How to Break the WFH Stigma
Over the past decade, remote work has become more ingrained in our daily vernacular as an increasing number of organizations begin to integrate it into their business model. Regrettably, from the days of “telecommuting” to the present distributed workforce, a stigma around remote work developed that still lingers today, leaving some skeptical of the practice and wary of detrimental effects that remote workers may have on a business.
Yet our research indicates that flexibility and remote work are in high demand for prospective employees, with 77% of workers wanting to incorporate this approach into their work week. In a brand new study from Buffer, this number surges to 99%. As the benefits of a distributed workforce are too great for its adoption to be stifled by myths and misconceptions, we put together some tips to to help break the stigma around working outside of the office.
Prove Yourself Outside the Office
Leave no room for doubt about your performance. This is an extremely effective way to fight against negative perceptions around working remotely. If your productivity levels remain high and your work product solid, it is unlikely that your manager will raise any questions about your capabilities while working remotely. When working out of the office, be sure to be as responsive as possible to your colleagues and clients. Deliver high quality work, and position yourself as an invaluable asset to your team. In short: by doing your best work no matter where you are, you prove that working remotely doesn’t hinder your performance.
Due to a lack of face-to-face interaction, in-office managers or counterparts may find themselves wondering what a remote team member is up to, and assume the worst. They envision a remote worker wandering around their house in sweatpants, surfing the web, and maybe even watching TV when they should be working. A great way to combat this perception is to schedule regular meetings with coworkers and managers. Create regular in-office huddles to meet face-to-face, or alternatively, if your organization is embracing the digital transformation with communications and collaboration tools, jump on a video call to talk through a project or use video conferencing for team meetings. For bonus points, make sure to look your best when joining a video conference. Think about staging a place for all of your video calls. You’ll want to have a quiet space, with minimal interruption, along with a space that is clean, orderly, and visually appealing. This will help your colleagues understand that working from home is no different than working in the office.
Break Out the Data
Stanford University recently released the findings of a two-year study which found that working from home actually boosts productivity, and does not reduce worker efficiency. This should be music to the ears of employers, as our own research found that 40% of workers would even take on a greater workload if it meant getting flexible work options, which seems to indicate that remote workers could truly help unleash productivity within an organization. Business leaders and IT decision makers value using hard data to drive business decisions, so using data to bolster and support your position on remote work will help to eliminate any lingering suspicions around remote work.
As remote work continues to become increasingly common, we can expect that stigmas against working from home will slowly dissipate. In the meantime, consider these tips to shatter remote work misconceptions and help ease the transition to a work from anywhere approach.