As a remote worker, I have come across a number of challenges dealing with a dispersed team, communicating with my colleagues back at the Mothership, and getting my stuff done.
Here are four problems I have with the tools available to effectively work remotely:
- Internet bandwidth — I have been experiencing more, and more, problems with internet bandwidth being a limiting factor. On a recent video presence call, all of our audio, video, and screen-sharing was stuttering. Sadly, we’re all trying to cope on internet connections that are under strain in the consumer market here in the UK.
- People on different tools — As we don’t all use the same productivity tools, we can’t use a lot of the sharing methods to give people tasks, files, and messages. We’re still relying on email as a cross-platform communication system. It’s not great, but the Tasks functionality of Outlook is keeping me afloat.
- Microsoft Windows — In my market, we’re forced to use Windows PCs because of the kind of software we have, and that software not liking to be run in a Virtual environment like Bootcamp. I’m fine with the Office suite, but the actual OS is just not conducive to productivity.
- The speed of talking in person — When I’m able to meet someone in person, by just walking up to them and saying hello, we can get a lot of medium severity work off the ground, completed, or batted away as being pointless. Remotely, that’s a series of emails, conference calls, and running around.
- Documents — Unless you move to some kind of electronic document management system, you’re going to be stuck with paper documents you need mail, or scan (if you have a decent enough scanner to get the work done quickly). Managing those documents is a real pain once you get them scanned in, collating them as a single document, sending them off — ugh!!
Remote working is the way forward, but we don’t yet have the reliable infrastructure, the widely adopted tools, or the social structures fully in place to make this kind of work as effective as it could be, for the kind of workers who are not developing / designing most of their time.
I’ll continue to work on this situation and update you along the way.
How have been managing with remote working? Let me know on Twitter (use the link above).