The 10 Biggest Misconceptions About Remote Work,

Jan 31, 2017, 07:09 PM

Career Corner is a program produced by the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network, part of State Services for the Blind, and it is recorded for people are blind or have reading disabilities. You can listen to the stream of the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network at, and the password is RTB. Your host, for Career Corner is Anne Obst.

(music) The 10 Biggest Misconceptions About Remote Work, Remote work is on the rise. Believe it or not, employees are opting for 30 more minutes of shut eye over 30 minutes in traffic. Turns out they prefer home cooked meals at a kitchen table over microwaved frozen meals in the breakroom. They’re also choosing impactful co-worker collaboration over water cooler gossip. In short, remote work is working. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 37% of the US labor force works remotely, and that number is only rising. Yet, misconceptions and stigmas persist about remote work—things like work attire (Do remote workers even get dressed?) and level of commitment (If they can’t be bothered to get to an office, they can’t possibly care that much). It’s time to put stereotypes to rest. For the naysayers of remote work, here are 10 debunked myths about this growing sector. Myth 1: Remote Work Means Productivity Decreases It’s easy to assume that someone who works remotely is more distracted because they don’t have a boss within earshot to keep tabs on them. But, a study by the Harvard Business Review proves the contrary, noting some companies saw worker productivity increase by 13.5% after permitting remote work. Someone working outside of the office has fewer distractions to contend with, like the common breakroom effect—the idea that workers are being pulled away from their desks to chat over coffee or share a piece of cake for a colleague’s birthday. Remote workers avoid these interruptions and the time needed to refocus after the interruption. Myth 2: Remote Workers Are Out Of Contact Just because remote workers are not in an office doesn’t mean they’re off having a picnic somewhere. Their work is likely tied to a business that operates during regular business hours with a team clocking in a fairly standard eight hour work day. According to Maren Donovan, CEO of Zirtual, “Business thrives upon other people's deadlines and needs.” In a survey conducted by TINYpulse on the satisfaction and productivity of remote workers, a whopping 52% reported having contact with their manager at least once daily, with an additional 34% reporting once a week interactions with managers. So, it’s unlikely that a remote worker can take three hours in the middle of the day for a spa appointment without repercussion. Myth 3: Remote Work Means Your Data Is Unsafe Many worry that transferring company information and data to computers on unsecured servers will lead to breaches in confidentiality. This is simply not true. Technology has advanced as such that a qualified IT team can keep these types of issues to a minimum. There are a wealth of safe solutions being leveraged by IT teams everywhere. Setting employees up with cloud-based applications means the security is outsourced to vetted software programs, and IT teams can monitor version control without needing access to an employee’s physical machine. In addition, good security practices like setting up two factor authentication and virtual private networks (VPN) ensures that information is locked down and unable to be breached by unauthorized people. As many would argue, someone who intends to steal information will do so regardless of their work location. This, like many issues with remote work, are people problems, not location problems. Myth 4: Communication Suffers When someone works remotely it does not mean the quality of communication goes down. Telecommunication removes in-person nuances and helps employees to dive right into the meaningful work. Yet, for this to work, managers need to outline clear expectations and tools for communic...