The shift we have experienced to remote workforces has created vast opportunities for the organizations that are able to take advantage.
- It has removed geographical barriers and allowed organizations to tap into a more greatly diverse hiring pool that offers variety in backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
- It has reduced overhead costs associated with office space, utilities, and equipment.
- Flexible work arrangements have provided employees with a better work-life balance, reduce commuting stress, and increase job satisfaction, ultimately enhancing retention and reducing turnover costs.
- Remote work has positive environmental implications due to reduced commuting, that has resulted in a decrease in carbon emissions and traffic congestion.
- So on and so forth. Can I get a “whoop! whoop!”
However… [insert eye roll: “there she goes again bringing up those Elephants.”]
…We are also seeing organizations begin to hire the next generation of workers, and some of these individuals have never experienced being part of an in-office team. They are beginning their career remotely, and this can cause some challenges to the leaders and owners onboarding them.
**Notice I said “challenge,” not “problem.” It’s solvable, don’t refrain from hiring those young and brilliant minds.**
Here’s what you want to be aware of (the underlying elephant) so that you can be proactive in reducing or avoiding the challenges:
- Limited Professional Development Opportunities: Remote work can limit their exposure to leadership styles, professional behaviors, and career paths, potentially hindering their growth and development. They may have limited opportunities for casual interactions, social events, and mentorship that can contribute to their professional growth and advancement. These are the valuable informal interactions, observations of experienced colleagues, and on-the-job training that typically occur in a traditional office environment.
- Difficulties in Building Relationships: Building meaningful connections and rapport with colleagues can be more challenging in a remote work environment. Young employees may struggle to establish relationships with their teammates, mentors, and supervisors, leading to a sense of isolation and limited support. Also – The absence of shared physical spaces may make it harder for young employees to develop a strong sense of belonging and connection to the organization’s culture and norms.
- Decreased Learning from Informal Channels: A significant amount of learning and knowledge sharing occurs through informal channels in an office setting, such as impromptu conversations, overhearing discussions, or participating in brainstorming sessions. Remote young employees may miss out on these spontaneous learning opportunities, impacting their professional development.
- Challenges in Managing Work-Life Boundaries: Young remote employees who are new to the workforce may struggle with setting clear boundaries between work and personal life. Without the physical separation of a traditional office, they may find it difficult to disconnect and maintain a healthy work-life balance, potentially leading to burnout or reduced well-being.
Organizations can address these challenges by implementing strategies such as virtual mentorship programs, regular check-ins with supervisors, virtual team-building activities, online learning platforms, and creating opportunities for young remote employees to connect and collaborate with their peers. There are a number of suggestions I could discuss here, and if you’re interested in more details let me know. But the solution that is right for your organization depends on a number of factors, benefits from team insights, and requires a bit of creativity.
This subject highlights a unique need, and the next step for us as leaders and owners in navigating remote workforces.