Remote and flexible work is on the rise, with 40 percent more U.S. employers reportedly offering flexible workplace options than five years ago, according to Global Workplace Analytics. On top of this organic growth, the Coronavirus pandemic skyrocketed these stats in the second quarter of 2020.
Beyond the social distancing requirements, there are also other (good) reasons to work from home at least some of the time, according to Flexjobs:
- Employers can save $11,000 per employee if these commute just half of the time.
- Workers can save anywhere between $2,000-$7,000 annually by working from home.
- 80 percent of remote workers are less stressed, and 90 percent experienced higher morale.
Despite the benefits, you may wonder about the effect it can have on the workplace as well as with client relations. With the right knowledge, tools, and processes in place, however, remote-suitable positions and departments can be just as successful as in-office.
While there are many remote work myths still floating around, we’re debunking three of the most popular ones. And we’ll be also sharing tips on how to overcome similar roadblocks.
Myth 1: It’s harder to coordinate with remote teams
One common worry from both management and customer perspective is that you won’t be able to get a hold of remote workers or that employees will be off, when you need them on. However, there’s a significant difference between a remote contractor or a self-employed individual (someone who can make their own schedule) and a full-time remote employee.
Many companies offer remote work for the various benefits previously mentioned, but still ask their team to be available during specific working hours. Your customers, clients, or coworkers might worry about not getting a hold of some as they would in a traditional office. However, you can and should set expectations for your employees to maintain availability during certain times or shifts.
What’s more, you should also encourage work-life separation for better balance. Just because a worker can email you late at night doesn’t mean they should. By setting core working hours, you can ensure smooth, on-demand communication with all necessary stakeholders.
Myth 2: You lose the personal touch
Over one-third of managers (43 percent) feel the impact on overall company culture is one of their biggest fears when offering flexible working options according to recent research. The good news is, remote work doesn’t mean you’ll lose essential human contact or workplace culture.
The best remote workplaces use cloud-based technology and implement procedures so that they can have meaningful interactions with coworkers, customers, or clients. Unified Communications platforms allow for consistent intra-office communications and enable teams to have virtual meetings that are just as effective as their in-person counterpart. You can even use technology that allows customers to automatically book virtual meetings with your staff.
Remember, when it comes to contacting customers or providers, virtual meetings and phone calls do not limit your communication. Quite the contrary, you can reach a wider audience because you aren’t restricted by location, physical meeting spaces, or travel.
Myth 3: Remote workers are unproductive or easily distracted
A common misconception is that workers do their remote work from their couch, in sweatpants, with the TV in the background. However, this is an out-of-date notion for those who don’t understand the remote working revolution. In fact, a recent OWL Labs survey confirmed this by asking remote and in-office workers about their morning routines and found no difference between the two, invalidating the pajama-clad stereotype.
It is important to note that it does take a certain level of discipline, autonomy, and focus to perform remote work. And management can ensure success by hiring the right people, positions, and processes to make remote work a success. For example, recruit employees with telecommuting experience, or those that are expert communicators.
Additionally, don’t assume a home office is more distracting than an office. According to recent research by Atlassian, the average employee deals with 56 daily interruptions in the office, and 80 percent of those interruptions are trivial. Another survey by FlexJobs found that 65 percent of employees believe they are more productive at home than working in a traditional office environment.
Enable your customers to go distributed
Approximately half of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework, based on the same Global Workplace Analytics data. While it can be a challenge to make the transition, remote work is the way of the future. When developed and managed strategically, remote workers can be just as successful and effective working from home.
As their service provider, it is your job to put your customer’s mind at ease and enable their remote work. And you can do all this by providing flawless communication and collaboration services.
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