Common Misconceptions About Remote Teams
Many people think that being a remote worker means that you wake up at noon, sit down at your computer, without even bothering to get dressed, and don’t really get anything done. They think that you cannot really be focused on your tasks, since there is no one to monitor your work, not to mention the fact that you are surrounded by various distractions, such as Netflix, your kids perhaps, and a phone that doesn’t stop ringing.
However, these myths are really very far from the truth. Remote workers can actually contribute quite a lot to the success of your organization. Therefore, not only do they experience the amazing convenience of remote work, but your company can also benefit a lot from it, and you are about to learn exactly how once you see all of the myths of remote work debunked.
If you are hesitant about hiring a remote team, don’t let numerous remote work myths cloud your judgement and limit your perception. Don’t be one of those bosses who blindly believe in the proverb “Out of sight, out of mind”. What if a particular remote worker that you hire turns out to be one of your best employees who effectively helps your business thrive? You never know, right? That is why you should definitely jump on the bandwagon and join the ride.
According to the 2015 Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll, 37% of American workers said that they have spent some time working remotely, while that number has kept rising and it is only going to continue to do so. Remote work is definitely on the rise, and millions of people who are embracing it cannot seriously be wrong, can they? Therefore, take a look at the most common misconceptions about remote teams that are certain to clear the air and help you see all the amazing benefits of this growing trend in the business world.
Remote Works Means Less Productivity
One of the primary concerns of employers who are thinking about hiring a remote team is the idea that their remote workers will not be as productive as they would be in a traditional office-based environment. The main misconception is that they would be distracted from their work, mainly because they will not have anyone to supervise them and manage their activities.
However, the truth of the matter is that remote workers have fewer distractions when they are not in the office. Just think about the breakroom effect for a moment. When an employee sees their colleagues going for a break and chatting over coffee, they feel compelled to do the same. The result – their productivity takes the hit.
When they work remotely, they are not exposed to such interruptions. They can easily focus on the task at hand and complete everything with flying colors. Therefore, their productivity is not decreased – they are actually becoming more efficient and productive.
The Harvard Business Review’s study actually proves this, showing that some companies increased their productivity by 13.5% after allowing remote work. In fact, your remote team may even turn out to be more productive than your in-house staff, because you have the opportunity to hire the best people, which can only increase the productivity within your company even more.
If you are worried about monitoring your employees and tracking their productivity, you can start using various types of employee monitoring software, as those can provide you with a clear insight into all of their activities.
It Is Difficult to Communicate with a Remote Team
This is yet another very common misconception about remote teams that makes a number of employers think twice about hiring remote workers in the first place. They think that communication will suffer immensely if their employees are spread across the world in different geographical locations, not to mention different time zones.
However, the quality of communication does not have to go down at all. There are so many great communication tools available that getting in touch with your remote workers can really be a piece of cake. You can use Trello, Basecamp or Slack, to name just a few of the many very effective tools for communicating with your team members in real-time, and let’s not forget about Skype and many other messaging apps that you can use.
Utilizing those various tools and messaging apps will not only make communication with your remote team much easier and more effective, helping you create a great virtual workplace, but it can also help your employees feel connected. As a result, their team spirit will be significantly improved and they will collaborate on different projects more effectively.
Effectively Managing Remote Workers Is Impossible
Managing your remote workers effectively is definitely not an impossible mission, as a number of business owners tend to think. The common misconception is that you cannot really monitor employees and make sure that they are delivering the needed results if they are not physically with you. However, as you already know, there are many types of software to monitor employees and make sure that they complete their tasks within the established deadlines.
Therefore, managing your remote team effectively is more than possible. In fact, it is even much easier, precisely because of the many tools and apps available that can help you successfully overcome any potential problem that may occur.
If you can communicate with your remote workers in real-time, why do you think that you cannot manage them and make sure that they contribute real value to your company? All you need to do is take a slightly different approach, which is why all those apps and tools we discussed are there in the first place. They will enable you to set milestones and task deadlines, as well as add any important updates that will help your remote team stay on track and understand exactly what they need to do in order to deliver the end results.
Having a Remote Team Increases Costs
This is yet another very common myth about having a remote team. The primary concern is the assumption that IT costs will hit the roof and cost the company quite a lot of money that could otherwise be invested in actually improving and growing the company.
However, this assumption really could not be further from the truth. Admittedly, there would be some initial costs of hiring a remote team, such as purchasing staff tracking software, for instance, along with putting new training programs in place, but such investments will actually save your company quite a lot of money in the long run.
If you hire remote workers, you will not need as much office space as you would if they actually worked in-house. Therefore, with fewer employees in the workplace, you will save a lot of money on rent, not to mention on equipment, office supplies and maintenance. What’s more, you will save money on numerous office amenities, such as coffee and food.
Furthermore, if your company happens to cover commute expenses for all of your employees, just imagine how much money you would save if a number of your workers does not need to actually come to the office. Now that this myth is debunked, you certainly understand that hiring a remote team never means increasing your company’s costs, since telecommuting actually saves money.
Virtual Meetings Are Not Really Effective
If you cannot meet with all of your employees face-to-face, it does not necessarily mean that virtual meetings will not be effective. Quite the contrary, actually. If you let every single one of your remote employees know that meetings held over Skype or any other communication platform are very essential and, more importantly, obligatory, you can be sure that they will understand their significance and, thus, always be available when a meeting is scheduled.
If you have remote workers in several different time zones, you need to set a specific time when everyone will be available to attend the virtual meeting. That way, not only will you be able to get your entire team together for important announcements and any collaborations regarding your projects, but your employees will also be more focused on the meeting topics, since they will respect everyone’s schedules.
This is exactly why virtual meetings can be even more effective and productive than traditional ones. Just think about wasting precious time on waiting for employees who are always late, or spending time on small talk before you actually get to the point. Therefore, not meeting face-to-face with all of your employees can turn out to be a huge plus, if you take the right approach of managing and organizing them, of course.
Company Culture Takes a Hit
Your company culture does not have to suffer if many, or even all of your employees work remotely. If you cultivate open communication and always work on building trust with your remote employees, you can effectively create a positive culture that will really contribute to the success of your company.
Your company culture is not built with the help of water cooler gossip and your employees establishing more personal connections with one another. Of course, team-building and employees forming strong relationships is what helps a company become better and stronger, since their team spirit is heightened and, thus, they are motivated to work harder.
However, what builds the strongest company culture is the way you treat your employees, no matter where they are. If you consistently show them that you recognize their hard work and that you value every single effort they are making to help you achieve your objectives and goals, you can be sure that they will work even harder on improving their skills and providing real value to your company.
This is exactly what will create a positive company culture, so the fact that some, or all of your employees are dispersed around the world definitely doesn’t mean that your company culture will suffer. Show each and every one of them that they are important links in your company’s chain and you will create an atmosphere where everyone will be inspired, motivated and feel genuinely proud to be working for you.
Remote Workers Can Work Anytime
I meet a lot of people who seem to think that working remotely means that you can choose any time during the day that you find convenient and simply do your job then. When you tell them that you can work from home, they think that you can do so night or day.
This is absolutely not true, because there are still deadlines that must be met in order for every business operation to run smoothly. Therefore, you should not be afraid that your remote team will procrastinate and not be able to set up a work routine only because they work from home. They will actually be more organized in order to show you that they are right for the job.
On the other hand, many people think that working remotely means that you are tied to your computer 24/7, which is something some business owners actually expect you do to. If you are considering hiring a remote team, you should certainly not expect them to be available for work at all times.
You need to treat them exactly like you treat the employees who come to the office every day, and that means respecting their personal time. Of course, you need to make sure that they respect the deadlines and complete their tasks on time, but you should never make them throw off their work-life balance.
Although remote work means working in a relaxed environment and not having a supervisor looking over your shoulder, every remote worker knows that there is still work to be done. Therefore, don’t let these common misconceptions about remote teams make you not want to hire one in the first place, but rather really think about all the benefits that having a remote team can provide you and your company with. Smart organizations understand that it doesn’t matter where you do your job, as long as you actually do it, and do it right, so follow in their footsteps and enter the outstanding world of remote work.