5 Myths Of Working Remotely

Posted on 17th July 2019

I invite you to consider some of the commonly held myths people have about working remotely.
The second part in a series of articles on working remotely.

I’ve spent most of the last two years working remotely. While most developers are quite open to the idea of remote work, there seems to be a lot of myths and half truths about remote work in the industry.

Today I’d like to try and disprove some of the myths floating about.

Note, my experience extends towards working remotely as a developer however the same principles can apply to almost any office-based role.

Myth 01: Productivity & Deadlines

It’s easy to assume that remote workers are quick to be distracted without a boss or mentor nearby. What if I told you that the Harvard Business Review found that companies can see a 13% increase in productivity from remote workers?

HBR’s findings are not a one-off. There’s a plethora of studies and which have discovered the same truth. If you trust your staff, trust them to be productive.

My own experience as a developer working from home shows that I have been able to attain similar or better productivity results to what I can achieve in the office.

Sure, the office surrounds you with other people all working towards the same end goal or project. But an office environment also encompasses many distractions such as noisy co-workers and people interruptions which can be hard to shut-out.

Remote and flexible working has generally given me the opportunity to focus on the task at hand without micromanagement. I can shut-off social media and sit in a quiet place and just focus on my work.

Myth 02: Contact & Communication

A common misconception is that remote workers are impossible to contact, or the team will struggle to share information.

We live in the 21st century. Schedule a quick stand-up every morning and involve remote workers via video link. The tools to achieve this are usually either free or cheap as chips.

If something is urgent then don’t fret, nearly every dev team out there is using an instant messaging tool like slack.

Something really urgent? Pick up the phone and make a call. You’ll use the same amount of time that it would take to walk across the office.

Need help with code? Most IDE’s include a live code sharing tool. Microsoft has been pushing the live sharing tools for Visual Studio & VSCode which lets developers share their development window and local environment with colleagues.

Myth 03: Costs

You might be worried about the IT investment costs to the business needed for remote workers.

What if I told you that a company could save money with remote workers?

Your staff will need a company laptop to work remotely. But they’ll need some form of computer to work from the office anyway.

Depending on your IT infostructure setup, you might need to setup a VPN to give staff secure access to company resources. Let’s be honest, you’ll need that anyway for a proper business continuity plan.

Now where can the company save money?

A business with less staff in the office won’t need to build as much office space. That’s less expenditure on desks, office equipment and maintenance. In-office amenities such as coffee & food also won’t need to be brought at the same rate.

Above all else, the company will lower its carbon footprint from the employee’s reduced overall commute.

Myth 04: Company Culture

There’s a myth that a team cannot build comradery without face to face contact.

Quite to the contrary, remote workers are still going to work through the same projects together and build respect for one another.

Daily stand-ups with a video link add the human touch and a good manager can unite the team and make each member feel valued.

Myth 05: Remote Work Is Lonely

In my experience this will differ from person to person.

I’ve spoken with other people who work 100% remotely and don’t feel lonely. I’m one of those people too. A common trend of this trait seems to be that we socialise and have hobbies in the evening.

My advice for all remote workers is to leave the home office when you have finished working. Go to the gym, see family, go to a club, anything to interact with other people.

More Reading


Article Categories: working remotely

About

A tech blog by Andy P. I talk about coding, tech, games design & other things that interest me.