What is remote work to your company? An occasional benefit? A disruption in your typical process? The future of your company? Many decision makers have concerns over remote employees, and general negative perceptions about working from home. Most of these perceptions aren’t based in fact. In this post we will address and correct six of the top misconceptions of remote work.
Many employers do not trust their employees to do the right things when they’re working remotely. Which is a shame, because a number of studies have found that people working remotely are actually more productive.
For a company to succeed with a remote work program, they need to re-focus from “spending work hours at work” to “spending work hours working.” Focusing on deliverables and outcomes, rather than the amount of time spent working, will result in improved focus and ultimately higher levels of productivity.
Culture is an important part of any company, but it shouldn’t hold your company back from necessary change. Take a look at your company culture. Is it enabling your employees to succeed in any environment? Is it open to adapting when change forces your company to react? Or is it a foosball table in the lunchroom?
In this era, companies with a shared group goal, one they can set achievements for, one that can capitalize on the benefits of adapting, will succeed. Companies that obsess over tradition will deny themselves the benefits of change and suffer the consequences.
One can make the same argument one thousand ways. But this isn’t an argument about what’s fair and what’s not. It’s just a matter of practicality. Some people have roles that require them to be on the road, or in factories, or in spaceships. How employees react to your company’s remote work policy will depend on how you roll it out. Remote work doesn’t have to be an all-in proposition – some people prefer to work one or two days per week in the office.
Start by determining who can and cannot work remotely. Could they work some days in the office and some days remote? Then give them the option of opting in or out. Use your marketing team to communicate why your company is considering remote work and what the eligibility criteria is.
If your company has its own servers on site, that doesn’t necessarily make it less susceptible to cyber-attacks. Companies can have most of their structure in the cloud and have the same level of security, if not better. Having a cloud-centric company adds efficiency to your IT operations. For example, IT personnel can onboard and offboard devices remotely with the click of a button.
Working from home versus working in office doesn’t make someone any less an employee. A company’s culture should reassure its employees of their value. And that their value remains unaffected by their work location. If employees are worried about being forgotten, they should be encouraged to proactively reach out and connect with those who can help. Managers should work with them to discuss professional development opportunities and career possibilities.
In many ways, working remotely is like starting a new job. An employee might have the same role, but now they’re also their own task master. If an employee has this concern, they should consider how they successfully managed their time while working in office and implement similar strategies at home.
Managers should encourage employees to set appointments to help maintain control/discipline and keep to office hours. Taking breaks can also be helpful for maintaining focus, as is separating home and office as much as possible. Equip employees with tools and systems to help them self-manage. Encouraging and supporting employees to create an environment where they have structure but also flexibility will help them find their own balance.
Remote work is not granting employees the option to do nothing on their couch all day or marooning them from the rest of the business. Remote work is an opportunity to increase company flexibility and enable employees to accomplish more from the comfort of their home. If you’re interested in learning more about remote work and how it could play into your company’s future, check out our educational materials on remote work.