of their position, which represents how well they are doing their job.

For example, these KPIs could include customer satisfaction ratings for customer service reps to indicate the quality of their service and the total number of clients served to indicate the quantity.

3. Failure to run your business like a business

Think again if you're working for yourself and think that you should ignore administrative work. You're probably going to end up doing more boring office work than you've ever done at your old day job.

Ignoring business principles, such as paying your bills, planning your taxes, and invoicing customers is a sure-fire way to not only destroy your company but also to cause an IRS audit in the process.

Traditional careers, such as work reports, timesheets, travel expense reports and accounts payable to freelancers and suppliers, appear to come with paperwork. Nevertheless, the administrative work of each individual worker pales in comparison to the overall amount required to operate a company.

4. Lack of staff's technical ability to deal with common issues of the system

Most SMEs do not have enough IT workers to deal with all the issues posed by remote work. The immense amount of work generated for IT workers by remote work has led them to work all hours and drive them to the breaking point. And it's not as easy as recruiting more employees or outsourcing your IT, with businesses strapped for cash as profits have plummeted, as there has really been no budget accessible. Many SMEs have been left with a skills deficit, but instead of being dealt with, many of the common problems mentioned above have dragged on.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Technology is now available that uses intelligent automation to track devices 24/7, remotely upgrade security 24/7, and address issues automatically in the background until problems occur, offering consumers a seamless system and service that optimizes productivity.

The days are gone where companies have to purchase more hardware and spend large quantities of Capex in machines that, if not months, will become redundant in a matter of years. These services are available on a monthly pay-as-you-go basis, moving the IT to an Opex scheme, which is what boards want right now, with several organizations struggling to upgrade their IT infrastructure or update old devices.

5. Blurred Line Between Personal & Professional Life

You no longer have a simple geographical distinction on the other side of the coin between workspace and personal space when you work from home.

Ideally, a place in your house for comfort, safety and protection. It's a place where you fall into a relaxed, easy-going state of mind subconsciously, putting behind you the pressures of the workday.

Right across the tidy mental separation, working from home punches a hole. Most telecommuters lament that they never feel like they are off work. We still feel an urge to check email or get "only one last thing done."

They have a hard time switching off and relaxing.

Summary

Telecommuting comes with a slew of advantages, from ditching the regular commute to a more flexible job schedule to being able to live and work anywhere in the world. But don't believe the hype – it still takes effort, and a challenge comes with every advantage.

This is doubly true for workers whose workplaces have not generally embraced virtual business models but were compelled to do so during the outbreak of COVID-19. For example, many of my friends are teachers, and each one struggles with telecommuting because their schools have no or restricted online teaching tools.

This new Autonomous Workspace also allows the IT workers the time and energy to concentrate on creativity rather than coping with the time-consuming and mundane problems of remote work, thus making employees happier.

So, what's your company going to do? Purchase more costly hardware and could still face weak cooperation across the business or explore the new 'laptop in a box' services that use the latest autonomous platforms to minimize the cost of unnecessary hardware and increase your security and collaboration across the company.

With work habits that look set to require working away from crowded workplaces for the near future, it is now more ever to have the freedom.

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