Whether it’s due to recent shifts in cultural norms (I’m looking at you, work/life balance) or the result of more companies looking to attract and retain quality talent, working remotely (often called telecommuting) is currently having its moment in the spotlight. In fact, recent data shows telecommuting has grown by 115% over the past 10+ years — nearly 10 times faster than the rest of the workforce.
Here at Infinity Marketing, our full-time telecommuting team makes up about 10% of our overall crew, and many of our 70+ home-base team members also enjoy focused workdays outside the office at least once or twice a month.
Because we know a thing or two about fostering an engaged, productive, telecommuting workforce, we’d like to clear up a few misconceptions floating around out there about working remotely.
Myth #1: Working remotely is only for certain types of employees
Everyone knows diversity makes any group stronger, and the Infinity family truly relies — and thrives — on our collective differences. Our telecommuting team is a true microcosm of our larger home base team and includes members from each of our internal departments.
Whether part of business services, the traditional media and social media teams, the analytics department, the DJ endorsements team, or our award-winning creative department, each of our remote employees comes armed with a unique set of skills and experiences that truly helps define the phrase, “the whole is a sum of the parts.”
The diversity doesn’t stop there, either. We’ve got introverts and extroverts. We’ve got OGs who’ve been part of the Infinity family for 10+ years, as well as more recent team members who have only come on board within the last year or two. We’ve got a full range of personalities and strengths, too! Our telecommuting team’s top five Clifton Strengths include communication, strategic, achiever, harmony, competition, responsibility, consistency, and nearly every other strength on the list.
So, it’s safe to say we’ve pretty much cracked through the “certain type of remote employee” misconception. This one is always an easy myth to bust when everyone involved works to acknowledge the qualities that make each person on your telecommuting team a valued, contributing member of your larger core team.
Myth #2: Remote employees miss out on connection and team collaboration
We can see how this one would be tough for some companies to overcome, especially if they weren’t equipped with the right tools to set remote employees up for success.
We totally get it. Some folks (even those who work remotely) need good ol’ fashioned face-to-face time with their coworkers. For remote employees who only live an hour or two away from home base, scheduling a once-a-week or once-a-month in-office day can go a long way toward filling the need for human interaction and team bonding.
But, what if a team member lives two time zones away? Luckily, in today’s tech-fueled world, we have our pick of useful resources to make it easy for everyone — whether from different parts of the country, different parts of the city, or even different parts of the building — to stay connected and actively engaged in team collaboration throughout the workweek. Here are a few the Infinity team uses:
Whatever technology or platforms your team chooses or uses to remain accessible and on the same page, just remember that communication is key to successful collaboration (and extra communication is even better to help bust this “miss out” myth).
Myth #3: Remote employees are underperforming and difficult to manage
Our experience shows this misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. When everyone understands expectations from the very beginning (including fully fleshed out remote team processes and procedures), a mutually beneficial, easy-to-manage experience follows. Trust us on this one.
Accountability is key to remote employee productivity. It helps create structure and allows everyone involved to rock out their daily responsibilities with a high level of trust in themselves and their team. Creating a culture of accountability ensures deadlines still get met (or exceeded), consistent communication still occurs, and clients still remain the top priority. Distance should never detract from individual or team productivity.
Speaking of productivity, did you know that every member of Infinity’s telecommuting team feels they are actually more productive in their remote workspaces? Wondering why? Here are a few reasons they gave:
Mark this one as our third and final shattered remote employee misconception!
Excellent planning and expectation setting, coupled with a high level of accountability and trust, plus the right tools to stay connected, will help create a diverse, highly skilled, easily managed, super-productive telecommuting team.