As the world begins to see the light beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, the idea of what the new work environment might look like is starting to take shape. There’s been a powerful shift in some industries, whose jobs are digitally based, to remote work as businesses whole-heartedly embrace the changes the pandemic instigated. While the technology to do so already existed, some businesses deprioritised their transition to digital before the pandemic. Many employers continue to believe in the long-standing myths of remote work, even though millions of employees successfully accomplished their jobs while working remotely. Let’s explore the most common remote work myths and the research that is proving otherwise:
#1: Remote workers work less
This myth is conceptually understandable. It supposes the idea that because workers aren’t among other employees or being supervised by management they simply won’t work as long or as hard as if they were in the office. Employers worry that responsibilities such as childcare and other home-related duties will derail an employee’s attention. A major study by Mercer of 800 employers discovered that 94% reported employee productivity was the same or higher, even with employees working remotely. This may speak to the human psychology of knowing it’s time to work and not needing the pull of the office to do so. Mercer found that productivity remained strong even in those with the worst remote work situations such as multiple kids at home and no dedicated workspace on top of the stresses of a global pandemic
#2: Work cannot be performed as effectively or efficiently remotely
If transactional documents are paper-based, employees may not have access to in-office tools or equipment to complete their duties. Employers may worry that reliance on emails and messaging will bottleneck projects or lead to instances of repeated work and late deliverables. This is why the transition to digital delivery channels is more essential than ever before. The rise of cloud-based technology and automation has created a boon for employees and organisations. Customer communication platforms help ensure products like mailers are out on time and to the correct person while making sure all key stakeholders have visibility into the process. Employees from different departments can collaborate and manage multiple tasks easily without worry of lapsed deadlines and mishandled project details. Automation tools for SMBs are easily accessible and affordable, require minimal set-up, and are intuitive enough that they can be self-taught with very little training.
#3: Remote work impedes company culture
The culture of a business is undoubtedly crucial to its success. Good company culture means more qualified workers stay and grow with the business and less capital invested in new employee training and resources. Only 24% of those surveyed by Gartner believe their company culture worsened with the increase in remote work. In fact, 76% of newly remote employees felt their organisation’s culture improved since they began remote work. Applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams made it easier to interact with fellow. With everyone also sharing the same burdens of lockdown and fears of the pandemic, employees developed a deeper bond with their colleagues. Going forward, managers can maintain a conversational relationship with team members and nurture their own culture with virtual coffee breaks and happy hours, as well as taking advantage of online social game options.
The pandemic will one day be a memory, but remote work is here to stay. On average 3x as many employees will be working at least primarily remotely by 2025. Many organisations are already shifting their internal strategic objectives to adopt hybrid workforce policies and practices. Those companies who were willing to push past the myths and begin adapting and transforming their processes are already several steps ahead of those in their marketplace who did not. Is your business ready to reap the benefits of remote work? Read our eBook to find out how.