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Top 3 challenges when starting to work remotely

The expected growth rate of full-time remote work over the next five years has doubled, from 30% to 65%.

An Upwork survey

If your company is transitioning from a traditional office environment to a remote or distributed setting, chances are you have or will encounter some sizable obstacles that impede your team’s productivity at work. While these challenges still exist in a centralized work environment, they get amplified when your team goes remote. Here’s our top 3 list of challenges that newly remote teams face:

  1. Frequent interruptions moving to virtual channels
  2. Knowledge lives in silos and it can be time-consuming to find
  3. Shifting dependency to a knowledge base for FAQs

Time to elaborate…

Frequent interruptions now have a backlog

In the traditional office environment, interruptions come in the form of shoulder tapping. There are visual cues and body language that sometimes prevent some of these distractions from occurring, but the majority of the time, employees get forced into context switching to help their colleagues stay productive at their own expense.

In the remote world, 100% of these distractions move to Slack and they create a backlog of issues for the employee to deal with. This poses a significant distraction to workflow as its difficult to ignore or avoid a public or private message in a channel requesting your help. You can’t really escape these “asks” from coming your way, but you should have a plan for how to deal with them.

Where is your information again?

Knowledge silos create convoluted search paths

The average employee has 8+ SaaS tools that they use as part of their productivity stack (Blissfully study). With remote employees becoming increasingly dependant on numerous cloud-based SaaS services to patch the various business needs, searching for knowledge becomes time-consuming. For example, you might use G-suite for email and storage, Dropbox for document sharing, Confluence for documentation, and the list goes on. This means, when searching, you’ll need to check each silo for the information or document you need. More silos = more search time.

laptop stickers
Sticky notes

Repetitive tasks and re-used knowledge cause friction

You can only have so many yellow sticky-notes on your desk before you lose all of your real estate, so a dependable knowledge base solution will keep your work area tidy and focused. A dedicated FAQ knowledge tool can help remote employees stay on task so that they can quickly grab the knowledge they need to stay on track without the confusion of paper notes or, even worse, virtually shoulder tapping a colleague for information.

Ultimately, your goal as a productive remote employee is to have access to:

  • Faster Sharing: be prepared with a strategy that will reduce the impacts of shoulder tapping, context-switching and frequent interruptions;
  • Faster Answers: plan to build searchable and accessible answers to repetitive questions that come up in your everyday work replacing sticky notes, text snippets, frequently accessed data, instructions and procedures;
  • Faster Search: to access typically disparate tools like Google Drive, Confluence, Dropbox, Box, Trello, Github, etc, to make them searchable and more accessible.