After working remotely for almost six months, one thing has become apparent – 'Remote Working' grows on you. And we can say this very confidently as we currently have the same experience working with Skuad as we are 100% remote like many of you and your organizations.
Like many companies with a remote workforce, we too had our notions and opinions, but we also knew we could not go wrong. After all, working successfully as a remote team is what Skuad is all about. Nevertheless, from miscommunication to Imposter Syndrome, we had thoughts and fears about them all! But as we engaged with this model, we realized and experienced that a lot of these fears and opinions are nothing but myths and misconstrued facts.
So, here we are, bursting the most common myths people have about remote working. But, before we dive into the debunking process, we want you to understand the difference between remote-friendly and remote-first setups.
In a remote-friendly set up, an organization primarily has physical office spaces, but the employees have the liberty to operate from outside of the office. In a remote-first setup, 'remote' is the default. With a few exceptions, there is no permanent office space.
And now, let's wrestle the myths!
1. "Remote working = WFH"
"Remote working means Work from home" is the most common myth of all. For most of us, stepping out of a formal office space translates into an employee working from home. Skuad has teams operating from over six time zones engaged full-time, part-time, and freelance; we understand different working styles. Some swear by their den, a.k.a home office. Some find increased productivity levels at a coworking space. And some like changes in the environment, so they hop from one cafe to another.
See, that's the beauty of remote working, to be able to choose your comfort zone and not sticking to a 4×4 cubicle.
2. "Remote workers are freelancers."
Because gig workers such as self-employed professionals and freelancers are not committed to one organization, they don’t have to go to an office every day. While this is true, the opposite isn't. Full-time or part-time employees do not necessarily have to operate from offices. The pandemic has already taught us how to function remotely, but if you are still looking at some hacks, here are some Skuad secrets.
Reminiscing the past, you will realize people (such as carpenters, potters, tailors, etc.) have always worked remotely, specifically from their homes. Industrialization ushered the concept of the factory, and the rest is history. So it depends on your contract with a company and the kind of profession you are in. So try remote working opportunities once before you make a pick if it is for you or not!
Okay, this one is true for some, but we've cracked the code. To understand remote work productivity, we spoke to different professionals. We concluded that remote workers' productivity is not determined by the work model but by your unfamiliarity with it.
Pause and think: didn't you also struggle with your productivity initially, but you bounced back to your actual form once you got familiar with the remote model? That nod of the head right there is how we have debunked this misconception, too!
4. "Remote work means miscommunication."
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder. But in the case of working remotely, we have become more cautious. Meetings have increased, we have realized the intent and importance of being on the same page. And, the call frequency is so much that we can recognize each other's family members from their voices. The point is to foresee gaps in miscommunication and make efforts to overcome them.
5. "There is no work-life balance."
If put in an equation, remote work-life balance is directly proportional to time management. Let's trace back a little. Remote work implies flexibility. This means custom designing our timetable for the day. And while we all craft it, we end up integrating both personal and professional tasks in those standard 9-10 office hours. Haha! (ghost laugh) now you know where you were going wrong.
So achieving work-life balance is a personal goal and not a default of the remote model.
6. "Remote work is only for introverts."
It might come as a surprise, but remote working is relatively neutral and works perfectly for all kinds of human stereotypes. It is a dream come true for people who enjoy their own space and company and works equally well for continuous change in the setting. In both these extreme cases and the ones that fall in between, remote work involves working with distributed teams. It involves constant interactions with different groups, completing your tasks on time, and displaying a sense of organizational solidarity, irrespective of your personality type.
7. "Limited learning opportunities"
It's the 21st Century, and we all can agree that the availability of information is in abundance. As one of our colleagues, Chetan, said, "The free world internet is our oyster. Just Google or YouTube your area of learning and you will find an ocean of materials." Some organizations hold regular training sessions and provide subscriptions to learning platforms like Coursera, etc. At Skuad, we have open Slack channels where we build an ever-increasing inventory of knowledge by sharing interesting articles, videos, etc. So don't worry about losing out because there are always infinite remote career opportunities at your disposal.
Taking everything into account,
We can say that while there are days we miss the office. There are times we wish to pull each other out of our laptop screens and go for that 'much-missed tea break together. But, we are also working with more creative freedom, flexibility, and opportunities to make better decisions. We are managing the challenges of remote working well and growing on individual levels. We are happily settled in this remote work lifestyle.
And once the world heals and springs back from the COVID-19, we will be able to get rid of the work-from-home kind of remote work. Subsequently, we will be able to experience remote working with all the benefits for gig workers! Until then, let's stay in touch via laptops and wifi.