8 Myths Worrying Employers About Remote Work
Commuting used to be an expected part of having a career, but not anymore. More people than ever began working at home during the global pandemic, and experts estimate remote work could continue for another two years before in-office employment gets back to pre-pandemic levels. With this in mind, we’ve busted eight myths about remote work for employers concerned about how this could affect their team and their future.
1. Collaboration Is Easier In-Person
It makes sense to assume collaborating is much easier when everyone sits around the same table. There’s nothing stopping people from speaking up, pitching ideas or feeling included in the conversation. Although that might seem like the obvious conclusion, the recent remote work trend has proven it false.
The digital world provides many tools to solve any remote collaboration problems. Employers can utilize free programs and websites to connect team members more easily. Options like sharing calendars with Calendly, streamlining video conferencing with Zoom and suggesting Google Workspace for collaboration tools gives everyone the same access to what they need to accomplish their work.
2. Company Culture Will Decline
People tend to become more committed to their job if the company culture helps them thrive. Employers often think that culture will disappear if people aren’t in the office for team-building events, exercises and meetings. The truth is that many of the same activities can happen online.
Host icebreaker conversations over video or use digital presentations to remind people how their work reinforces the culture that drives positive change. Everyone will still feel included and strengthen their bonds with their coworkers without going to the office in-person.
3. Productivity Will Slow Down
It’s easy to assume productivity decreases when no one looks over an employee’s shoulder to ensure they’re on task. Watching TV or running errands may seem like better alternatives to working when your boss isn’t around. However, a recent study found that remote employees worked 30 hours or 1.4 more days each month at home than at the office.
People can focus more without distractions like ringing phones or meetings that take them away from their desks. It allows people, like recruiting teams, to speed up onboarding or offboarding processes by using digital solutions like e-signatures to avoid mailing paperwork back and forth.
Team members can use their faster home Wi-Fi to upload large projects or quickly find digital documents because they don’t have to search through filing cabinets.
Productivity levels are more likely to increase if companies allow employees to stay remote. It’s been a surprising result from teams forced to work from home during the pandemic, but it can continue benefiting employers who don’t cave to the myth that working in-person is the only way to stay on task.
4. Digital Security Becomes Weakened
Employers are often concerned about their companies having less digital security if everyone uses different Wi-Fi networks. Their IT teams won’t be able to fix problems in-person or guarantee the security of each network. Sensitive data should remain safe no matter where a team member connects to the internet, but that doesn’t have to become a new risk when people work from home.
Cloud-based applications make it much easier for IT teams to monitor employee systems and reinforce data security. A simple step like investing in a virtual private network (VPN) will hide an employee’s home IP address, creating a secure tunnel for accessing, downloading or uploading sensitive information.
IT teams can also require dual authentication logins and establish encrypted communication tools to form backup security to an employee’s home-based firewalls. There are numerous ways to protect your company’s files and team member activity without a person’s physical location weakening your security.
5. Employee Commitment Takes a Nosedive
When people don’t feel engaged, they’re less committed to their work. Being isolated at home could produce that result, but the research proves otherwise. Survey responses show that 58 percent of remote workers would quit if they had to return to full-time work in an office. They’d much rather stay in their remote positions than find traditional jobs elsewhere.
It isn’t difficult to see why people prefer to keep their remote jobs. Working from home helps parents get more time with their kids, allows more flexibility for maternity or paternity leave and gives people the freedom to use their time how they see fit. Employers will significantly reduce their turnover rates by allowing people to continue working remotely.
6. Quality Communication Is Nonexistent
Total reliance on e-communication is one of the myths worrying employers about remote work. They believe in-person communication produces higher-quality results because there’s less chance that people won’t understand each other. Still, there’s always the risk that someone will misinterpret another person’s tone or body language, so the familiarity of in-office communication masks the residual potential for problems.
People often find that written communication improves their professional success. If everyone has written words to reflect on when problems arise, it’s easy to clarify and fix things. Memories aren’t as reliable as a saved email or recorded video conference.
7. Employing Remote Workers Is More Expensive
When you read about myths that say remote workers are less committed and less productive, you might assume they’re more expensive to keep on your payroll. If you continually pay to hire new team members to replace people who can’t contribute to the workplace or boost sales, it makes sense to eliminate work-from-home positions.
Experts agree that remote workers actually save their employers money. When companies allow their team members to work from home for half their schedule, employers save up to $11,000 per person for several reasons. People are happier working from home, so they’ll stay in their jobs longer. Employers can also downsize their office space and reduce the monthly fees for parking permits.
People who stay home for their entire schedule could double their employer’s savings. It’s a significant way for business owners to save money, while retaining their talented team members.
8. Remote Employees Become Lonely
Supervisors want the best for their employees, which includes their mental wellness. You might worry that your employees will deal with overwhelming loneliness if they can’t interact with their coworkers in-person every day. While it’s true some people might feel isolated while working from home, employers can easily mitigate this effect of remote employment.
To tackle this, you could offer a monthly stipend to remote employees so they can rent coworking spaces near their homes and meet up with other team members. You could also host weekly virtual events for everyone to hang out after work, like starting trivia nights. Loneliness won’t be an issue if people know they have upcoming opportunities to make memories with their coworkers.
Bust the Myths About Remote Work
While there are a few myths worrying employers about remote work, you can look at them as opportunities to learn new ways to improve your company culture. Reading the research behind the busted myths and finding opportunities for building team connections are just a few ways to keep your employees happy while maintaining your remote positions.