We have heard all the cons of remote work—employees don’t get any work done from home, meetings are ineffective and unproductive, it kills your work culture, and so on—it’s difficult to distinguish actual fact from fiction. Companies, globally and in India, are encouraging employees to work from home and reduce face to face interaction till the Covid-19 pandemic is controlled and normal life is restored.
In such a scenario, Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Flock talks about the common misconceptions about remote working and debunks each one of them with facts.
As most businesses go remote to help fight the spread of COVID-19, there are still some who are worried about jumping onto the ‘work from home’ bandwagon. We have heard all the cons of remote work—employees don’t get any work done from home, meetings are ineffective and unproductive, it kills your work culture, and so on—it’s difficult to distinguish actual fact from fiction.
Many organisations made the remote work switch early. While remote work has its challenges, most of them solve themselves when you focus on keeping your employees engaged.
Here are 5 misconceptions about remote working that have been laid to rest –
#1: Turns your employees lazy
It’s easy to think of remote workers spending most of their day on OTT platforms or lazing around at home, but it’s simply not the truth. Focus on keeping employees engaged and work proactively to adopt remote work tools and best practices. As folks become comfortable with working from home and get a handle on managing a new world of distractions, productivity levels will rise back up in no time.
Fact: The flexibility of remote work is a catalyst for employee happiness and creativity levels. Happier employees are often more engaged and productive.
#2 Causes communication breakdowns
Communication breakdowns happen in remote teams mostly for the same reason as they do in offices—employees aren’t engaged. As per Gallup’s report, only a third of workers are engaged at work, remote or not. Plus, miscommunication occurs more often in newly remote teams because folks aren’t sure of what exactly is expected of them. That’s why applying a remote work policy is vital—it outlines clear expectations and tools/channels for communication.
A detailed remote work policy is just the start, leaders also need to build a culture of open communication to help employees stay engaged. Successful remote companies go to great lengths to help employees socialize—from setting aside blocks of time for informal video calls to creating spaces for shared interests and even organizing fun HR activities over video calls.
Fact: Implementing a remote work policy helps employees understand business expectations. It enhances transparency and accountability within the business, so communication breakdowns can be resolved much faster.
#3 Your company data is unsafe
Many businesses worry about confidential information being accessed by remote employees on unsecured public internet platforms. And it’s a genuine concern if your IT team doesn’t invest in commonplace technologies such as a virtual private network (VPN) or two-factor authentication.
The first and one of the most important step is to educate your team as you implement security best practices like connecting over a secured network—VPNs might be a little trouble initially, but they’re worth it—or setting stronger passwords and enabling two-step verification (often using their smartphones). Also, investing in high-end cloud-based collaboration tools that take data security seriously pays off.
Awareness and practice – best way to keep company data safe, remote or not. When employees know how to safeguard their systems from cyber-attacks and are encouraged to practice them every day, it reduces the chances of a data breach exponentially.
Fact: Data security is more of a people problem than a location one. Educating employees, giving them the right tools and platforms to keep company data secure, and following best practices is key to keeping lips sealed—remote or not.
#4 Remote work kills your company culture
Building a positive company culture is harder when all your employees aren’t in the same place, but physical proximity or lunch gossip is not as much of a factor. What makes your company culture great is how employees are treated and how engaged they are at work.
It involves enabling open and effective communication, promoting transparency, engaging employees, as well as team-building—all things you’d have to do in any business either ways.
How do we do it? Use OKRs and weekly check-ins to help each other stay focused, connected and engaged. As for office chatter, multiple platforms offer the feature of channels for shared interests which are great for your gossip.
Fact: Creating and building a strong culture involves enabling open and effective communication, fostering transparency, engaging employees, as well as team-building—all things you can and should do in any business, remote or not.
#5 Remote work is more expensive
Remote work saves businesses money. A company can save majorly on office rent alone – thanks to remote work programs. Just think of all the infrastructure costs of an office or a dozen—money that’s better spent on training employees and investing in secure collaboration tech. For example, You save money from rent to coffee machines, electricity bills, desks for each employee and so on. Part of the money saved can be spent on getting a good collaborative platform for the workforce or investing on a digital marketing course for employees.
Fact: Remote work removes office expenses from your budget. Your admin fee, electricity bills etc. That’s a big chunk, isn’t it? That’s why many start-ups work remotely to begin with.
If you’re still unsure whether remote work can work for your business, here’s another perspective:
You may not have a choice, especially if you want to keep your employees safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time to assure employees that you not only care about but also trust them—that you have their best interests at heart.
Necessity is the mother of invention—when your employees are safe and happy, they are more engaged and that can be all you need to overcome any challenges of remote work.