Remote work is definitely one of the fastest rising trends in the area of employment. It is preferred by some workers because it gives them more time to focus on their work, rather than on getting dressed and commuting. In fact, a 2015 Gallup poll revealed that 37% of the labor force in the US works remotely and that number is steadily rising. People who work remotely adopt a working style that doesn’t confine them within the walls of a traditional office. This means that they perform their jobs anywhere and it doesn’t even have to be specific.
The remote work scale
In order to understand how remote work works, it is important to get to know the remote work scale which ranges from ‘not remote’ to ‘fully distributed’.
- In-office (not remote)
At this end of the scale is the most common work set-up which is in-office where an entire team of workers is situated in one office. It doesn’t offer flexibility in the hours that workers spend in the office. People working this kind of employment cannot choose their environment but are assigned to a specific cubicle where they are expected to be productive. On the positive side, it opens opportunities for meeting people and fostering strong relationships with co-workers. Moreover, mentoring is effective because they can do it in a face-to-face manner.
- In-office with a remote work option
Coming in second from this side is in-office with a remote work option. This set-up requires its workers to work in the office but allows them the option to work from home for a day or two each week. During the times that workers stay at home, the communication modes change from using the intranet to corresponding through emails and chat software.
- A remote team in one time zone
This set-up features an entire team of workers who work from home and all live in one time zone. This is the part where teams already make use of communication and collaboration tools, as well as project management software. The advantage of having the members come from the same time zone is that they can communicate instantaneously and don’t have to worry about other members not being online.
- The remote team spread across the world
The team with this set-up has members from around the world, even those that live in a different time zone. Companies who adopt this type of arrangement assign certain roles in the same time zone.
- Fully distributed team with nomadic team members
This is the far end of the scale where the members of the team are traveling and nomadic. It believes that productivity can still be achieved even when workers don’t always stay in one place.
Biggest misconceptions about remote work
There are so many benefits of remote work. Unfortunately, a lot of people still don’t agree with it because of notions that are not even true. Below is a list of the biggest misconceptions about remote work that should be debunked.
- Remote work results in decreased productivity
This thought stems from the idea that people who work without direct physical supervision are more distracted and don’t work honestly. Fortunately, the contrary is true as proven by a study by the Harvard Business Review where companies have seen a 13.5% productivity increase through remote work. This shows that distractions are not an issue, especially because remote workers don’t have officemates to share a piece of cake with or gossip for a few minutes.
- Remote workers cannot be easily reached
This is definitely untrue. Even if remote workers are far away from their employers, they can still keep in contact with them by using various communication and collaboration tools. Even if they work from home, they usually have the same 8-hour work that needs to be completed every day. TINYpulse conducted a survey on the productivity and satisfaction of remote workers and found that 52% of workers have contact with their supervisors at least once each day. Additionally, 34% interact with their managers once a week.
- Meetings are not effective
With today’s technological advancement, meetings that are held among people from all corners of the world have become more effective. So many tools for communication via the internet are sprouting like Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Slack, and a lot more. These tools make remote meetings feel like the participants are within the same room, eliminating interference and distractions.
- Remote work is more costly
One of the major concerns about allowing remote work is the cost of the IT set-up, especially in shipping the equipment to the location of the worker. Companies may spend on this at the beginning but they end up saving more money throughout the course of the remote work. For one, they don’t have to maintain a physical office anymore if everyone works from home. They won’t have to buy equipment like computers, desks, tables, water dispensers, refrigerators, and other materials for the office.
- Remote workers work 24/7
Remote workers are not robots. They may not have to leave their home to go to work but they definitely follow the usual 8-hour schedule. They are also expected to adopt the same work-life balance as their counterparts who work in offices. They clock in to start their shift and clock out after completing the required number of hours.
- Remote workers erode company cultures
This is definitely untrue. Engaging in company culture and with officemates does not always have to be physical. Even when workers are not able to mingle physically, they can most definitely chat and exchange ideas through various tools. A lot of companies that allow remote work have a get-together once a year to bring everyone to one place for a meet-up.
- Remote workers are lonely
Loneliness is subjective. Even a person who is surrounded by so many people like his officemates may be lonely when he gets home. Consequently, a remote worker may be alone at home during the day but may be out with friends after work. Although some people prefer to be alone, that doesn’t mean they are lonely. Remote workers save time from not having to commute to work and get to spend more time with their family.
- Remote workers don’t do anything so they have all the time in the world
This is true in a perfect world. In reality, remote workers have deadlines to meet, projects to complete, and reports to finish. Whatever their counterparts in the office need to do, they need to do too. Remote workers do not watch Netflix all day long because they need to report their progress to their supervisors.
Remote work is definitely a great type of employment set-up which greatly benefits both the employer and the employee. It is cheaper and more productive on the employer’s side. Meanwhile, it offers career growth and more time for leisure to the employee. What better set-up can there be? And with today’s software technology, remote work has never been so popular.