Do I really need my office?: Debunking the myths of remote working 

One third of employees said their primary workplace was away from the corporate office last year.

Do I really need my office?: Debunking the myths of remote working 

One third of employees said their primary workplace was away from the corporate office last year. But now, recent headlines have seen high profile return-to-work mandates across a range of sectors from eCommerce giants to big banks. 

However, over a third of UK workers saying they would quit their jobs if their employer demanded that they return to full-time office working.

The choice to work remotely has provided workers with benefits that many are just not willing to give up. So, why then has the choice for companies to continue to offer remote working become such a controversial one? 

Here are three myths about remote working, and why leaders should stop believing them.  

Myth one: Remote workers are less efficient 

Some leaders, accustomed to the physical monitoring of their teams in the office, have remained sceptical about whether at-home-working is truly as beneficial. However, surveys of information workers show that more than half of them recorded increased productivity compared to the office.

When surveying our own employees, we also found that 93% of employees said that they work effectively at home. On top of that, 46% prefer in-person meetings once every quarter to collaborate with their team, and 74% said they wanted to work remotely on at least a regular or partial basis. 

Business leaders should focus on outcomes achieved rather than hours logged. With the ability to work from anywhere, leaders can hire the best talent, no matter their location. With this flexibility, workers will in turn deliver greater efficiency for your business.

This method makes some leaders uncomfortable simply due to traditional mindsets that favour a culture of presenteeism – the same that taught us “no pain, no gain,” and “no excuses”. These ideas have prioritised long hours, and ‘doing work’ at the expense of personal wellbeing. But this culture needs to change. 

“Doing work” is not just about sitting at a desk for a long time, it is about maximising your productivity and delivery. This is something that can be achieved with the right approach to remote working. 

Myth two: The office is the only place to foster connection

But “what about the social aspect of work?” many often say. Well, recently this has been a primary myth that has led to the resurrection of in-office practices for some businesses. However, physical offices are not the way to foster culture, connection and creativity.

With the right digital touch points, leaders can create virtual places that encourage collaboration, celebrate success, and foster a positive culture. These might come from approaches like consolidating – and centralising – your tech stack or changing how you facilitate virtual meetings. 

Whatever the selected solution, we need to start looking at remote work as an enduring option in order to make commitments to finding the technology that effectively prioritises community, connection and creativity. After all, with more efficient processes, and time for themselves, workers are more likely to have that social energy to spend at work with their colleagues. 

Myth three: Remote businesses are less professional 

Historically, the professionalism and prestige of your business has been associated with the physical indicators of your office space: Do you have an iconic entrance with huge glass atriums and elaborate artwork, or is there an impressive range of ergonomic furniture with highly curated colour palettes? 

However, as remote working has become more accepted, we have seen that virtual offices can provide the same essential elements as in-person spaces; the same level of etiquette and formality, organisation and communication, as well as privacy and comfort. 

Modern and emerging businesses are proving this to be true, unshackled by the long leases and incumbent offices that longer tenured business have. For more traditional businesses, often, the return to office has been more about utilising the rented space than achieving greater productivity. 

But not having this physical space, doesn’t mean virtual businesses shouldn’t be thinking about appearances. They need to consider what they share and how they deliver content – just like you would in a physical setting. 

No one wants to receive a bric-a-brac of folders and documents. This is part of the new front door to your business. The tech stack you use should allow you to have different areas for each part of your business – areas for analysis, discussion, sharing and socialising. 

If companies can shift their mindset when it comes to these three common myths about remote working, they can facilitate a better work environment that can enable greater trust, communication and flexibility – all whilst meeting those essential business targets. 

Andy Wilson
Andy Wilson

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