“You work from home, so you can take me to airport, right?” “Can’t you take care of it since you’re home all day?” “What do you even do with all that time?”
There are a lot of misconceptions and myths about remote work that need to be busted. As a remote worker or the manager of a distributed team, you’ve probably faced each of these fallacies before, much to your chagrin. Here is the truth behind the top four remote work myths:
1. “Remote workers are less productive.”
We hear this over and over: “I don’t want to let my employees work remotely because I’m afraid their productivity will fall.” There’s a common mental picture of remote workers across the country sitting in their pajamas on their couch and binging through Netflix all day, every day. There is plenty of confusion about remote workers’ ability to get the job done.
Contrary to popular belief, a Harvard Business Review study found that remote workers were actually more productive than their office-based counterparts. The study focused on one particular company that decided to offer its employees a voluntary remote work program. The study found that even as per-worker cost was decreased by $1,900 per month because of reduced office space, worker productivity soared by 13.5%.
For one thing, with remote work there’s no commute involved. Employees arrive to work energized instead of sitting in their car for an hour or more and avoid traffic-related delays. This goes double for lunch time and other breaks throughout the day. In general, the remote workers took less time off and took shorter breaks than their counterparts. Sick days similarly declined.
Furthermore, while offices can be useful for a lot of business-related tasks, they can also be pretty distracting environments, mainly because of the social component. Remote workers avoid the so-called cake in the breakroom effect—remote workers didn’t face the distractions that happen in a physical office.
At the same time, the social elements of office life are important for creating a company culture and bonding between co-workers. By coming to work in an online office like Sococo, you get the best of both worlds. You can have a room designated for cake time and gather to recognize a birthday or other occasion. When it’s time to get back to work, however, there’s no cake to clean up, and everyone can pop right back into the work zone.
2. “It’ll be impossible to schedule an effective meeting with remote workers.”
Another misconception about moving to a remote or flexible structure is that it will be impossible for management to schedule a meeting if they need all hands on deck.
One option is to move to a mixed schedule where some days are spent in the office and others are spent at home. As Professor Nicholas Bloom, author of the HBR study, says, “There are two valid ways to handle the problem: One is to rotate the days at home so that a certain percentage of workers are always in the office. That’s the way to go if you’re focused on saving space and reducing your real estate costs. The other option is to schedule mandatory in-the-office days.”
There’s also a positive side to going virtual—it makes you more selective about which meetings actually need to happen in-person. Maren Donovan, founder and CEO of virtual assistant hiring service Zirtual, explains in an interview about remote work myths for Business News Daily, “In our experience, meetings in the virtual space are often more efficient and productive than in-office. We are all extra sensitive to everyone’s varying time zones and don’t feel the need to waste time. We also greatly value the in-person meetings and tasks throughout the day, since they are not the norm.”
When you’re working in Sococo, you’ll get the benefits of conventional office dynamics in the remote work world. Just from looking at the office floor plan, you can immediately see who is available to talk to, who is caught up in another meeting, and who is offline at any given time. This ability to connect with other humans instantly encourages the same culture of impromptu meetings and huddles that you get in an in-person office.
3. “We work best as a team when everyone is in the same place.”
It can be hard for someone who hasn’t experienced distributed work to wrap their head around how collaboration can still happen effectively without traditional in-person meetings.
But in 2012, Harvard Business Review interviewed researchers with experience in successful collaborative environments and studied dozens of virtual teams—and here is what they learned: “Successful collaborations… can occur in virtual environments too. But the trick is to proactively remove the barriers to collaboration.”
Your Sococo online workspace recreates the power of a physical location, breaking down collaboration barriers along the way. The ability to pop into a conference room together, turn on audio and video, and immediately start a brainstorm session keeps everyone feeling like they are in the same place—even when they are working from their homes on opposite sides of the world.
4. “Isn’t remote work lonely?”
You’ll often hear this question from people who have never worked remotely themselves. For one thing, one of the great benefits of remote work is the ability to change your location as necessary. If you like to have people around you while you work, you can always move to a coffee shop or coworking space.
Working alongside your team in Sococo allows you to build relationships, even in the digital world. You can get work done in the same digital workplace, or take a break to catch up on each other’s lives around the virtual water cooler. Remote work becomes effortlessly social and collaborative.
The bottom line is, according to a University of Illinois study, “telecommuters want to be seen as ‘good citizens’ of the company in order to justify their flexible work arrangements.” If you take a good look at the benefits of remote work and debunk the myths, it’s clear that remote work is the future.