DesignDesignDesignTyping on laptop

7 September 2021

Misconceptions & Myths About Remote Work

Amaury photo

Amaury de Thibault

1. No Opportunities for Career Growth

One of the most common remote work myths is that it gives you limited opportunities for career progression. It may be true that working remotely means you have little (if any) face-to-face contact with management. But our latest blog post proves that office politics is still alive and well in the age of remote work. And you still have ample chances to impress your bosses. Results are results, as they say.

A study by Owl Labs reveals that 35% of employees believe remote work offers more opportunities for quality employment. This may go some way towards explaining why companies that allow flexible working have a lower rate of staff turnover because they are training and promoting their current employees.

2. Remote Workers are Less Productive

A lot of employers are worried that remote work will lead to a decline in employee productivity and performance. However, multiple studies prove that, actually, the opposite is true. Remote employees say they feel more productive and engaged when working from home (or libraries, or coffee shops, or coworking spaces), because there are fewer distractions. Other factors, such as no commute, the flexibility to work from anywhere, having more time for themselves, socializing and hobbies, and a better work-life balance, have also been cited as reasons for this increase in motivation and performance.

Bosses agree! In 2020, Mercer carried out a survey of 800 employers who had gone remote during the pandemic, and 94% of respondents said that work productivity was the same or higher since employees started working from home. Lauren Mason, a principal and senior consultant at Mercer, commented:

“Historically, there has been a perception in many organizations that if employees weren’t seen, they weren’t working – or at least not as effectively as they would in the office. And in most cases, this forced experiment around remote working as a result of COVID-19 has shattered those perceptions to prove that most employees can actually be trusted to get their work done from home.”

3. It’s Bad for Your Mental Health

Our mental health can be positively or negatively influenced by what goes on at work. Unfortunately, job-related stress is one of the leading causes of stress in people around the world. But remote work has the power to improve mental health and employee wellbeing by freeing up valuable time during the work day. The lack of commute and flexible hours means we’re in less of a rush.

Research shows that, over time, commuting can have a huge negative impact on your physical and mental health. Traveling even a short distance each day (16km or more) increases your risk of developing high cholesterol and/or blood pressure, back pain, depression, and anxiety. Cutting out your commute will make you healthier, and happier, and free up extra time for doing the things you love.

In 2019, the average commute time in Europe was 25 minutes each way – almost an hour out of your day! Think what you could do with those extra 50 minutes (including having a lie-in, that’s got to make you feel better).

4. Remote Work Should End With the Pandemic

The pandemic may not be over – we’ll be living with the effects of it for years to come – but as cases continue to decline across Europe, the majority of restrictions have been lifted. There seems to be widespread belief among company execs that remote work only came about because of COVID-19, and now that things are getting back to “normal”, employees should be returning to traditional office spaces, too.

While there’s no denying that the global lockdowns accelerated the trends and made working from home a necessity for millions, remote work isn’t unique to the pandemic. The concept has been around since the 1970s, when the word “telecommuting” was first coined. And over the last 15 years, well before COVID-19 hit, the number of remote employees in Europe and the US has risen at a steady pace.

Between 2008-2018, the percentage of employees working remotely in Europe went up from 7.7% to 9.8%. And the number of people who work from home globally has gone up by 140% since 2005.

5. Only Millennials Want to Work Remotely

One of the most common myths about remote work is that it’s not universal. People believe that only the Millennial generation wants to work remotely, which just isn’t true, according to the latest research. Millennials (25-40 years old) are currently the largest working generation, and as a demographic, flexible working is more important to them than other job perks, but they do not fit the typical profile of a remote worker. According to a 2017 study by FlexJobs, the average telecommuter is over 45, university educated, and earning a higher than average salary compared to on-site office workers.

6. Remote Work “Doesn’t Work” for Culture

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has said he wants employees to go back to the office because working from home “doesn’t work for culture”. And he’s not the only one who thinks that. People who equate company culture with dress-down Fridays or going to happy hours with their colleagues don’t see how this can be translated into a remote work environment.

Of course, when you work from home, every day can be a dress-down day (if you don’t have any Zoom/video calls, that is). But in reality, company culture is about far more than what you wear. It’s better defined as a shared set of values, the collective ethos of the company, which remains whether you’re working in a traditional or home office.

Explore the Future of Work with Stakha

Remote jobs are here to stay, and as businesses adapt to new remote work models, research into their effectiveness will no doubt continue.

At Stakha, we’ve made it our mission to debunk many of the common misconceptions about remote work, because we truly believe it’s the future of work. Remote teams are more diverse, inclusive, and creative – and despite what the critics say, there are plenty of cultures and a place where everyone fits.

Sign up today to find your place in the world of remote work. While you’re there, also explore our list of current full-time, permanent vacancies — there are openings in tech, product and IT teams across Europe.

All Stakha candidates have access to the same opportunities, regardless of their age, gender, or location.