There’s no two ways about it: remote work is the new reality for many companies today. Due to the current global pandemic, office-based teams suddenly found themselves working straight from their homes with different resources. It’s been a few long months and by now, many have been able to find their new routines and approaches to working from home. After all, the scenery may have changed, but work is work wherever you do it from.
It certainly has not been without its challenges. The biggest hurdle is its acceptance as the current standard for what traditional office work once was. To that end, several questions have arisen over what working from home really means. Yes, change can be risky, especially with uncertain times ahead, but it’s also best to understand what remote work really means and how it affects the people doing it.
Not Just About Casual Wear and Pillows
On the surface, the idea of working from home sounds too good to be true. Doing your daily tasks but in casual clothes, on your sofa and your pet nearby is the dream. However, it’s impressions like these that overlook some of the real challenges that remote work brings. Despite some immediate benefits, working from home is just as challenging as being in the office. This may also stem some other erroneous impressions on what working from home is about. Here are some of the most common misconceptions and what they truly mean.
“Working from home has more distractions, leading to less productivity.”
When people think “working from home,” most will think about working on your bed or browsing somewhere else. The notion being that traditional work policies will be difficult to implement, making teams more distracted and less productive. The transition from office to remote work can be taxing, and distractions will happen. But once teams find their groove and adapt to this new normal, they will end up becoming as productive as they were in the office. Organized team members can keep themselves on task, know when to take breaks and compound their dedication to their tasks.
It is also likely that teams will still be as busy as you were, with no time for distractions. This is especially true with customer service roles, where teams will need to interact with others. As noted earlier, the location may be different, but the work is still the same.
“There will be no meaningful working relationships and can be lonely.”
Companies take great pride in cultivating and nurturing their office culture. For some, it is even part of their core values. Often, this culture means fostering strong professional relationships with others that help boost productivity. With more people needing to work from home, making the effort to develop these relationships just isn’t there anymore. Some will say they prefer working alone, but that does not mean needing to be lonely as well.
While those daily water cooler chats and cubicle conversations are currently difficult to do, there are ways around it. With consistent communication and check-ins, those relationships can still continue to develop even amidst a pandemic. Using readily available tools like email, voice and video chat should be encouraged so that these uncertain times do not have to be lonely.
“Working from home upends what work-life balance means.”
Transitioning a team from office to remote work is more than just taking your work home. It means revamping your entire schedule and usual routines to fit this new normal. We’ve seen stories of people struggling to maintain their previous schedules, due to easily maintaining their work–life balance before. Indeed, for people who are used to working at a set schedule, being able to go home at a certain time meant not needing to think about work and to keep focus on yourself. The thought of taking work “home” upends a balance that they are often comfortable with.
This is why good management is important. Many today are struggling to see even a physical difference between “work” and “life” hours. Those who are accustomed to remote work know what it means to find a new balance. This can certainly be achieved with a supportive management staff that can help them ease into this transition.
A Helping Hand
We hope that by better understanding these work from home myths lets you see why it will need to thrive in today’s global situation. Even before the pandemic, many already saw the benefits of remote work without needing to deal with stressful, uncertain circumstances. As seen in these instances, working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds. It still requires the same amount of commitment, focus and effort from teams as if they were still in an office. With a new yet familiar setting, it remains a challenge for some to regain their previous level of productivity. However, with enough support and communication, teams will no doubt thrive efficiently. Flexibility has always been what made today’s business environment unique, and we are certainly seeing why.