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As a number of businesses across the globe have gone remote with an aim to help combat the spread of COVID-19, there are some who are still worrying about making the switch. When it comes to the cons of remote work, we’ve heard it all—employees barely get any work done from home, meetings are unproductive, it kills your work culture, and so on—it’s difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Well, it’s time to put these stereotypes to rest. Many organisations made the remote work switch early. While remote work has its challenges, most of them can be resolved easily when you focus on keeping your employees engaged. It is important to bust the myths about remote working.
Myth: Makes your teams laidback
It’s easy to think of remote employees spending most of their day on OTT platforms or lazing around at home, but it’s simply not the truth. Focus on keeping employees engaged and work proactively to adopt remote work tools and best practices. As folks become comfortable with working from home and get used to handling a new world of distractions, productivity levels will rise back in no time. The fact is that the flexibility of remote work is a catalyst for employee happiness and creativity levels. Happier employees are often more engaged and productive.
Myth: Leads to communication breakdowns
Communication interruptions happen in remote teams mostly for the same reason as they do in offices—employees aren’t engaged. Miscommunication occurs more often in newly remote teams because folks aren’t sure of what exactly is expected of them. That’s why applying a remote work policy is vital—it outlines clear expectations and tools/channels for communication.
A detailed remote work policy is just the start, leaders also need to build a culture of open communication to help employees stay engaged. Successful remote companies go to great lengths to help employees socialize—from setting aside blocks of time for informal video calls to creating spaces for shared interests and even organizing fun HR activities over video calls.
However, the fact is that applying a remote work policy helps employees understand business expectations. It enhances transparency and accountability within the business, so communication breakdowns can be resolved much faster.
Myth: Your organization’s data is unsafe
Many organizations are concerned about confidential information being accessed by remote employees on unsecured public internet platforms. The first and one of the most important step is to educate your team as you implement security best practices like connecting over a secured network—VPNs might be a little trouble initially, but they’re worth it—or setting stronger passwords and enabling two-step verification (often using their smartphones). Also, investing in high-end cloud-based collaboration tools that take data security seriously pays off.
When employees know how to safeguard their systems from cyber-attacks and are encouraged to practice them every day, it reduces the chances of a data breach exponentially. While the fact states that data security is more of a people problem than a location one. Educating employees, giving them the right tools and platforms to keep company data secure, and following best practices is key to keeping lips sealed—remote or not.
Myth: Remote work destroys your company culture
Building a positive company culture is harder when all your employees aren’t in the same place, but physical proximity or lunch gossip is not as much of a positive factor either. What makes your company culture great is how employees are treated and how they engage with each other at work. It involves enabling open and effective communication, encouraging transparency, engaging employees, as well as team-building—all things you’d have to do in any business either ways.
How do we do it? Use OKRs and weekly check-ins to help each other stay focused, connected and engaged. As for office chatter, multiple platforms offer the feature of channels for shared interests which are great for your gossip.
Creating and building a strong culture involves enabling open and effective communication, fostering transparency, engaging employees, as well as team-building—all things you can and should do in any business, remote or not.
If you’re still unsure whether remote work can work for your business, here’s another perspective: you may not have a choice, especially if you want to keep your employees safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time to assure employees that you not only care about but also trust them—that you have their best interests at heart.
About the Author:Bhavin Turakhia is the Founder and CEO at Flock.