Myths of the Virtual Office
We all want to be the remote worker, taking advantage of no commute, working in our pajamas and fitting in tasks between PTA and soccer games. Virtual office technology can make it a reality, but is it as beneficial for the organization as it is for the employee? A look at a few of the myths associated with the remote worker can help you develop a better opinion.
A Business2Community article recently listed six common misconceptions about the remote worker. After reading the list, we’ve decided to add a few more of our own. How does it compare with your own perception? If you’re a remote worker, are you familiar with rumors based on misinformation? Here we’ll try to right that wrong.
Remote Working is a New Trend
There’s a common misconception that employees have really only been able to work from home since the dawn of cloud computing and the availability of reaching the corporate network with a mobile device. In reality, the process of accessing the information needed to complete a task has simply changed over the years. In the past, certain roles – like sales – were worth the investment in technology that would enable the employee to work from anywhere. Now, that capability can be extended to others.
The Virtual Office is for the Slacker
There’s a common assumption that those who work in a virtual office don’t actually do work, they simply give the appearance. Some may believe the individual elected to work remotely so as to waste as much time as possible. For those who have worked in this environment, however, you know that the lack of interruptions and the focused working hours allow you to get much more done than if you had gone into the physical office.
Accountability is Lost with the Remote Employee
It’s easy to assume that the remote employee has no one to answer to and therefore can do whatever they want throughout the day. In reality, most of these employees have tasks to complete by a certain time or day and a failure to do so is accountability enough. Those able to self-manage will get the job done.
Remote Workers Should Just be Left Alone
While micromanaging the remote worker isn’t a good idea; it also isn’t a good idea to just leave them alone or exclude them from office gatherings. These individuals still need to be a part of the team. Bring them into the office from time to time and make those important connections. Provide the support they need, but still give them the space necessary to get their job done.
Remote Workers Have an Unhealthy Work/Life Balance
Those who don’t work in the virtual office may wonder how the employee who does can separate their work life from their home life. It can be a challenge, but not one that can’t be overcome. The best way to ensure the balance is to have a separate workspace and when the work day is done, leave the to-do list alone until the next day.
Anyone Can Manage a Virtual Office
The reality is that not everyone is cut out to work remotely. Some can actually turn the myths into reality. Unless the individual is self-motivated, self-disciplined and able to manage their workday effectively, working remotely may not be ideal.
For a number of companies, the virtual office and their remote worker strategy are still being perfected. The technology is certainly available; perfecting the management and execution may just take a bit of patience.
Edited by Blaise McNamee