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Communication the leading difficulty for remote workers

A recent study from the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI)* has highlighted the challenges that remote workers are facing, with many struggling to get the right communications.

The study stated that 65 per cent of remote workers are having problems getting in touch with their colleagues, citing this as the main problem with remote work. Loneliness and isolation are also significant challenges for employees, with 57 per cent missing out on the connections that comes from an office environment.

Difficulties with communication technology is also a significant challenge for 57 per cent of workers, suggesting that reliable connectivity is still not advanced enough to completely replace working from an office. Thirty-eight percent went on to identify that problems with technology slow down their work, with the same number unhappy with the technology their workplace offers.

The AHRI survey also pointed to the gap in training that remote workers are receiving. Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of companies are not engaging in health and safety training for remote employees. At the same time, 70 per cent of respondents are not providing training for managers.

This absence of training was cited as a significant obstacle by AHRI Chairman Peter Wilson. 

"Flexible working arrangements underpin workplace outcomes that can be completed independently by an employee 'anywhere anytime', compared to interdependent activities with colleagues that are best undertaken at the office," said Mr Wilson.

"If organisations want to create sustainable flexible work cultures, the lowly figures in this study around training for managers of employees working off-site, the workers themselves, and their on-site colleagues, are not good enough."

WorkPro, a workplace health and safety specialist, has built a teleworking resource centre, freely available, that provides induction requirements, safety checklists and articles that can help employees and employers manage this new-age workplace issue.

*Australian Human Resources Institute Pulse Survey, released September 2014.

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