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Myths About Remote Work

I try to stay out of this discussion, I really do. There is so much misinformation and outright bias when it comes to remote work that it is a joke. Let me try to list and dispel some of the more common myths.

Myth #1: A remote workforce makes it difficult or impossible to build a corporate culture.

To be honest, this myth doesn’t surprise me. We see so many organizations have little clues on what things like support and culture mean. Just look at any diversity stats. Orgs will tell you that diversity is important to them, but the employees will say they see nothing different and that it is all a slogan. Cultures are like that too. Orgs think if they offer pizza parties and ping pong that they are being balanced and employee friendly.

Your culture is the things that are done to and for customers as well as to and for employees. You can build a great culture in person or remotely. The example I love to give is Apple. I have never once been to the Apple headquarters or had lunch with Tim Cook. Yet, I love my Apple products and pay attention to the company. He created a culture for me as a customer without me ever having to visit the offices. That can be done with employees as well.

Myth #2: Employees love/hate coming to the office.

These binary options are, to be totally blunt, BS. The fact is that every employee is different. Some employees like coming in to the office because they feel more productive. Some like staying home because they feel like they get more uninterrupted time. The idea that there is a static choice or result for everyone and everything borders on absurd. It is as silly as saying “all Gen X employees like to wear black”.

The orgs that win are going to be the ones that realize flexibility is the key. I don’t mind going to the office when I see a value to it - a meeting, the tools/resources to help, etc. The commute doesn’t bother me because I see the value. Every employee, every situation, and every day is different. So how are you - as a company - developing ways to be flexible enough to help the employee be productive.

There are more myths, but those two stand out as the most silly ones. I could add a rant against the productivity discussion, but I’ve already done that.

Until organizations start focusing on facts and goals, this silly discussion will continue.

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