Working from home, telecommuting, remote work—whatever you call it, the work at home trend shows no sign of slowing down. In 2019, the Global State of Remote Work report has already shown that 68% of workers around the world have worked remotely, and this number is only rising. The COVID-19 crisis forced many offices to start working from home for the first time in 2020.
Both employers and employees saw many benefits of working from home, yet there are also many misconceptions to tackle. Employees might love having 30 minutes of extra shut-eye instead of their old 30 minute commute. However, companies need to untangle common work from home (WFH) myths before adopting this system permanently. In this article, let’s explore ten common misconceptions about working from home.
Working in your pajamas certainly sounds easier than going into the office, but the reality of working from home is more nuanced. Remote workers can indeed take a break when they start to feel drained without worrying about getting in trouble. Your employees might even be able to recharge in more effective ways at home than they could at the office, such as choosing ten minutes of exercise over ten minutes of gossiping around the water cooler.
However, being productive at home does require staff accountability. Employees need the self-discipline and determination to stick to their projects, even when no one else is there to enforce it. Successful WFH employees are good at resisting temptation and can adhere to a routine.
Just like employees might initially love the idea of working in their pajamas, managers might be suspicious of the arrangement. How can team leaders know their staff is getting anything done? Remember that the same question holds true in an office environment. Plenty of employees can fake looking productive at their office desks while wasting time online.
Some employees may find they’re more efficient at home. When they have more control over their hours, why would they waste their own time? These employees find themselves working a lot harder to meet their internal accountability measures.
Night owls and early birds around the world may have celebrated the move to working from home, looking forward to finally breaking out of the 9 to 5 grind and working on their preferred schedule.
However, such flexibility isn’t always realistic. Many companies kept their standard business hours even after moving to remote work, simply because it’s easier to get work done when the entire team is available at the same time.
Working from home provides a better work-life balance for some people, but this situation isn’t universal. The lines between work life and home life become blurred when we lose fixed office hours at a different working location.
Some people shuffle endlessly between house chores, family responsibilities, and their paid work, actually resulting in longer days than they had before WFH. Without a clear division between work and home, overly productive staff may even feel like every hour is a work hour.
While we may feel that productivity takes a nose-dive on work from home days, the Harvard Business Review found the opposite is true. They published a study showing that companies have seen up to 13.5% increase in productivity after allowing remote work.
At home, employees are removed from common workplace distractions like the “breakroom effect” and can simply accomplish more.
Many people have worried that using company devices, information, and data on home Internet networks will lead to major security breaches. Luckily, this has not shown to be true. IT teams everywhere have leveraged a variety of safe, effective solutions to keep data safe.
Today’s cybercrime tactics don’t focus on location, but rather on social engineering methods. Staff are at risk for phishing, spoofing, and other hacking scams whether they work at the office or at home. This problem must be tackled regardless of location.
Modern communication tools give remote workers many options to stay in contact with their team. Telecommunication removes in-person nuances, which can help employees jump right into meaningful, productive work. However, distributed teams can struggle unless managers outline clear norms, expectations, and tools for communication.
Some remote workers have always preferred to work alone in their homes, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are working alone whether they like it or not.
However, there are ways to maintain the social aspects of work. Coffee shops, co-working spaces, and other communal areas offer socialization when it’s safe. Digital networking, scheduled video chats, and other online tools can help remote workers feel connected even from home.
From technology needs to providing workplace tools, it may seem like a WFH setup for employees can cost more for an organisation. However, this isn’t true. Any initial costs of providing desks or equipment to remote workers are canceled out by decreased overhead costs.
Companies can reduce their office spaces and their costs when employees are allowed to work from home.
Remote workers may always be near their desk, but they’re not on the clock at all times. Employees who work from home keep similar schedules to people working in the office, so they should enjoy similar work-life expectations.
Remote employees may not physically leave the office every day, but they do wrap up their work and log out. These workers also deserve to enjoy their time off.
Working from home has suffered from many misconceptions in the past, but these myths are fading as business needs evolve. Now that more people at all levels have tried the WFH lifestyle, managers and leaders have a different perspective of the model.
Allowing staff to work from home can reduce costs, increase productivity, and protect public health. Be open to this change to explore its many benefits.
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