Working on-site for 9-5 is the secret to our success — have you ever heard any successful entrepreneur saying that? No, right? But still, many employers feel the physical presence of employees is the key to improve productivity. While the benefits of remote workers are obvious, including lower office overheads and happy employees, some managers balk at the idea.
Maybe this is because the concept of remote working is typically associated with relaxation, slacking off, or pretending to get work done. The term “remote work” often conjures up images of lazy workers, lying down on the sofa, in front of the TV all day and yet still getting paid. But is that really the case though? Well, the truth is, most of these concepts are nothing but the persisting misconceptions and stigmas that stems from the lack of understanding. And we feel it’s high time for employers to ditch the old-school way of thinking and realize the fact. So, let’s debunk a few common misconceptions about remote working.
Myth 1: Remote Work Means Less Productivity
One of the biggest misconceptions that perpetuated among employers is that remote workers actually don’t work. Employers tend to think that remote workers are more distracted because there is no one within their earshot to keep tabs on them. Such employees slack off and this hampers productivity.
However, in a study by the Harvard Business Review, the opposite rang true. According to the study, companies witnessed a 13.5% productivity boost after permitting remote work. Sounds unbelievable, isn’t it? But if we think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Even an office environment can also be quite loud and distracting sometimes. For instance, one employee on a call can distract other employees who are trying hard to solve a complex problem. But remote workers don’t face such issues. They can work longer and don’t need extra time to refocus.
Myth 2: The Quality of Communication Goes Down
Another stereotype about remote work is that it impedes the quality of communication. With the lack of in-person interaction and diverse time zones, keeping the remote workers updated about what’s happening may seem quite difficult. But a survey conducted by TINYpulse reveals that a whopping 52% of remote workers reported having contact with their manager at least once in a day. And an additional 34% report once a week interactions with their managers.
With many advanced digital methods of socialization available today, developing open communication among a remote team is simpler than it appears. Chat and email and other virtual tools allow for almost instantaneous communication between two or more parties.
Myth 3: Remote Working Is Insecure
Many employers worry that transferring sensitive company data to devices on unsecured servers may lead to breaches in confidentiality. However, this is simply not true. Today’s advanced tech makes it easier than ever for a qualified IT team to prevent such security risks.
The cloud-based applications enable the IT team to outsource the security to vetted software programs and monitor employee’s systems remotely. In addition, companies can also set up good security practices such as dual authentication and virtual private networks (VPN) to further reinforce data security. This will ensure that information is protected and can’t be breached by unauthorized people. Remember, someone who intends to steal company data will do it regardless of location. Blaming remote work for this is like blaming the bullet for the kill.
Myth 4: Cost of Employing a Remote Worker Is Higher
There’s no denying that rolling out a remote working policy for the first time takes up some initial costs. Employers need to invest money in purchasing and deploying new software and the hardware to support remote working. But still, in overall, remote employees end up being less expensive. This is because they don’t need large office spaces, furniture or in-office amenities such as coffee machines, electricity bills, food, and other equipment. That means the employers will be saving money spent on sky-high rent and office maintenance. According to Global Workplace Analytics, employers can save more than $11,000 per half-time telecommuter every year.
Myth 5: Remote Working Erodes Company Culture
It is true that the office camaraderie won’t be the same when some of its employees are off-site. But the physical presence of employees is not what makes a company great. It’s the way you treat and value your employees which makes a company’s culture strong. Companies with remote teams can still build stronger workplace bonds through quality interactions. Using several tools that are available online, the remote teams can easily communicate, manage tasks effectively and collaborate.
Myth 6: Remote Workers Are Less Professional
Many entrepreneurs argue that remote workers are less professional and less efficient. There seems to have a perception that these workers settle for remote working because they can’t get roles elsewhere. But this is not true at all. In fact, many remotely working professionals have highly sought-after skills but they prefer to work remotely because they don’t want to be restricted by anything such as time zones or geography. They are forward-thinking, and they value flexibility. Just because they look for an organization that matches their values doesn’t mean they are less capable or less valuable.
It’s Time to Change the Mindset
Today, remote work is not just a trend. It is a part of the culture of some of the fastest-growing companies such as Google, IBM and Sun Microsystems. These corporate giants are increasingly becoming receptive to the idea of remote teams. This is because employees prefer 30 more minutes of shut-eye over 30 minutes hustle in traffic. They also choose to work in impactful co-worker collaboration rather than being a part of water cooler gossip. In short, they prefer remote work. So, if you haven’t embraced remote working yet, you better consider it. Otherwise, you may find yourself not only losing good employees but losing out on prospective workers too. If you are still on the fence regarding remote work, make sure your final decision is driven by facts.