A fully remote company with a virtual office has obvious perks, such as the luxury to work from anywhere, the lack of a typical “9–5” schedule, and the escape from daily rush hour traffic. However, because a remote job skates outside the bounds of the traditional work structure, with all of the perks come many misconceptions. Many argue that at-home work involves no schedule, can’t be productive or isn’t “real” work.
As a successful virtual company ourselves, we would like to help combat some of the misconceptions for those considering switching to virtual, the skeptical naysayers, and those who simply don’t understand how remote positions work.
Misconception #1: “Do you have real jobs yet?”
Remote work is commonly associated with scam jobs, that promise big bucks for working from the comfort of one’s living room. These rackets have given remote work a bad rap, leading many to think that all remote jobs are fake.
Reality check: Legitimate remote jobs are GREAT.
Remote work is a growing trend that has proven very beneficial for both employees and employers. In a survey conducted by Remote.Co, 82% of telecommuters reported lower stress levels and boosted morale. Remote work has also been reported to drive employee productivity and lead to greater employee engagement.
From an employer standpoint, remote work leads to a reduction in overhead costs related to office spaces. In addition, in a Global Workplace Analytics survey, 95% of employers said telecommuting highly impacted on employee retention, reduced turnover saves time, and cuts recruiting costs.
Misconception #2: Unstructured & Unproductive
This is probably the biggest hurdle for companies considering transitioning to telecommuting. They assume that allowing employees to work remotely will lead to a loss in productivity, visibility, communication, and organization. Frankly, employers fear their employees will kick back and watch television rather than work.
Reality check: Remote work can be more structured than an office environment.
It has to be. If a virtual office has no structure and organization, this will immediately affect the success of the business. Because silos can easily develop structure, accountability, and communication must be part of the core company culture and values. Weekly company-wide video calls, regular team meetings, communal chat spaces, like Slack and project management resources like Basecamp are all valuable for adding structure and increasing communication.
Misconception #3: Abundance of Free Time
“Can you take me to the airport?”
“You can easily do all your housework, right?”
“Is it okay if my kid stays at your place for a few hours?”
Employees who work from home are sure to hear questions like these all the time. Many assume that work-from-home employees are always available. This, of course, is far from true.
Reality check: You have to work.
Working from home does offer the benefit of a flexible schedule that eases the handling of appointments, sick kids, school closures and the occasional family emergency. However, work is work, and it has to be done. Remote jobs are just as, if not more, demanding than traditional jobs. Remote employees may need to educate those close to them and create boundaries.
Misconception #4: Incredible Loneliness
It’s easy to think that working from home is solely for introverts. What happens to daily lunches with coworkers and gossiping through cubicle walls?
Reality check: It’s not that bad.
Telecommuting isn’t always lonely. Technology helps co-workers communicate, collaborate as a team and build personal relationships. Tools like Skype, Slack, and Google Hangouts are a virtual team’s best friends. If employees crave even more face-to-face interaction, team members in the same city can arrange regular work sessions at a coffee shop. In addition, the new co-working space trend is a great option. Here at HiringThing, we’ve used all these options as a means to keep our employees connected, team build and foster collaborative work.
We hope you now have a better understanding of remote work and can actually see its benefits. A virtual office can save employers money, increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction, reduce attrition, expand the talent pool, and much more. Now that we’ve debunked the common misconceptions, who’s ready to switch?
Author: Alisiana Peters
Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.