We live in a time of great workplace transformation: employees are working from home more than ever now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote work is no longer the exception, it’s the new paradigm. It isn’t the future of the office; it’s the here and now. So, why are companies closing their office doors and shifting their operations online? Because employees prefer it. Countless studies demonstrate the benefits of remote work: employees are happier, healthier, and more engaged in their work at home. They are 20 percent more productive and nearly twice as likely to work beyond 40 hours a week, all while taking a machete to the traditional in-office model.
Are you thinking about turning the lights off in your office building for good and shifting your company online? To achieve this telecommuter nirvana, you must understand why employees want to remotely in the first place.
In this post, we’ll dispel myths about remote work and explore the benefits of remote work.
But, before discussing the benefits of remote work, let’s dispel common myths employers have about remote work.
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Myths of Remote Work
Myth #1: Remote workers just want to watch Netflix all day.
The pessimistic managers picture their employees curled up under the blankets watching reruns of Seinfeld (it’s on Netflix again, by the way) and shirking all workplace responsibilities, but studies show this perception is false.
When goals are clearly defined, and workers know what’s expected, they feel motivated to perform their best, whether in the office or at home.
The best way to communicate? Try a Slack message.
With Jell, you can set goals with your team and check in daily without wasting time in a meeting. Integrate these check-ins into your team’s workflow. All you need to do is:
- Set your schedule. Want to have your daily standup questions answered by 10 am EST? Great, you can schedule that. Schedule your standups at a time that suits your team’s needs.
- Configure your questions. Don’t want to ask your team the standard standup questions? Not a problem. Jell lets you edit the questions you ask your team. You can choose from text, list, multiple-choice, or number-style questions.
- Get your team on board. Once your team uses Jell, they’ll receive reminders to participate in their asynchronous standups.
Setting up daily standups allays fears of employee laziness. If you’re worried your employees will just watch Netflix all day, Jell provides an opportunity to hold them accountable.
Myth #2 Remote workers require expensive laptops and equipment.
Most remote workers use their own laptops or desktop computers. If you can afford it, send them a work laptop, but it’s unnecessary.
Worried about security? Have your IT team set up a secure workplace VPN, Duo Device 2FA, and 1Password Vault for your team.
Other than needing a connection to the internet, they only need a laptop or desktop computer, a desk, and a chair to sit.
Myth #3 Remote workers are disconnected from their teammates.
Remote workers have every communication application: Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, Slack, and even good ol’ email. With Jell’s Slack integration, you can stay connected in various ways by sharing your schedule, sharing your daily tasks, blockers, and collaborating on goals. There’s no reason your team can’t stay connected with one another.
This concern isn’t baseless as having a friend at work increases engagement and performance. When you’re in the office, it’s easy to walk over to your coworker’s desk and make conversation, but in a virtual environment, making connections requires effort.
Even the office has its limitations. Sure, social hours capture a few coworkers as they’re heading out of the door. But what about the coworkers with after-hours obligations like picking their kids up from school or grocery shopping for their elderly mom?
Virtual events allow everyone to be involved, regardless of where they’re located in the world or what obligation they may have.
Some virtual activities we recommend:
- Play a round of two truths and a lie. It’s fun having your team guess what’s true and what’s not.
- Have your team take a personality quiz like the enneagram or the ancient Grecian “Four Temperaments.” Then, at your next meeting, compare results and chat about them.
- Start a #watercooler channel on Slack. Like a real watercooler, teammates can discuss anything from memes to the new Spiderman movie. This is an opportunity for teammates to bond on their interests regardless of time zone.
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Employees don’t want to prove themselves.
When adults show up to do work they could quickly complete in a more convenient place, the office feels like a check-in point rather than a productivity space. You don’t just want your employees present. You want them engaged and churning out quality work.
By eliminating the need to show up in person, you demonstrate that results matter more than simply appearing to do your job. And you don’t want the plague of presenteeism to make the office counterproductive. Employees may feel the need to make it to work when they are fighting off a cold or exhausted just to avoid taking paid time off. Who does that help? Absenteeism may seem like a productivity killer, but an employee present and not working is potentially more dangerous because you’ll assume work is getting done while crucial tasks get missed.
And what’s the benefit of having employees in the office when it’s easy to communicate outside the office? As Nick Hardiman noted in TechRepublic, the rise of practical communication tools has made us better connected than ever and the office less relevant. “The prevalence of smartphones and social media means you don’t have to be next to someone to communicate effectively,” Hardiman writes. “And new business trends like remote administration, cloud-based project management, video conferencing, and BYOD are extending the effectiveness of remote work.”
The need to be accounted for in-person is also unnecessary in daily standups. While standups can help keep your team on track, requiring the need to set aside time for a meeting—whether online or in-person—is unnecessary as a daily habit. Rather than the daily standup, lean on valuable tools for better communication like Google Hangouts, Slack, and Jell to keep everyone on the team in sync while eliminating overkill on updating colleagues. That leaves more time for getting things done.
Key takeaway: Employees show you they’re working by producing results. Deploy practical tools rather than regular meetings and in-person proof of work.
Employees love saving wear and tear on their cars.
There are few things more soul-crushing than having to face a daily commute that more closely resembles the epic journeys of Greek myths than a quick trip to work. It’s no secret why the people with the longest commutes often feel they live the most miserable lives.
Remote employees are often better engaged and more productive because they have the proper time to focus instead of battling traffic or catching a train every day. Eliminating the need for long commutes reduces stress and allows employees to plug into the most essential assignment early in the day—when they are most productive.
Anxiety-inducing trips to the office can leave your employees feeling rushed and out of sorts when they arrive at work. Instead, employees start their day with a clearer mind and can reinvest that time saved on transportation into checking off additional tasks. There are also no uncontrollable factors like weather or transportation breakdowns that can bring productivity to a complete halt—an unforeseen obstacle that could strike at the worst time.
Use teleconferences instead of in-person meetings, so employees don’t have to make an unnecessary trip. Even your essential one-on-one sessions are often better when hosted in a non-office location, so employees feel more comfortable and safe when delivering frank feedback. Finding a happy middle point with your employee can reduce transit time for everyone.
Key takeaway: Removing the commute is a powerful stress reliever. Don’t require office work, and ask yourself if in-person is necessary when scheduling meetings.
You need to trust your employees and do the most you can to help them achieve their best work. Remote work is not another problem to solve; it’s one of the solutions to increase workplace productivity, slashing costs, and saving time for everyone involved. Whatever you do, offer your employees some flexibility. 47% of employees say they’d look for another job if their employer doesn’t offer a hybrid work model.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Jell?
At Jell, we believe in workplace transparency for your team, allowing you to communicate effectively and discover and correct workplace issues before they arise.
Does Jell Integrate with Slack?
Yes, it is made for Slack. Jell’s Slack integration allows you to publish standups, check-ins, and other activities to keep track of your team and their progress towards goals. To learn more about this integration, go here.
Can I upgrade my account at any time?
Yes, absolutely. If you’d like to upgrade your account, go to the billing section on our website and select the new plan of your choice.
Other than Slack, does Jell have any other integrations?
Jell integrates with Slack, Microsoft Teams, GitHub, Jira, Trello, Clubhouse., PivotalTracker, GitLab, FogBugz, and CA Flowclock.
Myth #4 My job isn’t conducive to working remotely.
True and False. Certain jobs require you to be onsite, like installing traffic cameras or collecting garbage (although, let’s be honest, most of our homes can use a little Marie Kondo-level TLC). However, there may be aspects of your job that can be performed remotely. Some companies are developing a hybrid model over fully remote work, and that’s perfectly fine.
Myth #5 Remote work suppresses creativity.
False. Working within constraining office walls can stifle creativity by only offering us what’s physically around us, thereby limiting innovation. You would think working in a physical office space promotes inclusivity, but the opposite is true. Using software like Jell lets you cast a wider net of differing perspectives and creative ideas. On Slack, you aren’t confining your team to a dusty, windowless conference room where only a few voices are heard.
Offer your team a virtual environment, like using Jell with Slack, so they can feel comfortable voicing their ideas and concerns.
Benefits of Remote Work: Why do employees love remote work?
Employees love flexibility.
Employees appreciate autonomy and freedom in their workplace environments. No, this doesn’t mean leaving in the middle of the workday to go to Target (or does it?). It means forgoing the strict 9-5 pm, antiquated schedule for a flexible schedule, working where employees want and when they want. They plan their day to suit their personal and work lives. Employees can vacuum their floors between answering emails or writing a grant after picking their kids up from school with remote work. Remote work doesn’t get in the way of working. On the contrary, it inspires a different working method and instills a feeling of freedom in employees.
Sticking to the old-school 9-5 schedule stands in the way of teamwork, reduces productivity, signals less trust in your employees, and makes the ticking clock on the wall a daily distraction. And, releasing your team from a strict schedule can be one of the easiest ways to improve morale. Remote work encourages individuals to work when they are at their best.
That extra level of recognition and flexibility is a significant reason employees justify pouring more hours into their job—they feel like the capable adults they are. And it’s a reason why many employees are happier working remotely. So what does that do for you? Employees with an optimistic outlook on their job are 12% more productive. Satisfied employees mean increased productivity which makes for a more efficient work environment.
Key takeaways: Let your employees show up when they can and rely on setting objectives and key results (aka OKRs) to keep them accountable instead of designating certain hours for work.
Employees love saving money (and time).
Driving to work eats up precious time and money. Employees need a reliable car, car insurance for that reliable car, gas, wear and tear, and repairs on the vehicle. Then there’s parking, lunch, coffee, and the time involved driving to and from work. Are you a workplace that offers free lunches once a week and incentives to keep your employees satisfied in the workplace? That’s great, but what if you saved the money and allowed your employees to work from home in the first place? Instead of spending thousands on an office renovation or designer ping pong tables, invest the money in your employees or reallocate it within your business. When working remotely, your employees save money, but you do as well.