Working From Home - What are the challenges for teams?

Working From Home - What are the challenges for teams?

Last time we looked at the positive aspects that have come out of working from home, drawing on research undertaken by Cultivate Agility and The Team Space. But what about the downsides and challenges faced by teams?

The biggest issue was a lack of social connection and community feeling. In the initial stages of lockdown, connection was strong, but ongoing Zoom conversations could leave everyone exhausted and virtual social gatherings dropped away.

Many people missed the community feel of the office, especially the opportunity to chat informally or have conversations on the side. Younger people or people living alone felt more isolated and missed the social belonging that happens in the workplace. 

It was also easier to maintain relationships online with people you already knew, but harder to build relationships with people who were new. And the same applied to external relationships, for example where people were dealing with new customers.

Supported by a recent Harvard Business School study, the research showed people were feeling overwhelmed by the blurring between work and home. Virtual meetings lost their novelty, and people felt fatigue in terms of workload and the number of online meetings they had to attend. The pace picked up with no downtime, and work days for many became longer.

There was also an impact on innovation, informal learning and knowledge sharing, especially for younger team members. People found it challenging not being able to get time with a colleague straight away to bounce an idea around with them or debrief a meeting on the way back to their desk. It was also harder to brainstorm new ideas when you’re not in the same room.

The research clearly showed that while many enjoyed working from home, there was still strong support for the office environment.

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