Overcoming Remote Work Fatigue with Collaboration

Working remotely isn’t necessarily a new reality as a result of the pandemic. According to a March 2020 survey by Global Workplace Analytics, there were 5 million employees (approximately 3.6% of the U.S. employee workforce) that currently work at home.

Fast forward to today, and Global Workplace Analytics now estimates that 25-30% of the U.S. employee workforce will continue to work from home through the end of 2021. That’s millions of people who might otherwise choose to work and collaborate with their co-workers in person over working from home.

Working from home isn’t for everyone. Remote work fatigue is real for millions of people who aren’t used to it. Several elements contribute to remote work fatigue.

Non-verbal Communication

Seemingly endless hours of Zoom meetings only gives us a cropped view of our co-workers. Additionally, there are often several people on each video call, making it difficult and distracting to see everybody. This makes it difficult to pick up on nonverbal communication cues—subtle shifts in body language that you might otherwise notice and be able to respond to go unnoticed.

When a team’s ability to communicate decreases, so does collaboration and productivity.

Too Much Screen Time

Spending too much time looking at a screen isn’t just a problem for teens and pre-teens. It’s also a problem for adults that can take a real physical toll on you. Viewing a computer screen makes our eyes work harder. Given the average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer, it isn’t hard to see how easy it is to develop computer vision syndrome.

Computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, can cause headaches, blurred vision, or neck and shoulder pain. All of these can contribute to an employee’s fatigue compounding the stress associated with working from home.

Feeling Disconnected

Research suggests that as many as 33% of workers feel disconnected from their company culture while primarily working from home. This is understandable when you consider losing a central gathering spot such as a kitchen or other common area that often becomes a focal point to display and reinforce a company’s culture.

Ways to Combat Remote Work Fatigue

Even though work fatigue is real for remote workers, there are ways to minimize and overcome meeting fatigue and enable positive collaboration among employees.

Create and post your agenda in advance

A key to driving productive meetings where everyone engages and leaves feeling good is defining the purpose of the meeting in advance. This allows people to mentally prepare and come ready to participate and collaborate with their coworkers.

Posting the agenda on a shared document or a virtual whiteboard will help keep the meeting on track, so it remains purposeful instead of wandering. Meetings that last too long and don’t accomplish anything will increase your employees’ stress and fatigue, so keep meetings short and focused.

Avoid the meeting in the first place

Not only can meetings lead to fatigue, which has physical implications, but meetings also have a monetary impact on an organization. Research shows that executives spend as many as 23 hours a week in meetings.

Before scheduling a meeting, ask yourself if there is a better way to communicate the information. Could you convey the information in an email or a common Slack or Microsoft Teams channel?

Can you create a shared, virtual workspace to put important information such as shared docs, videos, images, proposals, and a whiteboard that enables your team to work, communicate, and collaborate asynchronously and still accomplish your goals?

Encourage communication and collaboration

Collaboration among team members leads to higher job satisfaction and employee retention. Few things bring a team closer together than working together to solve a common problem and feeling like a valued team member.

Additionally, collaboration enables teams to see multiple perspectives at once. This leads to finding the solution to the problem at hand faster than individuals working by themselves.

Enable communication and collaboration

Encouraging communication and collaboration is one thing. Enabling collaboration and communication is another.

 

With Bluescape, remote work and collaboration feels like you are all in the same room together. Whiteboard an idea, share video and capture comments, create timelines – all as a team. Bluescape enables everyone to use the most recent files to keep a project moving forward regardless of their physical location.

 

While the online whiteboard and meeting collaboration from Bluescape is one of the best in the industry, it’s much more than that. Bluescape enables teams to bring images, videos, documents, and more together in one infinite workspace to view side by side. No more digging through shared or hard to access local drive folders looking for files. Everything the team needs is accessible in one location that can be accessed from any device, anywhere.

 

Learn more about how Bluescape can help your organization enable collaboration, reduce remote work fatigue, or request a demonstration to see how Bluescape can help.

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About the Author

Shawn Murphy
Shawn Murphy
Director of Organizational Behavior, Bluescape
Shawn is our Director of Organizational Behavior and Workplace Trends. His second book, Work Tribes is out now. Shawn's first book, The Optimistic Workplace is out now. Inc. has listed him twice as one of the top leadership speakers in America.

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