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Discover the truth about working remotely as we debunk 6 common myths. Unveil the benefits and realities of remote work.
While some firms had already embraced remote work long before the outbreak of COVID-19, the pandemic accelerated the rate of working remotely. According to a survey conducted by Statista, 17% of the entire US workforce worked from the comfort of their homes for 5 days a week before the coronavirus epidemic but the rate rose to 44% during the global health crisis. This upsurge was caused by the lockdown and quarantine measures imposed by the government to curb the spread of the virus, making it almost impossible to commute and work in offices for many.
While working from home has been found to have numerous benefits for employers and their employees, only a few companies have embraced this concept for some reasons. The first reason is that such a work arrangement destroys the conventional working practice. The second one is that most corporations don’t have the resources to transition from traditional working modalities to allow their employees to start working remotely. The other reason is because of the myths peddled around in regard to working from home.
This article will provide you with the truths about remote work by debunking the 6 common myths concerning this working arrangement.
This is undoubtedly one of the widely spread myths about working from home, especially by individuals with hardly any experience in remote work. This is true for micromanagers who always believe that employees can only be productive when they work under maximum supervision. Most supervisors have a productivity paranoia as they fear that lack of close monitoring makes employees to slack off in their work.
The first thing such managers have not realized is that the recent advancements in technology have led to a lot of changes in the work setting. One of these modifications is the adoption of technology to accomplish job tasks working remotely. While some people argue that employees that work in an office environment are more productive than their counterparts who work from their homes, the reverse is also true.
In fact, a survey by Fortune revealed that remote workers are indeed more productive than in-office employees, contrary to most bosses’ beliefs. The researchers found that workers who had a flexible schedule reported a higher productivity level than those whose schedules were obstinate. In addition, remote workers can focus more on their work than their in-office counterparts. Their flexible schedules also allow them to have a better balance between work and life than those with inflexible timetables.
Having a flexible schedule makes a remote worker happier and more satisfied with his or her work. This, in turn, results in improved productivity. Unlike employees that work in offices, those who work remotely rarely experience burnout due to their flexible timetables and good work-life balance.
It’s, therefore, safe to state that remote workers are not in any way less productive than their counterparts who work in offices. They are actually able to meet their targets and the set deadlines because they can plan their time and use the time they would have spent commuting to do constructive work.
Culture is irrefutably a vital component of any business establishment because it allows a company to attract the best talent, enhances employee retention, increases employee satisfaction and happiness, and influences overall organizational performance. Your workers are the business engine, and thus, the organization’s culture affects the way they interact with each other and the firm. Some people argue that working from home kills a company’s culture but a majority of those who work virtually believe that this is further from the truth. They actually consider it as the best way to enhance a firm’s culture.
Organizational culture shouldn’t be anchored on the office, but it should, instead, be developed around the workers and their cultures. This means that what matters the most is people and the work they do regardless of where they undertake it from. Working remotely ought to be considered as valuable as in-office working. What is vital is to have a strong foundation to the company’s culture by finding the right balance and espousing it.
It’s possible to cultivate corporate culture whether employees are working from home or office, all that’s required is to make sure that the workers always feel appreciated and valued. Another crucial thing is to implement proper communication channels to help create strong bonds among the employees. Maintaining organizational culture transcends having team-building activities, celebrations, and going for expeditions. Employers need to create a virtual setting where their employees can feel safe to interact with each other and share their opinions. That way, you can be sure to have a well-functioning, happier workforce as the workers would feel increasingly motivated, want to bolster teamwork, and establish lasting relationships with their colleagues.
There is no evidence to show that working from home damages an institution’s culture; what exists is just a myth.
Some people believe that remote work restricts workers from being innovative and creative in the workplace. They argue that remote employees cannot physically present and discuss their ideas with their co-workers. They are also said to be less innovative as they are unable to work with like-minded individuals.
However, the employees’ creativity can also be suppressed by the office setting since workers can only interact with people and things around them. The work environment may sometimes make it difficult for employees to focus. Workers may also be less creative when they feel that they are not engaged or they don’t understand the purpose of working at a certain office.
The innovativeness of employees can be subdued in an office environment, especially if the top management has established certain power dynamics that make it hard for the workers to express their opinions. An office might also lack enough space to enable the workforce to collaborate. Working collaboratively is considered the key to nurturing innovation in organizations.
Remote teams have collaborative tools that give them the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity. These tools enable them to share diagrams, create polls, send in images, or have a blank canvas they can all work on. In this case, remote workers use such collaboration software as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack to connect. As an employer, you only need to set up a channel on these platforms to facilitate their collaboration, spontaneity, and creativity behind a serendipitous innovation.
This approach motivates remote workers to collaborate, contribute, and even claim credit. The person who comes up with an idea and those that subsequently contribute are not only motivated by the need to advance the business idea but also by the possibility of its recognition as being sufficiently innovative, worthwhile, and practical to execute.
The claims that working remotely kills creativity and innovation are ill-advised and hold no water.
It’s easy to develop good relationships when you interact with your co-workers at a personal level but it isn’t entirely impossible to cultivate good working associations with remote teams. Most managers have invested in tools that enable virtual collaboration. Communication tools give remote workers the opportunity to participate in a company’s activities and ongoing discussions. That way, remote workers are able to easily connect with their colleagues.
Building relationships with co-workers when working remotely can sometimes present some challenges. You may be required to put more effort while at the same time considering that developing a strong association with another remote worker might take longer if you don’t meet face-to-face. The first thing you should do is to create a rapport. If it’s impossible to meet in person, you should consider using video calls initially so that you can see the other person’s facial expressions and body language.
You will, however, be required to invest plenty of your time to make the relationship work and robust. You should always find time to chat with your new-found friend to know what they are going through and allow them to vent. This way, they will always feel valued and cared for. You can also ask them how you can help in their remote work.
As your connection becomes stronger, you can start calling each other over the phone. Your conversations will now go beyond talking about your job to discussing your private affairs. You may be surprised to find that you are the only individual your colleague has talked with in a long time. As time goes by, you will find your relationship moving from strength to strength. Associations that are developed in a virtual setting are sometimes stronger than those formed in an office environment because of the snitching that is usually commonplace in a physical workplace.
Most people tend to think that those who work remotely have a lot of free time such that they can slack off in their work without any worries. But it’s crucial to note that remote work is just like any other in-office job and remote workers have similar kind of roles.
They have assigned responsibilities, deadlines to meet, and the same working hours. While you may be tempted to procrastinate when working remotely, you should remember that you’ll face disciplinary action like your colleagues who work in the office in case you don’t achieve the set goals and objectives within the given timeframe.
The truth of the matter is that you can find remote job opportunities in all sectors of the economy. Examples of remote jobs include sales and marketing, where you can work as a marketing manager, a sales representative, a public relations specialist, a social media specialist, or an SEO specialist, content creation jobs like a copywriter, a graphic designer, a copy editor, an art director, and a content moderator, and service jobs, such as a virtual assistant, a customer service representative, a tutor, a translator or an interpreter, and a medical transcriptionist. There are also business administration jobs like accountant, human resources specialist, financial analyst, business development manager, and insurance underwriter. These occupations range from entry-level to senior management positions. When sending applications for remote work, you may choose either a freelance, full-time, or part-time job.
You might be wondering what you are supposed to do to find a remote job. Procuring a remote job has now become easy because many corporations are seeking for people who can work virtually, and in most cases, your location is not a barrier. You only need to visit remote job boards, search for the work you can do, and apply. It’s possible to find a remote job without any prior remote experience like a virtual assistant, copyeditor, and social media assistant. You should, however, note that you’ll be interviewed through a video conferencing site.
More and more people are choosing to work from home. In fact, a recent survey by Pew Research Center discovered that about 22 million Americans, which translates to 14% of all employed adults, are currently working remotely. The researchers also found that 35% of workers whose jobs can be performed virtually work from home full-time. They further found that a majority of employees have embraced a hybrid schedule, whereby they go to their job sites or workplaces for some days and work from home for the rest of the week. In this regard, most workers revealed that they work from the comfort of their homes for at least three days a week.30
There have been many misconceptions about remote work. But this piece has debunked some of the most popular myths in regard to this kind of work arrangement. People have been working remotely for long, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the practice is not going to end any time soon. Working from home has, without a doubt, helped revolutionize the conventional work setting in a way that was never envisaged, allowing enterprises to thrive even more.
Stanley Deepak is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with 15+ years of experience. He loves tech products and book reading. He writes on philosophy and culture on LinkedIn.
Published June 16, 2023, Updated June 28, 2023
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