Forget the flying cars, the robots that will do your laundry, and the moving sidewalks in every major metropolitan area. The real innovation of the future is remote work, and we’re here to dispel a few common myths about this approach to business.
Now, when you heard the term “remote work,” there’s a good chance that you had a strong reaction to it. Most companies know exactly where they stand on remote work: they either love it or they hate it, and, regardless of their stance, they have the data-driven articles and personal anecdotes about an employee named Bob to back up their position.
In a world of polarized opinions, how do you know what to believe?
We’re here to help.
Today we’re going to tell you, from a personal standpoint, what makes remote work great.
Most of our team is remote. We have a headquarters in New York City, but we have team members throughout the world, from Arizona to Nashville to China. Even with a workforce that is primarily online, we’ve grown as a company from an interesting idea to a multi-million dollar organization in a few years, largely due to the way that our team functions.
Myth #1: Remote Work Leads to Subpar Performance
One of the most common misconceptions about remote work is that there’s no way to regulate the environment of the company. When you hire online employees, some will argue, there is no way to truly keep them in line, control the office atmosphere, and instill the same level of standards that you can when you’re face-to-face with your workers.
Now, we get where this argument comes from. It certainly is more difficult to keep a level set of standards when you can simply pop into one employee’s office and see how the work is coming. If you consider yourself to be a hands-on manager, you probably like being able to just check in at a moment’s notice.
Here’s the catch – micromanaging can become a negative. Giving your employees the freedom and trust to do their work on their own terms often produces better results.
Random check-ins can make you feel like you have a better handle on your employees, but they often also tire out your workforce, lower the morale around the office, and limit creativity.
Instead, consider giving your employees the freedom to just do their thing. When your team works remotely, they have the freedom to be their most productive selves. Do they like to work early in the morning, before distraction sets in? Awesome. Are their creative juices flowing more after normal business hours? Cool. As long as our employees are meeting their deadlines and submitting quality work, we give them the freedom to do what they need to do.
Now, of course, teams still need to have accountability, management, and mentorship, but those should all be in the service of empowerment. A team that is empowered to do their best work is a team that will own their results, produce more creative content, and bring a positive perspective to your company.
Myth #2: People Who Work Remotely Can’t Handle an Office Environment
There seems to be a stigma surrounding those who want to work remotely. Oftentimes, when a candidate mentions they’re hoping to work remotely, employers immediately write them off, assuming that they can’t handle the stress of a day-to-day office environment or are looking to escape responsibility and slack off.
In our experience, this isn’t the case.
Nowadays, there are tons of people who seek remote work. Working online not only allows for more flexibility, it also can help those are more introverted feel comfortable at work, those who are easily distracted stay on track, and can allow people in cities across the world to work for companies that are incredible fit for their skill set, no matter where the office is based.
For instance, even just a few decades ago, if you were highly skilled but also lived in a small town, there was a high probability that you would never get the kind of work in which you would excel. In order to do anything that wasn’t a local trade or industry, you would have to be able to afford to move to a large city. The risk-reward simply wasn’t in the employee’s favor, and so companies lost out on potentially millions of incredible employees.
With remote work, the entire game is changing. Not only is this great news for skilled employees who want to work with a company despite their location, it’s incredible news for employers everywhere.
Through remote work, the talent pool has just expanded. Now, you can attract the very best employees in the world, no matter who they are and where they live, simply by allowing them the flexibility of working online.
Myth #3: You Can’t Have Meetings With Remote Employees
If you’re like many employers, you’re probably nervous about how meetings will work with remote employees. After all, meetings are where the team comes together. How could you have an effective employee if they can’t attend meetings?
We have good news: you can have meetings with all of your remote employees.
We won’t waste your time doing a deep dive into the numerous kinds of virtual meeting technology that exist. But we do want to emphasize that virtual meeting technology isn’t only available: it’s proven to be extremely effective as well.
For us, virtual meetings have been very effective. We use these meetings to do everything from go over goals, conduct quarterly reviews and brainstorm our next growth strategies.
We try to have all of our big remote meetings over video call, so that we get as much face-to-face time as possible. Through our thousands of video conferences, we have seen that these meetings build culture just as well as in-person meetings. Sure, you don’t have the added camaraderie of grabbing a beer with your coworkers or getting to know each other’s families, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be intentional and personal.
Whether you play some icebreaking e-conference games, schedule in some time to chat before the meeting begins, or just proceed with the meeting as planned, remote meetings can build camaraderie just as much as in-person meetings.
Myth #4: Remote Work Is Just For Startups
So, you’ve been reading this blog about remote working, but the whole time you’ve been thinking: “Well, that’s all well and good for a company based in New York with an eye to the future, but what about my more traditional, regional business?”
At Museum Hack, we would never recommend a practice so broadly if it only worked for a niche industry. Sure, having remote employees requires a certain level of tech-savviness, but we truly believe that almost any company can benefit from remote employees.
Does your company do business in some part, whether small or large, online? Do you have customers that you need to speak to in multiple cities? Do you have any sort of online presence, whether that be a website, social media platform, or ad campaign? If you said yes to any of these questions, we bet that remote employees could be in your future.
So no, a family farm may not need a remote employee, but maybe a regional farm could hire someone remotely to maintain orders and field customer questions. A hospital would never want a remote physician, but it may want a remote consultant to keep them up-to-date with cutting edge practices and research. A local restaurant may need their cook to be local, but maybe they could earn new customers through a remote marketing employee.
You get the gist – there is almost always room for a remote employee, no matter what type of business you are in.
Myth #5: Remote Work Is For Everyone
We’ve spent the past 2,000 words or so defending remote work, talking about how easy it has become, and advising that you give it a shot, but we do want to offer one very important caveat.
Remote work is not for everyone.
Although we truly believe that remote work is often an incredible solution to a litany of difficult problems, we also acknowledge that in some situations, you simply can’t beat having people in the office.
If you’re happy having your employees all together in a physical location, that’s okay! It’s your business, after all. At the end of the day, running a business that you believe in is the most important ingredient for success.
To sum it all up, we believe that remote work has been incredibly beneficial for us at Museum Hack. Remote work has given us world-class employees and helped us build a diverse workforce that’s ready for just about any challenge that may come its way.
If you think remote work can work for you, don’t be afraid — take the plunge. We’re glad we did.