Most economists, business analysts, and tech companies agree that remote working is here to stay.
Many businesses – such as TechQuarters, a company that provides IT support services in London – have gone remote full time now. Yet there remains a lot of misconceptions around remote working.
A new trend of hybrid working is on the rise, where organisations will be a mix of on-premises office workers and remote workers.
While this is a great solution that enables every employee to work the way they want to, it may also increase the prevalence of myths surrounding remote work – these may range from questioning remote workers’ productivity to wondering about their commitment to professionalism.
Many of these ideas are unfair and can be reductive to workplace collaboration if office workers look down on their remote working colleagues.
1. Communicating with Remote Workers is Harder
Companies that want to arrange remote working are often concerned about communication.
They fear that remote workers will be less efficient at communicating with clients; and they think that remote workers and office workers will be less likely to communicate, as they’re not in the same room as each other.
The good news is that this is rarely the case when businesses take the time and resources to properly set up a remote working strategy. To start with, remote workers actually have more time in the day to communicate when they don’t have commutes to worry about.
What is more, consider that video meetings are more focused on remote workers, because they are able to communicate with all of their colleagues at once. In fact, there may even be less urgency of communication when office workers assume they can go and speak to their colleagues at any point.
Related: Is Nomadic Work the Future of Remote Work?
2. Remote Workers Are Less Productive
This myth probably stems from employers worrying about not being able to see what their employees are doing all day; they think that, because a worker isn’t in the office, they’ll be watching TV or out running errands.
The reality is that there is no reason for workers to be shirking responsibilities just because they’re not in the office – they need to complete their tasks and fulfill their responsibilities just the same, and they are no more likely to be distracted or procrastinate than their office working counterparts.
In fact, one study found that 30% of UK office workers were more productive while working remotely. TechQuarters recommends scheduling daily meetings between teams and departments – this can help with employer-employee trust, and the social aspect of meetings can also boost productivity.
3. Remote Workers Are Harder to Train
Regular training is critical within a company; if an organisation is not investing in their employees developing their skills and knowledge, then they are only disadvantaging themselves.
However, there is a common myth that remote work and training do not mix – whether this is due to the idea that remote workers are less keen to engage with training, or due to the idea that delivering training to remote workers is harder.
In any case, both of those ideas are false. There are even some studies that suggest a higher percentage of remote workers received regular training when compared with office workers – though this may only be because there are more office workers overall. Remote workers are also likely to seek out training independently.
The idea that remote workers are harder to train is also a myth. There are hundreds upon thousands of training courses – both free and paid – available on the internet. These days video training is perhaps even more accessible than training from an in-person instructor.
As training is an important aspect of employee retention and career development, it is worth considering the advantages of how easy it is to train remote workers.