Remote work is taking the world by storm, fueled both by the pandemic and by a larger structural shift in workplaces. A survey by SAP Concur showed that 69% of polled workers believed that their productivity increased while working from home, and 88% of workers said they prefer to continue remote work if they could.
However, despite the traction it’s been gaining in the past few months, remote work culture is still a mystery to many who don’t understand it fully or haven’t experienced it. As a result, misconceptions of remote work abound, and it makes it all that more difficult to decide whether such a shift is worth carrying out or not.
Check your Remote Work Facts: Busting 7 Popular Myths about Remote Work
This post attempts to bust some of those larger remote work myths which threaten the understanding of remote work as a concept.
Fact: Remote work can be carried out by companies of varying sizes.
It isn’t only intended for start-ups or SMEs, although it might be easier to set up and get off the ground in these cases. Several multinational companies have also been recognised as leaders in remote work, including Hilton, Sodexo and Dell. The benefits of remote work extend to all companies regardless of their size — better productivity, reduced operational costs, and more freedom over-all. Some larger companies may choose to start testing remote work with single teams, to see how the roll-out works out for everyone. This allows everyone time to adjust to the changes, make their needs known and tell the organisation what they might need to function even better.
Fact: Remote work increases productivity
A Work From Home experiment where 16,000 workers at a NASDAQ-listed travel company were asked to work remotely, actually showed a whopping 13% increase in performance after the shift. That is representative of a larger trend in all industries that shows that remote work actually increases productivity by miles, instead of reducing it as the myths suggest. There are many reasons for this — for one, remote work often occurs in a quieter and less distracting environment. Employees have the freedom to create the most ideal work environment for themselves, whether that’s by blasting music or heading out to an inspiring co-working space. It also helps that, given employees don’t have to commute to and from work, they get extra time on their hands to prepare for their day.
Fact: Communication doesn’t necessarily take a hit
Communication can also be affected in a proper working environment for many reasons. Ensuring regular and proper communication during remote team management is a proactive and conscious effort. Adhering to a set of guidelines while communicating can even ensure that transparency and collaboration increases in the long run. A great way to ensure proactive remote team collaboration is to use the right tools for them, to facilitate all methods of meetings, whether that’s one-on-one chats or lengthy video calls.
Fact: Remote teams does not bring any harm to your data.
This remote team misconception stems from the fact that many organisations do not have proper oversight or policies relating to data security in place. Connecting to unsecured home networks or coffee shop WiFi can put data at risk, but not if the organisation preemptively outlines measures to prepare for these situations. Clear policies around remote work, such as changing passwords regularly and conducting online security training courses, might work well. Giving employees the right tools, such as VPN and anti-phishing software also go a long way in ensuring data security from the get-go.
Fact: Workplace culture can be adapted and strengthened
Moving to remote work doesn’t mean forgoing organisation culture and working in silos. It might take more concentrated effort, but workplace culture can be adapted and strengthened in the face of remote work. This ensures employees feel a sense of belonging even if they’re not united by the same physical workspace. If your organisation had a strong workplace culture previously, you’ll be able to extend this by organising similar events, discussions and water-cooler conversations — only this time, they’re online. Regular check-ins help keep employees tied to the company vision. Online town halls can replace once-a-week company-wide meetings, and half-yearly remote offsites can keep the sense of belonging running high.
Fact: Remote workers can definitely ensure work-life balance
This myth is incorrect because maintaining a work-life balance is a lot more nuanced than that — it also depends on the employees’ individual dispositions, their personalities, how they reaction to situations, and the amount of work they have to do every day. One might also argue that remote work helps restore work-life balance because employees are now able to spend more time at home and devote the hours they gained from not having to travel to work to their families. A great way to ensure work-life balance at an organizational level is to encourage fixed working hours, fixed days off, and proactive communication on issues big and small.
Fact: You can easily put a team of talented experts together
It’s very possible to put together a remote team made of qualified software developers who are perfect for your organisation or project. While it might be difficult to do this on your own, it makes sense to have an experienced firm help recruit the top players in the game to work for your company. An added benefit of this approach is that the firm will likely choose individuals who are already familiar with remote work and can settle in well with any company, no matter how long or short the contract.
Remote work myths and facts can help facilitate a better understanding of the concept. Similarly, exploring remote team myths and facts can help create close-knit successful remote teams. Research and collaborating with the right company to hire a dedicated software developer team go a long way in ensuring continued success and a unified remote workplace.