Remote Work Myths That Got Busted
The concept of remote work is not new, however, last year brought a huge increase in its popularity. Earlier it was often treated as a benefit to work a day or a few days a week from home. Now a lot of companies have decided to work fully remotely or in a hybrid model. Was it a difficult change for some of them? Yes. Had the employers and employees many doubts? Yes. Were they reasonable? Fortunately, no. At least not always. Let’s take a look at the most popular remote work myths.
The one about the productivity
Employees working from home won’t be productive. Instead of working, they will be spending time on private things. That was one of the most popular doubts about remote work.
Let’s compare two employees - one works from the office, the other from home. The first one has some tasks to do every day. He has to complete them before the deadline and his effectiveness is assessed on the basis of fulfilling the tasks properly. The other employee, who works from home, has some tasks to do every day. He has to complete them before the deadline and his effectiveness is assessed on the basis of fulfilling the tasks properly. I hope you got the point. :)
Productivity is also a very individual issue. People are the most productive at various times of the day, in various environmental circumstances. Also, a lot of people, to be productive need more sleep - one hour in bed instead of on a bus can make a big difference. Remote work allows to create the individual working environment which influences the best level of productivity for the individual person.
The one about the communication
Employees will not communicate at all. There will be no flow of information.
Communication in a team is one of the most crucial factors for effective work. It influences the area of relationships between employees, but also giving and receiving feedback, planning daily tasks, cooperation, and much more. It is a big challenge for managers to facilitate effective communication in a team. It’s necessary to create opportunities for employees to exchange information, share feedback, and be up-to-date with the news. The basic and effective practice is to organize regular meetings for the whole team and individual ones with every member. The same practices may be used for work in the office and for remote work - thanks to many tools available on the market.
The important fact to notice here is that many teams work from different locations. Even if the employees work from the office, they still have to communicate online. And it works! If only the area of communication is properly taken care of.
The one about the organizational culture
Is it even possible to build any culture in any organization online?
Let’s start by explaining what organizational culture is. It is a ‘business card’ of every company. It’s created by values, habits, or promoted behaviors among all employees. Culture in the company is a very important factor, which builds the organization and influences its success in the market. Considering this definition, organizational culture can be created and developed with the same efficiency for work from the office and remote work. The only change will be the way of creating it. Employees will have new habits or behaviors, related to their daily routine in their home ‘offices’. But values may be still the same - companies still can support and promote the same goals or strategy. The conclusion is simple - it’s definitely necessary to put some effort into taking care of organizational culture - no matter if employees work from the office or from home.
The one about the workspace
The office is adjusted for working. The house isn't.
Offices are often created by professional designers, who make projects based on the needs of all employees. But every person may have slightly different needs. A home office may be designed for the individual employee. Companies often support their employees with financial bonuses for adjusting their place of living to a place of work. Employees can create an environment that best suits their working style and preferences. It will increase their comfort and productivity.
Working remotely, employees have an influence on the circumstances around them, like the level of noise or the temperature. In the office, it’s not always possible, as everyone may need a different environment for comfortable work. Also a lot of offices function as open spaces, where employees may be distracted by the voices of their colleagues during calls, typing keyboard sounds, and small talks. The level of noise may cause difficulties to focus. Remote work helps to adjust the surroundings to individual needs. Having it under control helps to achieve higher productivity.
The one about the costs
Remote work will cost much more.
Costs may be considered from a few different perspectives - personal, financial, and social.
Remote work brings some new costs, like products of everyday life, electricity bills, heating or internet. However, on the other hand, it helps to save time and money in other fields.
Employees spend hours getting to the office and back home. Commuting to work may take a few hundred extra hours each year. It can definitely be used in a more pleasant and constructive way. And from the financial perspective, commuting to work by car in many cities may cost 15% of the annual income. Plus costs of parking and insurance or tickets for public transportation. The costs of food may be also lower - preparing lunch or coffee at home is definitely cheaper than in restaurants or coffee shops, which employees often use during a workday at the office.
Of course, all of the mentioned arguments may look totally different depending on the management style in the particular company. Both ways of working - from the office or remotely - require some adjustments specific for the work environment, some level of managerial control, giving and receiving feedback, or tools to communicate. They are different when employees work from the office and from home. But it doesn’t mean one of these ways is better or worse than the other.
Fortunately, last year changed the situation and at least some of the remote work myths got busted in many companies. Especially when the possibility of remote work becomes a more and more important factor for employees' satisfaction.