Remote work has changed the perception towards work due to the flexibility it offers to both the employees and the employers, due to which it is emerging as a popular trend. However, some organizations still feel that remote work does more harm than good.
Infosys founder Narayan Murthy himself said in a statement that, “It was very difficult to build a culture of hard work, imagination, excellence, intuition, meritocracy, discussion and debate if people worked from home.”
There are organizations that feel that the remote working model can have a low level of efficiency and will fade away with time. Employees’ productivity, transparency in work, and lack of employee engagement are some areas of concern for business owners who are not ready for a remote working model.
However, there are strong proof, which contradicts their claims and tells that remote working culture is going to stay here. The wave of great resignation triggered by the pandemic has compelled many organizations to rethink their work culture. As per the GoodFirms survey, 70% of HR have reported that the unavailability of work hours flexibility as the reason for resignations. In another report by Gartner, 39% of knowledge workers have indicated to leave if the organization insists on a ‘hard return’ to fully on-site work. It is evident that remote work is expanding its spectrum at a global level, and unless business organizations don’t bring flexibility, they cannot harness the benefits of remote work.
Here are some common top misconceptions about remote working.
- Remote work is not for managers: As organizations find remote work as the future of work, many claim that remote work is not suitable for managers. They believe that one-to-one conversation and monitoring employees closely are essential for achieving organizational goals. They believe that remote working will not allow managers to track employees’ tasks efficiently. Also, the communication with employees is understood to be inconsistent, and believed that it cannot contribute towards building a strong team-building.
On the contrary, by just equipping with the right set of tools, such as remote work software and project management software, managers can manage remote work efficiently without any friction.
- Remote work kills productivity: Remote work hampers productivity is one more common remark that top executives and CEOs make about remote work. However, it depends entirely on the company’s remote work policies and its strategy for remote work. It means companies should implement guidelines and protocols that support employees and boost their productivity. They should develop a remote work culture that focuses on human-centric work design embedded with empathy and flexibility to increase productivity. Managers should gauge the remote employees’ performance based on overall work outcomes instead of activity metrics. Companies that practice end-to-end remote work policies such as clarity on work hours, timekeeping, technology and supplies, continuous communication, security protocols, etc., can gain better productivity. Afterall, tracking employees is not to browbeat them. As per one of the surveys, the perception towards remote work has improved overall and there is a rise in remote work productivity.
- Remote work lacks collaboration and communication: The seismic shift to remote work culture has left many organizations puzzled about its full-scale implementation. Some of them have expressed their worries about remote work success due to a lack of collaboration and communication. They feel that remote work cannot deliver the human touch and spontaneity of the office interaction. But in the digital age, considering lack of collaboration and communication as impediments to remote work is pretty impractical.
There are many collaboration and communication tools available in the market that make the remote team efficient in their work. These tools give more options on communication, such as live chat, conference calls, or one-to-one video calls. These tools even give them the liberty to track their previous conversation and even extract any piece of information that they cannot recall. Instead of repeatedly answering emails, these tools can help the remote team to save their time and invest it in more productive work.
Remote employees working at different time-zone cannot sometimes take part in live meetings or webinars. In such cases, they can play or listen to a pre-recorded session of the meeting via these communication tools. Software solutions have definitely increased the spectrum of communication and gave voice to the virtual environment. So it is quite a misconception that lack of communication and collaboration makes remote work suffer.
- Remote work is vulnerable to hackers: Security is a major concern for companies when they decide to manage office work remotely. They believe that a remote network can be hacked easily. However, if employees stick to best cyber security practices; there is no way the network can be hacked. Generally, remote workers use VPNs (Virtual Private Network) to securely access the company’s data and applications. Other methods that could make remote work hack-proof are using high-level data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and avoiding public Wi-Fi networks. Besides these, educating employees on following security best practices can reduce the risks of the security breach to almost zero. Top-rated remote working tools have all the necessary security features which easily takes care of this issue.
- Remote work lacks office culture: It is often envisaged that remote workers are loners, and it reduces their creative output. The social aspects of work are certainly missed in remote work, but it does not mean they are isolated. In fact, the HR team tries to engage remote employees and reduce their stress levels in myriads of ways. They organize various activities such as virtual meetings, casual hangouts, virtual gamification, rewards and appreciations, etc.
- Remote work needs special devices and setup: Another misconception that is prevalent among business enterprises is that remote work needs a special IT setup, and it is an expensive affair. The truth is that remote work does not require any complex setup or any special equipment. All it needs is a high bandwidth internet connection and a computer with all the supportive tools or software. Most of the time, business enterprises provide computer systems pre-installed with software required by employees to resume their work safely.
A resilient workforce and productive work culture is something that every organization aims to boost business growth. But in the modern era, this is not possible unless organizations foster remote work culture in their business structure, especially when businesses are making a radical shift towards building an employee-centric business model. Remote work has reflected its enormous value during the crisis, and it has become part of the work culture of many organizations. However, there are organizations that cannot augment their remote work model because of their poor remote policies and are driven by misconceptions around remote work. Remote work technology is far more developed than what it was a few decades ago. If organizations use remote working technology efficiently, they can overcome their barriers in implementing remote work and achieve optimum results.