10 Common Misconceptions About Managing Remote Employees
With the continued rise of remote working, many employees now look forward to building a career entirely from their own home. But some companies continue to prefer their workforce to return to the office due to concerns or beliefs about the impact on the company of employees working remotely. Many of these are misconceptions that can steer employers away from appreciating what remote employees are actually capable of.
If you’re a decision-maker thinking of pulling the plug on remote work, perhaps it’s best that you reconsider. Here are 10 common misconceptions about remote employees and the truth behind each one:
Misconception 1: Remote employees are unproductive.
At home, remote employees face a lot of distractions, hindering them from doing their work well.
Truth: Distractions are everywhere, whether in an office or at home. It’s much worse if employees are unproductive even when they’re in the workplace. On the contrary, remote employees can be much more productive because they no longer suffer from long commutes, the risks of daily traveling (e.g. pollution and weather), and the resulting decrease in energy during work. An added advantage is they can have a better quality of life. In fact, a survey of 800,000 employees in Fortune 500 companies found that, after transitioning to a remote setup, they experienced an increase of productivity by 47%, spent less time avoiding work by 15%, and less time with distractions from coworkers. This is powerful data that suggests that remote employees are actually more productive and face far less distractions.
Misconception 2: Remote employees often sleep on the job.
No one’s watching them work – who knows if they’re just sleeping throughout the day?
Truth: Preparing to go on-site and traveling every day can take a toll on on-site employees and can make them tired in the office. Remote employees, on the other hand, deal with fewer job-related, time-consuming, and exhausting tasks before getting to work. This makes them less likely to sleep on the job.
Misconception 3: Remote employees should be able to accept tasks any time.
Their home is now their office. This means they’re always up working, and so they should be always ready for more work.
Truth: Like on-site employees, remote employees signed up for a specific set of working hours. The only difference is where they work. In this way, managing remote employees is no different than managing on-site employees. Employers should keep this in mind to reduce the chances of employee burnout.
Misconception 4: Remote employees cannot present themselves properly because they prefer to wear non-office clothes.
They’re working in the comfort of their homes, away from the prying eyes of their coworkers and managers. What’s stopping them from wearing pajamas while doing critical work?
Truth: Having a dress code may be necessary depending on the industry and role. For the most part, however, it’s unnecessary to enforce a dress code the same way as in an in-person setup. In fact, it may be more beneficial to let your employees wear whatever they want. A survey of 1,038 remote employees revealed that employees feel more productive while wearing certain clothes like gym clothes or pajamas. Perhaps the only exception is during virtual meetings with clients or other companies, which you can easily resolve by establishing clear protocols with your employees on what to wear during such meetings.
Misconception 5: Communication is more frequently delayed with remote employees.
It takes much longer to communicate with them. Instead of speaking directly, you have to ping them and wait for their reply. In case of an urgent matter, it can be frustrating if the response takes too long.
Truth: Whether on-site or remote, it’s vital to set expectations and establish a clear line of communication. Implementing protocols or guidelines for communication in agreement with your employees is the key to preventing delayed communication. With the right manageable protocols, you can still maintain a smooth line of communication. An example is requiring your employees to respond to requests or queries within a reasonable frame (e.g. 24 hours maximum to reply).
Misconception 6: It’s hard to track a remote employee’s progress.
Behind a screen, it’s much easier for them to get away with making false reports about what they did.
Truth: While it is a legitimate concern, you can easily alleviate this with clear processes and open communication. Ensure that you have a frequent cadence for checking in with one another, both synchronously and asynchronously. Employees should not only share their progress but also their deliverables to the proper stakeholders.
Misconception 7: Remote employees should be paid lower than their on-site counterparts.
They work away from the office – therefore, they should receive lower pay because they expend fewer company resources.
Truth: The value of an employee (whether remote or on-site) is in their work. If they can work at home just as well in the office, why should they receive lower pay?
Misconception 8: Making employees work remotely leads to a lonelier workplace.
It’s just never the same as being there in person. Having remote employees promotes being distant from colleagues.
Truth: A positive company culture is always positive, no matter where the employees are. If going virtual changes that, perhaps a reassessment of company culture or processes should be underway. You especially have to learn how to engage remote employees if your culture thrives in being in person.
Misconception 9: Having remote employees will lead to data breaches.
Your office setup protects employees from cybersecurity risks. Since they work away from the office, they are more prone to mishandling or misusing sensitive data.
Truth: A remote setup is, indeed, more susceptible to data breaches. However, with the right protocols and equipment in place, you can ensure data security while enabling your employees to work remotely. You can provide company equipment with pre-installed security software in place. Your employees can also undergo thorough training and regular refreshers to combat potential data security threats, such as what to do when receiving a suspicious or unknown email. Finally, you can implement data security protocols such as using a VPN.).
Misconception 10: Having remote employees is expensive to set up.
Allowing employees to work remotely is very pricey. You have to cover for their Wi-Fi, electricity, equipment, data plans, and contingencies. It’s a lot cheaper to simply have them work on-site.
Truth: Global Workplace Analytics found that companies can save up to $11,000 annually per employee if they work remotely. Besides less fuel, food, parking, and office space costs, this is because of far less absenteeism and employee turnover.
Overcoming Misconceptions To Your Advantage
Doing away with these misconceptions will help you appreciate the many benefits of remote work for both you and your employees. This is especially true for the front desk where employee turnover can be high due to tiredness and unhappiness. With WelcomeWare, you can empower your receptionists to work remotely, allowing them to attend to the front desk virtually and ensuring smoother business operations.
WelcomeWare enables remote front desk work that stays effectiveWith WelcomeWare, remote work for your front desk is possible
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