Problems with Employees Working from Home: There’s No Place Like the Workplace

Long before anyone heard of COVID-19, employers faced a host of challenges and problems with employees working from home. The pandemic, and the stay-at-home orders, office closings, and health concerns that followed have only made these issues more acute. Workers now accustomed to and fond of working from home may be reluctant to return to reopened workplaces, especially while the virus continues to haunt communities across the country.

But allowing employees to continue working remotely where conditions allow for a safe return to the office may prove unsustainable for many companies. That’s because working from home can have long-term negative impacts on productivity, profitability, firm culture, and employee satisfaction.

Here are seven problems with Denver and Colorado Springs employees working from home that should motivate companies to do all they can to welcome their workforce back to a safe and healthy on-site work environment.

1. Problems with Deterioration of Company Culture with Employees Working from Home

Many Colorado businesses, yours likely among them, take tremendous pride in the culture they’ve built – the values, goals, approaches, and attitudes shared by everyone at the company. A positive, supportive, and collegial firm culture fosters better employee recruitment, retention, satisfaction, and productivity.

But building and sustaining such a culture requires more than just time, effort, and vision. It takes employees coming together, being together, taking office coffee breaks together, and working together. Team-building exercises, collaborative projects, and the simple interactions among employees that occur throughout an average workday are all indispensable elements of a strong, firm culture. Conference calls, Zoom meetings, and emails simply can’t replicate the human connections that form the basis of company culture.

2. Lack of Employee Engagement

Just as a robust firm culture positively impacts job satisfaction and productivity, so does employee engagement. Workers who feel invested in and connected to their jobs and companies create positive organizational outcomes across the board.

An extensive Gallup study of employee engagement concluded that:

  • Businesses with highly engaged employees are more likely to achieve the outcomes their organizations want — such as revenue, profit, and productivity.
  • The relationship between engagement and performance is significant.
  • Employee engagement consistently impacts key performance outcomes, regardless of industry or company — and regardless of changes in the economy or technology.

Working from home is isolating. It distances and weakens the connection between individual employees and the collective enterprise. This can lead to lower engagement, which, in turn, negatively impacts the company as a whole.

3. Security Threats

When Colorado employees work remotely, the security of a company’s IT infrastructure becomes much harder to protect. Unsecured connections, less robust virus protection programs, the loss of laptops or phones with confidential company information – all can pose existential threats.

4. Communication Problems with Employees Working from Home

All of us have received a short text or email that vexes us as we try to read between the lines to assess the sender’s meaning. Did “OK” mean that things are, in fact, fine, or was there something more passive-aggressive behind it? Communications that happen primarily or exclusively through IM’s, Slack messages, emails, and texts lack the clarity and connection that come from face-to-face interactions. Uncertain communication can lead to confusion and mistakes that otherwise would not occur.

5. Anxiety and Worry

Working remotely can also increase employee anxiety about their role and what their colleagues and superiors may be thinking or saying about them. One study concluded that: “Remote employees are more likely to report feeling that colleagues mistreat them and leave them out. Specifically, they worry that coworkers say bad things behind their backs, make changes to projects without telling them in advance, lobby against them, and don’t fight for their priorities.”

6. Accessibility Issues

Those who work from home are more likely to intersperse life’s other obligations into the workday. They may run errands or schedule appointments that they would otherwise reserve for the evenings or weekends. They may not be accessible or responsive when their colleagues or superiors need them during business hours.

7. Lack of Human Connection

If lockdowns and quarantines have proven anything, it is that we all crave and need human interaction. The two-dimensional communication that has been our lifeline during the pandemic is simply no substitute for being with other people. Being around friends and colleagues, grabbing coffee or a glass of water in the breakroom, saying hi as you pass in the hallway – these can be powerful antidotes to the isolation that has defined so much of this year.

Colorado Pure: Bringing People Together Since 1996

Family-owned since 1996, Colorado Pure is dedicated to your satisfaction, from helping you choose the right equipment and coffee through keeping your break room regularly restocked and maintained.

Contact one of our Colorado Springs or Denver coffee distribution specialists today to schedule an in-office consultation. We’ll come by your office, show you our large selection of coffee equipment and supplies, help you choose the right products to suit your needs, and get you a reliable and accurate quote.

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