There are unique human error traps that can trip us up while working remotely, causing mistakes we might not make while working in an office environment.
Trap #1 - If you are not used to working remotely it will be a New Situation for you, leading to issues such as:
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) not designed for remote workers.
Remote office limitations or differences, like a different chair causing physical discomfort, or the inability to transfer calls or ping a peer with a quick question.
Trap #2 - Working remotely is likely a more Relaxed Situation than working in an office environment. This can cause us to let our guard down so that we are no longer functioning at the “top of our game”. With our slippers on and our furry friends by our side, it is easy not have our business “edge”, which can lead to poor decision making.
Trap #3 - Working remotely involves many new Distractions. While there are less interruptions from coworkers; our spouse, roommates, pets, laundry buzzers and doorbells can sidetrack our focus and lead to less critical thinking.
Trap #4 - Communications can be more difficult with work phone features not available when working remotely. Voice dropouts and lower audio quality may lead to not hearing every word being said. We can’t see facial expressions or body language, so it is hard to tell if people are excited, bored or confused. People may be hesitant to mention they didn’t hear every detail, because they want to keep the meetings from being long and repetitious. These factors can lead to the Abilene Paradox – where the leader thinks everyone is going along with them, while everybody is actually thinking “This is Stupid!”.
All these traps can work together to make it difficult to recognize a Pinch. That’s why we recommend running AESOP™ more often than normal when working remotely. You can reduce mistakes by using AESOP for:
The start of your day.
Conference Calls – at least once at the beginning and again at the end of the call, and possibly for each different topic.
New Projects & Tasks – at the beginning and end of the project, and as necessary throughout.
AESOP will anchor your communications and provide a framework that ensures you keep your business “edge”, have a quality idea exchange and leave with everyone being heard and on the same page.
EPI has developed a Working Remotely Checklist that will help you be aware of the Traps associated with working remotely and encourage you to use the appropriate Tools to avoid or mitigate those Traps. Download the Checklist Here.
The Bold terms in this article are Traps & Tools from EPI’s Error Prevention training. If you are not familiar with Error Prevention, you can access our online training course on our website.