Even just a decade or two ago, having a remote workforce was probably seen as the stuff of science fiction. How could a company have employees all over the world that are not only effectively managed but productive in their work?
Well, times have changed. New technology like unified communications that enables seamless connection and collaboration between far-flung individuals has changed the nature of work and human relationships. Despite these innovations, however, old fashioned and outdated views of remote work remain popular.
Let's bust the myths and fact-check some common misconceptions about remote work:
Misconception #1: Remote workers are not productive – they're too distracted by the TV.
Fact-check: Sure, a house has distractions like Netflix, video games and a fridge full of food, but an office has its collection of time-wasters, too, such as the watercooler, social-butterfly co-workers and that universal foe to focus, the internet. The reality is that many remote employees find they're actually more productive doing work at home. This may sound counterintuitive, but it makes sense – telecommuters are able to buckle down and get work done in the comfort and quiet of their own home office. In fact, a survey by employee engagement firm TINYpulse found that 91 percent of respondents say that they're more productive working remotely.
Misconception #2: Remote workers are easily forgotten by corporate.
Fact-check: With tech tools like unified communications, video conferencing and hosted voice, employees in-office can efficiently and productively connect with remote workers, ensuring they are valued members of the team. Remote work arrangements have also been found to reduce employee turnover rates, according to a study published by Stanford University. And when it comes to including remote workers in social office events, companies are getting creative, using video conferences to enable telecommuters to "attend" holiday parties and all-hands meetings.
Misconception #3: Remote workers are unhappy and isolated.
Fact-check: They may be located hundreds of miles from the office building, but home-based employees are pretty happy with their arrangements. The survey by TINYpulse found that remote employees are happier at work than their in-office counterparts. And the top reason that employees choose to work remotely was that they "enjoy having the freedom of choosing when and where to work."
It's time that companies embrace the exciting opportunities that remote work arrangements bring to their organizations' productivity as well as their employees' happiness levels. With this attitude, they can go forth and prosper in the 21st century.