Work from home. Telecommuting. Remote workers. They’re all just fancy words for people that work in pajamas with dogs at their sides, right? Well, while my lab Fletch sometimes makes a surprise appearance on a video call, remote work is burdened with misconceptions that I set out to debunk:
Misconception 1 – “Are they even working?”
Remote workers are often accused of “phoning it in,” only half listening to meeting conversation as they surf the internet, watch television or answer other emails. The truth is, studies show remote workers report being more productive – 91% in one study – than their office-dwelling peers. Working remotely also encourages having more detailed communication with managers and team members to clarify objectives, which is not the mark of a lazy person.
Misconception 2 – “Is that even a real job?”
Just because remote workers are surrounded by the comforts of home when they work doesn’t mean that they’re not working a “real” job.
Cisco and many other respected brands, including Amazon, Dell, Apple and Wells Fargo, support remote work. And this trend is growing; a survey by Global Workplace Analytics found that 40% more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace options than they did five years ago.
Misconception 3 – “Do you ever leave your house?”
The beautiful reality of being a remote worker is that – well, we can work remotely from wherever our happy work spot may be.
I do have a home office and it where I work from most often. But tools like WebEx and Cisco Spark provide flexibility that gives me the freedom to hunker down in my favorite local coffee shop to work and even attend meetings.
Misconception 4 – “That must be really lonely.”
Though remote workers may be physically alone when they do their work, video conferencing enable us to become expert collaborators, connecting with teams in real-time.
Personally, I love the interactive drawing and whiteboard feature offered by Cisco Spark. Our team uses it to share graphics and outline concepts, all in real-time. And whatever devices we’re all using – cell phone, lap top, tablet – Cisco Spark allows us to share files and message one another and engage in occasional “virtual” water cooler talk. Again, all in real-time.
Misconception 5 – “You must find it hard to turn off.”
In the age of collaboration (rolling over first thing in the morning to check emails, anyone?), this is an issue that we are all working on. Regardless of your work environment, work-life balance is critical. Though this can seem like a challenge if your home is your office like mine, it’s not impossible. It’s all about pacing.
What works for me is creating barriers between “work-mode” and “family-mode”. For example, I don’t work during dinner time and I don’t check emails until I’ve dropped my kids off at school. For you, it may be designated a certain area of your home as a place you don’t enter until it’s time to work.
What do you enjoy most about being a remote worker? Share with our community on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.