6 Myths About Working From Home
There’s no shortage of recent articles on how big companies like Yahoo, IBM, and Bank of America are calling their remote workers back into the office after years of working from home. However, remote work is actually on the rise and has increased 115% in the last decade according to a 2017 report by FlexJobs. Remote work is working well for many reasons: it allows employees to live in less urban areas where housing is more affordable, it means that an hour-long commute often becomes an hour of productive work time, and employees are more engaged as a result of greater work-life balance.
Despite all these benefits, certain stereotypes and myths still exist about the work-from-home employee and leave office-based employees thinking things like: Don’t they spend all day in their pajamas?; They’re obviously less dedicated than us office-based colleagues; How much do they really get done from home anyway? Let’s try to dispel some of these myths and gain a better understanding of remote workers:
Myth #1: They’re Distracted and Less Productive
It’s easy to assume that the employee who works from home spends half his day cooking and doing laundry, but a study by the Harvard Business Review shows that companies that introduced remote work, saw worker productivity jump 13.5%. An employee working from home actually has less distractions: no water cooler chit chat and no breaks for birthday celebrations and cake. Breaks like this are distracting for office workers and eat up work time during the actual event, plus the additional time needed to refocus and get back on task.
Myth #2: They’re Unreachable
Just because you can’t see them, it doesn’t mean they’re off at a movie or taking a spa day. If your business is tied to normal operating hours, then it will be obvious if they’re not available. That, plus the wide range of technology tools to keep people connected, e.g. Skype, Slack, etc., provides visibility into the availability of remote workers.
Myth #3: They’re a Security Risk
A lot of people are concerned that transferring data and files to computers on unsecured servers creates security risks. There are many solutions to keep data secure and a knowledgeable IS team can set up processes like
Myth #4: They’re Costly
Some people assume that remote workers drive up costs associate with IS support and equipment, but in the long term, they’re actually much cheaper than their in-office counterparts. A remote worker does not take up office space and reduces maintenance costs associated with furniture, coffee, food, and copy machines.
Myth #5: They Work 24/7
Remote workers do tend to be more available than their office counterparts because they spend less time commuting and they have less distractions. That doesn’t mean that they never clock out though. Remote workers keep similar schedules to their office colleagues and still maintain a work-life balance.
Myth #6: They’re Bad for Company Culture
While there’s no denying that remote workers miss out on the water cooler conversations, there are many ways to create a workplace inclusive of in-office and remote workers. Getting together in-person for important meetings or annual events, and encouraging everyone to use communication tools like Slack can make a huge difference in keeping the team connected.
Remote work can have a lot of advantages for the organization and the employees, but it’s not for everyone. Some workers may be very capable of working from home and enjoy it, while others crave the office environment and are more productive if they’re in the office each day. Consider the individuals, their roles, and the circumstances when evaluating remote work arrangements.