Ever since the pandemic turned WFH into the cool new workplace trend, there has been no shortage of myths and rumors about remote work. With all the buzz, it’s no surprise that some companies have embraced the change, while others have been more… resistant.
The remote workforce is larger than ever before, but remote work is still the new kid on the block – elusive and misunderstood.
So what’s the real deal with remote work? Keep reading as we debunk some of the most common and most surprising myths about remote work.
Remote workers are stealing time from companies
This claim made headlines early in the pandemic when companies first transitioned to remote work. The official accusation? Time-theft.
Time-theft assumes that remote workers are stealing company time – that they aren’t working while being paid by their employers.
We’ve all seen the funny TikToks and Instagram Reels of employees taking naps during the day and doing… well, anything but work. But the truth is, remote work doesn’t mean employees work less, they just work differently.
Remote employees actually tend to log more hours in a week than those working in an office.
Yeah, some of your team may do their laundry or unload the dishwasher during the day from time to time, but we promise they aren’t any less dedicated to work. They’re simply making better use of the time in their day.
Remote employees are more expensive
Equipping your entire team to work remotely sounds expensive, but the average company can save up to $11,000 a year per employee by offering remote work arrangements.
By cutting out fixed expenses such as rent and an office, you’ll actually save money in your operating budget. You might even find indirect savings, knowing employees are more flexible on salary if you offer a flexible, remote work option.
However, it’s equally important to prioritize your employee’s home work environment. You may need to reallocate some of your budget to ensure your team is set up for success remotely. Some companies choose to provide home office improvement budgets or offer company-owned technology to improve the remote work experience.
While your expenses as a remote company will certainly be different than that of an in-office team, it likely won’t cost you more.
Remote workers need less support
Some leaders are under the impression that sending employees off to work remotely means that they will function completely autonomously. While this may be true for some teams, it’s still important for managers and team leaders to establish a clear line of communication to support their teams.
Some things you can do to support your team include:
- Daily / weekly check-ins
- Open “virtual” door policies
- Company-wide town halls and AMAs using engaging platforms like Venue
Communication with your team is key. A good remote-first company has policies and plans in place to ensure employees have autonomy but never feel isolated from the company and the rest of the team.
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Employees are less productive when working remotely
Despite what many believe, remote employees are equally productive compared to their in-office counterparts.
Sounds too good to be true right? Well, it turns out that not all employees benefit from the distractions of open concept offices or the stuffiness of a cubicle. Remote work gives your team the flexibility to choose a work environment that works best for them. And a better work environment = better performance.
Yeah, office employees may look more productive by spending more time physically at their desk, but we all know that butts in chairs doesn’t necessarily equal output.
Remote employees can’t build team relationships
Connecting with others virtually is undeniably more challenging when compared to being in an office. But it’s certainly nowhere near impossible. A remote-first company just requires a bit more thoughtfulness from leaders to build strong team connections.
With all the technology and software available, it’s never been easier to connect with colleagues virtually. From small team Huddles on Slack to company-wide Town Halls via Venue, your team is always just a click away. Your remote team doesn’t have to miss out on celebrating big wins or navigating through challenges just because you aren’t physically in the same room.
Remote employees automatically have better work-life balance
Remote work can help employees achieve better work-life balance. Working from home offers more day-to-day flexibility and significantly cuts down on commute time.
That being said, work-life balance doesn’t automatically improve for your team when working remotely.
When you work where you live, the two worlds can easily blend together. It can be tempting to pick up your laptop after dinner to squeeze out the last bit of work. Or maybe your pets or family members like to interrupt your workday.
Consider scheduling company-wide office hours or synchronous time, or making it clear that there is no expectation for employees to work outside of the predetermined hours.
As a remote leader, it’s important to encourage your team to set healthy boundaries so they can reap the full benefits of working from home.
The real truth about remote work
There are a lot of misgivings about remote work and how it can affect an organization. As more and more companies transition to remote-first workplaces, leaders are learning that remote work can offer more than meets the eye.
At the end of the day, remote work is what you and your teams make of it. By offering the right tools and culture to support your employees, you can have better and more successful remote teams.