As many cities are slowly getting back to normal after the worldwide lockdown, many professionals like us are still working from home. Remote working is not a trend anymore; it’s becoming the new normal.
Remote work will probably be the future of both multinational companies as well as small-scale enterprises and SMEs. According to Global Workplace Analytics, remote workers increase employee productivity, satisfaction levels, and can save a company more than $10,000 annually.
Despite all the perks of working remotely, it comes with an influx of new challenges. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, the most common problem remote workers have is unplugging after work – an issue 22% of respondents said they experience, followed by loneliness and lack of communication.
We, at Optimizory, have been working remotely way before the COVID outbreak. In this article, we will discuss three most commonly faced challenges by remote workers worldwide, and more importantly- how to overcome these challenges.
Top 3 remote work challenges and how to overcome them
Challenge 1- Prioritize work
Though flexibility is one of the main advantages of remote working, some people tend to overwork, resulting in sleep deprivation, a feeling of tiredness, and frustration. Others find it hard to stick to a schedule and manage their to-dos.
Striking the right balance is much needed while working in a remote environment. Without which you will be missing out deadlines or impact your productivity.
How to overcome this challenge
Thankfully, there are plenty of project management tools specially crafted for every challenge you and your remote team might experience.
To manage projects and prioritize every task, Jira is a powerful project management tool. It works well for both agile and traditional projects. Jira by Atlassian provides a central network for remote workers to distribute and track assigned tasks.
User flexibility and customization are the key components of this tool. It allows you to customize the workflow for projects, issues, or subtasks, and assign priority to each issue. You can also decide which task to do in each sprint based on the issue priority.
RMsis-Requirement management for Jira is an enterprise application that smoothly integrates with Jira. It is an advanced project management tool, optimized for agile teams to organize and manage requirements in versions and baselines. RMsis allows you to customize your fields and displays information on requirement status, priority, and flexibility.
Considering the priority level of each requirement you can easily decide which requirements should be included in a particular release. This helps you to organize and prioritize each stage of the project life cycle.
Challenge 2- Tracking progress and productivity
Another significant challenge of remote working is tracking the progress of your teammates. This process can be daunting as your workers are working in different geographical locations and in different timelines.
It is crucial to ensure all projects are completed on schedule, at the same time, track the performance of each team member.
How to overcome this challenge
You need a real-time tracking system like those discussed earlier along with Links Explorer Traceability & Hierarchy.
Using features like time tracking, workflow status, you can track specific Jira tasks and projects. Jira also provides Board views- Scrum and Kanban boards, that provide transparency into your team’s work by slicing tasks into stages. And allowing your team to work within the Sprint framework.
Links Explorer is an enhanced traceability tool for Jira. The key feature of this tool is the Unified Tree View. It displays a complete hierarchy of Jira issues (including Epics, tasks, sub-tasks, and Portfolio hierarchies) and its related links in a single window.
This real-time information helps your team to track and visualize the complete progress of the project from one window instead of switching to multiple tabs or windows.
RMsis provides a comprehensive Requirements Traceability view by mapping all project requirements against Jira issues, documents, and linked requirements. It summarizes all information in a tabular form and makes it easier to manage (add or remove) links/ associations of multiple tasks with other requirements/ test cases/ JIRA issues.
Challenge 3- Poor communication and collaboration
Coordinating and communicating with a virtual team is the most challenging part of a remote working platform. Poor communication can become a hindrance to the company’s productivity.
You tend to miss those quick discussions on task and project updates and feel out of the loop. Efficient, effective communication is the core of any functioning group, and it is especially crucial for remote teams.
How to overcome this challenge
Firstly, you need effective communication channels that are more instantaneous and flexible.
- Slack is one of the simplest collaborative tools that can provide all the basic features you need – instant messaging, availability statuses, notifications, file sharing, group chats, etc.
- You can use Google Drive for document collaboration and real-time feedback on multiple documents with teammates.
- Other tools like Zoom, Skype, and Go-to-meeting are great for instant team meetings and discussions. These tools can help in organizing visual coffee or lunch breaks, where you can interact with your colleagues over food or drinks and have causal discussions.
Secondly, having a centralized tool for organizing projects and tasks ensures that everyone who needs to be in the loop stays that way. Tools- Jira & RMsis provides features like adding comments and feedback to the task, displaying activity history, and work log. These tools strengthen team collaboration and make your remote workers feel more a part of the team.
Remember, remote working can bring a lot of potential benefits, as long as you are diligent in identifying the problems you and your remote team face and handling these common issues. And by picking the right project management tools allow you to successfully run and deliver even the most complicated projects with remote teams.
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