Even though we have been in the throes of remote and hybrid work settings for years at this point, the effectiveness of these working environments when compared to office settings is still highly debated. Still, 85% of management around the world believe that teams who work from home will become the new norm soon. So, what are some key issues the remote work renaissance is facing? What misconceptions are keeping us from thriving and innovating in a different way?
1. Remote workers are not productive
Many companies still stand by this incredibly inaccurate perception that remote workers could not possibly be productive. Because management can’t see you and witness you typing on a computer all day, every day, there is this fear that they are paying remote workers to do nothing.
However, a report by Owl Labs states: “Several studies over the past few months show productivity while working remotely from home is better than working in an office setting. On average, those who work from home spend 10 minutes less a day being unproductive, work one more day a week, and are 47% more productive.”
Stanford recently published research that supported the sentiment. In their study of over 16,000 remote workers, productivity increased by an average of 13%. Yet another study claimed that 77% of people who worked remotely or had a hybrid work setup displayed an increase in productivity. That same study claimed that 30% of workers were doing more work in less time, which isn’t difficult to believe since coworkers and a vibrant working environment can cause distractions.
Some reasoning for this may be because working in the same space can often force you to work at specific times of day, perhaps when you aren’t in peak performance mode. Maybe you are more inspired to work in the afternoon or evening. Maybe you are productive in spurts throughout the day, or for two hours at a time. Not everyone is on the same productivity schedule, and almost no one operates with the exact same circadian rhythm. Working from home allows you to work when you feel good about it, and to rest in the in-between. (Rest that will better prepare your brain to be productive.)
2. Networking is impossible in a remote work setting
If COVID has taught us nothing else, we at least now know that networking can, truly, happen anywhere. If someone is trying to tell you that you cannot make meaningful connections from home or anywhere else you may choose to work, they may not know what the internet is. Advancements in technology have made it probably too easy to hop on a video or voice call with almost anyone around the world.
In fact, people are often more willing to schedule video call chats with acquaintances than to take an hour or more of their time to meet in person. This makes networking calls and approaching people for mentorship in your career far easier than it once was. Being able to conduct meetings in an environment you feel comfortable in can both reflect in your work and in your demeanor. When you aren’t being forced into an uncomfortable situation or unknown environment, your stress levels may be lower than they would otherwise. This often allows for deeper connections and true bonds with your contacts, acquaintances or otherwise.
3. Collaboration cannot happen remotely
Collaboration is a wonderful aspect of working with a team. Brainstorming sessions, chatting about new ideas during downtime, and being inspired directly by the actions of coworkers in a work setting can really help usher in new collaborative experiences. But sometimes, you don’t need someone else’s validation or ideas to make yours better. And if you do, there are countless CRM systems, video call channels and social media platforms to help you achieve a more collaborative mindset.
People who work from home or work on their own in any remote setting are often much more mindful of the way they connect with others and the boundaries people may have regarding their work and thought process. If nothing else, working remotely challenges you to get to know your coworkers and collaborators on a different level. More empathy can be exercised when you are aware that your surroundings and creative flow are not the same.
4. Remote work blocks creativity
While people like WeWork’s former CEO Adam Neumann may want you to believe that remote work causes blocks in creativity, that isn’t necessarily the case. Yes, open and collaborative spaces can lead to more discussion and bouncing ideas off of one another. However, it can also cause unnecessary distractions and remedial ideas to be repeated in an almost echo-chamber type way.
Being able to work remotely also challenges you to get out of the house or change your settings on your own terms. Feeling uninspired? Try working from that cute coffee shop down the street you’ve been meaning to try! Bring your laptop to that park bench and observe the world around you. It’s crazy how simple creativity can come to you.
The Hive platform itself is a great way to conduct remote work and stay on task. Here are some other useful tools to help you maximize your efforts while working from home.
Walmart CTO Suresh Kumar said it best: “As we’ve moved to virtual work, we haven’t just coped, we’ve actually thrived. We are more focused on the things that have the greatest impact on our customers, associates and the business. We are making quicker decisions and acting. Meetings are now more inclusive of people regardless of location, level or other differences. We have great momentum and need to figure out how to carry it forward.” These points, coupled with spending less time and money on commutes and allowing yourself more facetime with your family, pets, and plants, continue to support claims of work from home benefits. And we are all in.