With more and more companies offering the option to work remotely, many employees are welcoming these new standards. In particular, cancer patients and survivors may benefit from this flexibility. Remote or hybrid work could help offset the challenges of a long commute or the risks of having an impaired immune-system in a crowded or potentially germ-filled work space. It may even help improve focus and concentration without the distractions of an office environment.
More examination is being brought to the way employees are working in this setting compared to in-office. There are some beliefs about working remotely that research shows are myths. A recent Huffington Post article dispels a few:
MYTH: Working In-Office Leads to Greater Collaboration and Creativity
There is a perception that face-to-face interactions spark more innovation and creativity among employees. Some companies have even changed their floorplans to an open-plan design instead of cubicles intended to facilitate more interaction among colleagues.
However, the research shows this is simply untrue. Two researchers observed interactions at a couple of Fortune 500 firms before and after the companies transitioned from individual cubicles to an open-plan design and found that face-to-face interactions dropped by approximately 70% while electronic interactions increased.
For women and people of color, in-person offices can also feel like an unpleasant surveillance. In a 2017 study published in the journal Gender, Work and Organization, researchers followed 1,000 U.K. government employees as they moved to an open-plan office with transparent glass and large, undefined spaces for collaboration. Many women reported feeling more watched by male co-workers and chose not to show up to places unannounced.
MYTH: Remote Workers are Less Committed to Their Jobs
Some argue remote workers are less loyal to their employers. However, research shows the flexibility remote work brings can actually make remote workers more loyal and less likely to leave their current jobs. For instance, a study showed that women who had child-care responsibilities who worked remotely were 32% less likely to consider leaving their job than their colleagues who had no option to work remote.
Another study conducted by Slack showed Asian, Black and Latinx employees felt a higher sense of belonging at their company when they were remote.
MYTH: Working From Home Isn’t As Productive
We have all heard that employees who work from home aren’t working as hard as those in office. However, in a survey about 800 employers with many remote employees, most companies said employee productivity was actually the same (67%) or higher (27%) than it was before the Coronavirus pandemic.
If you are working remotely, you are probably one of the innovative, creative, loyal and productive employees described above! To be even more successful and thoughtful in your remote setting, read through our new website section on Working Remotely.