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Remote work

Busting the Top 5 Myths About Remote Work

Let’s take a look at some common remote work myths and compare them with what we have learned during these past few years.

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When it comes to remote work, we are far from reaching a general consensus. Companies big and small, all around the world, in every industry, are facing the age-old question:

Does remote work actually work, or is it only for cases of emergency?

​​Sure, it’s a dream come true for the millennial workforce, and in this post-COVID world, it makes complete sense. But millennials still have their doubts, and contrary to popular belief, they aren't the only ones. Communication is too hard. It’s difficult to collaborate. Remote workers don’t get the same opportunities. The list or arguments that opposers of remote work come up with is quite the endless one.

But there’s a plot twist. Many of these arguments have recently been disproven as remote work has become the reality. Let’s take a look at some common remote work myths and compare them with what we have learned during these past few years.

Myth #1: Remote work is only for startups or small companies

It’s a common misconception that large organisations can’t put remote work into action. The assumption is that larger organisations = bigger teams = making remote work too complicated.

Reality: Many large companies have implemented remote work successfully

Going remote works for companies of any size. The success of remote work doesn’t depend on the number of employees. It depends on building the right culture in the organisation.

Sure, startups have it easier because they are nimble enough to adapt to a faster space. But they aren't alone. Gitlab, Buffer, Zapier are examples of large, successful companies that are remote-first. Gitlab, now a public company, has created a successful ecosystem for remote working. Even companies like Adobe, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook are implementing long-term remote options.

Myth #2: Remote work decreases productivity

It’s a common misconception that the atmosphere at the ‘home office’ is not conducive to work. Some companies are even virtually monitoring employees' computers to ensure they are working (not a good thing to do if you want to retain your employees, folks!)

Reality: Studies show remote workers are more productive

Let’s face it, the office did not have any fewer distractions either. Between the commute, meetings, coffee breaks and office gossip, we were never really 100% productive.

A study by CoSo Cloud shows that 77% of employees are more productive when working from home. This is due to many factors: lack of commute, less office small talk, fewer distractions, and exercise being some of them.

Myth #3: Good communication is impossible 

Ease of communication is something that many office workers take for granted. You can always hop into the office for a chat. For remote workers, the distance would appear to make communication much more difficult. Organisations may think that virtual discussions and meetings cannot be fruitful. But that’s a myth.

Reality: Remote communication can be just as effective

Virtual face to virtual face communication can work (but you need to know how to do it)!

New video conferencing, chat, project management, and remote work-specific technology (like Dive) make communication simple. Without in-person meetings, teams are encouraged to be more concise and clear. Plus, communicating asynchronously means less meeting time and more heads-down time.

Less syncing up, more productivity.

Myth #4: It's impossible to build a company culture with a remote team

It’s a widespread belief that companies with distributed remote teams lack culture. Without in-person events, companies fear that employees won't feel included or accepted.

Reality: Remote companies have a different and even better culture

Remote-first companies can have a robust culture. It just requires leadership and HR to be more creative. If you copy and paste existing policies from in-office culture, you will run into issues. By embracing the new generation of tools built for remote work (like Dive, again), building a vibrant, engaged culture is easy.

Want more tips on how to get there? Check out our 10 commandments for building a remote culture right here.

Myth #5: Without clear in-office hours, remote employees work 24/7

When you are working from home, work could easily spill into your personal life. But is it true that no clear boundaries between work and personal time = working 24/7?

Reality: Work-life balance is significantly increased with remote work

There is some truth here. Yes, remote employees are, on an average, working more hours during the week. But 99% of remote workers want to keep working remotely, even though the hours are longer. Why? 

Because of the positive impact on their work-life balance.

According to FlexJobs, work-life balance increased for 73% of remote workers when they were working remotely. What changed? Multiple things. Most workers cited reasons like getting to spend more time with their families, or finding a slot to exercise, and flexibility.

But here’s the thing. Everything aside, it is still up to company leadership to ensure that work-life balance is a priority. You can do this by encouraging your team to keep regular work hours. You can also be observant of signs of burnout such as a drop in output quality and lower energy levels.

In Conclusion 

Remote is no longer the future of work. On the contrary, it is here and now.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to address the misconceptions around remote work. Companies need to be making decisions based on reality. Then we can start to focus on what really matters: embracing remote work culture and making it the best it can.

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