Busting the myths of remote work
“Want to hang out with me tomorrow?”
“Sorry, I can’t, I’ve got to work,” I replied.
“Yeah, but you work from home… Surely you‘re not really working then!”
For remote workers there still seems to be this disconnect between what people think you do, and what you really do.
The concept of remote work has somehow become interchangeable with slacking off, or pretending to get work done, and has given rise to a negative connotation around remote work.
So we thought it’s time we busted some of those misconceptions and started setting the record straight.
Here are six of the biggest myths around remote work.
Remote workers are less professional
There seems to be this perception that remote workers are less professional, less capable and less valuable. They settle for remote positions because they can’t secure roles elsewhere. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a lot of people who want to work remotely have highly sought-after skills such as dependability, resourcefulness, self-motivation, efficiency, passion and determination.
They look for roles that allow them to work remotely, or they start working for themselves because they are forward thinking and don’t want to be restricted by something as simple as geography or time zones. They value flexibility and only want to be part of an organization that matches their values.
You stay in your PJs all day and never shower
A recent survey from OwlLabs actually asked the question, “Do you shower every morning before work” and found very little difference between the morning routines of remote workers and office staff, indicating that remote workers don’t fit into the lazy, pajama-clad stereotype.
A lot of remote workers actually say a morning routine such as showering, getting dressed, walking to the cafe to get a coffee and then returning home to start work makes them more focused and productive.
You hate people
A friend who regularly works remotely commented that people often say to her ‘Oh you must really hate people”.
But in actual fact, she works in conflict management and spends her time moderating discussions between people of vastly different backgrounds and ideas. And it’s meeting people and hearing their stories that she loves about her job. It’s just that this role involves work around the globe, so when she’s not with a client, she finds herself typing away in a cafe, co-working space or hotel.
Whether you’ve chosen to work remotely or it’s the only option for your profession, it’s pretty hard to escape working with people all together. Even solopreneurs, writers and contractors eventually have to work with people. So instead of looking at remote workers as negative nellies, it’s more likely they have found a job they love, and remote work gives them the opportunity to do that from anywhere. There is a plethora of tools available online that facilitate remote work. Conceptboard is one such tool. It enables you to collaborate seamlessly with your team and other stakeholders irrespective of location and timezone.
You don’t need to attend meetings
Ahhh, wouldn’t that be nice. Studies suggest poorly-run meetings cost companies $37 billion a year in lost productivity and job dissatisfaction increases exponentially the more meetings you attend. But unfortunately, working remotely won’t get you out of meetings.
In fact, remote meetings can be an even bigger source of frustration due to tech, communication and collaboration issues. This is why it’s important to be extra prepared and take advantage of useful technology such as our collaborative digital whiteboards, effective video conferencing software such as Zoom. Read our expert advice on achieving effective remote meetings here.
You watch Netflix all day
The only remote workers who watch Netflix all day are those that work all night.
Sure, remote working offers up the possibility to be more flexible with your working hours, so some people have the luxury of listening to their bio-rhythm and watching Netflix all day, then working all night, as that’s when they’re most productive.
But the majority of remote workers stick to regular schedules, and have to be available for meetings and discussions that line up with other staff and business activities. So even if they wanted to, it’s impossible to sit around watching Netflix all day.
You work less/slack off
This is probably one of the biggest myths going around, and the easiest one to bust. In fact, studies have repeatedly showed that remote workers work harder, more productively and longer than their in-office counterparts. Why?
Well, partly because they find it harder to disconnect if they are always at their computer, and partly because they love what they do. Furthermore, remote workers were less apt to take time off, working even when ill.
To avoid burnout, experts recommend that remote workers stick to their schedules, have a separate work space, don’t answer the phone or emails outside work hours, and take proper lunch breaks.
The nature of work is rapidly changing, and remote work is one of the fastest growing trends. Organizations need to embrace this if they are to attract and keep necessary talent. If you need more convincing read our latest article about the five ways remote work is beneficial for your company.