At FPS, we were remote workers before remote work was cool. But we aren't just trendsetters — we're true believers in the power of the #WFA (work from anywhere) revolution.
Over the last few years, more and more professionals have jumped aboard the remote bandwagon, but we've found that even after the COVID-19 pandemic precipitated an unprecedented shift to remote work, some misperceptions still persist.
So, we're here, your friendly Remote Work Mythbusters, to set the record straight and deliver the facts about remote work.
Without further ado, here are our top 10 myths about remote work...busted:
Myth #1: Remote Workers Are Introverts
First, let's start with an indisputable fact: It's estimated that introverts make up more than half the world population, so it's fair to say that a remote team could have more introverts than their extrovert counterparts. But at the present time, there's no research to back up the misconception that all remote workers are introverts (though many introverts do prefer remote work).
It's also a fact that introverts and extroverts will manage their work time differently.
Introverts are more likely to focus on their core tasks, while extroverts seek out opportunities to communicate with others and are often the first to jump in to put out fires.
If you're managing a remote team, the key is to understand which of your employees are introverts and which are extroverts and empower them to play to their strengths while keeping their workday balanced.
Myth #2: Forget Introverts — Remote Workers Must Be Hermits
Okay, yes, introverts enjoy working from home...but that doesn't mean they're agoraphobic cave-dwellers with DoorDash on speed dial (at least, not all of us). In fact, research shows that more and more remote workers are taking extended trips and embracing travel.
As seen above, nearly a quarter of remote workers traveled for more than 10 days at a time during 2021. And, of course, digital nomads — whose professional and personal lives revolve around travel — are considered remote workers. So while some remote workers prefer to be at home, not all are hermits, and in fact, many use remote work as an opportunity to explore the world.
Myth #3: Remote Workers Never Interact
By now, most of us who've been around the block a time or two know this isn't true. Communication and connection are vital to the success of a remote team and critical to individual job satisfaction.
At FPS, our team members stay connected via platforms like Slack and Zoom and utilize asynchronous communication whenever possible. Mostly, though, it's up to us to support our remote workers in doing their best work while feeling like part of the team.
For us, that includes chatting on some "just for fun" Slack channels and connecting during our monthly all-hands meetings. We also share Spotify playlists and encourage employees to join our business book club.
Myth #4: Remote Workers Don't Have to Do As Much
Are remote employees working hard...or hardly working? If you've worked remotely for any period of time, you already know the answer. Remote workers have just as much work to fill their hours as their in-office counterparts.
But there is a caveat: While fewer remote workers put in the same amount of hours, they're more likely to feel they accomplished their goals. And that leads us to busting our next myth...
Myth #5: Remote Workers Are Less Productive
Are there more distractions remote workers have to deal with? Absolutely. This is why it's an even greater feat that most remote workers maintain or improve their productivity compared to in-office workers.
Why? Because remote work offers greater flexibility, allowing employees the freedom to work how and when it works best for them.
As seen above, only 20 percent of remote workers say their productivity hasn't increased. This shows that with a little more freedom (and a little less "butts in seats" mentality), most remote employees will excel.
Myth #6: Remote Teams Have No Culture
How can you build a culture when your employees are scattered across different locations? We aren't saying it's not a challenge — but we are saying it can be done (and done well). In fact, most employees now say that their work culture has improved since they went remote.
At FPS, we've been working on remote culture for years now, and we've found that while it takes careful and intentional planning, remote team culture is exceedingly rewarding and just as meaningful (or more) than a traditional workplace culture.
Myth #7: Few Jobs Can Be Done Remotely
Think you have to work in IT to land a remote job? Not so. In fact, one thing that pandemic taught us is just how many jobs can be done from home (or anywhere else). In fact, across industries, a vast majority of knowledge work positions can be completed remotely.
There will always be jobs that must be done in person, but at the same time, the range of remote roles is increasing and expanding.
Myth #8: Remote Work Is Only for Certain People
Think you have to have a Ph.D. and six-figure income potential to qualify for remote work? Think again. In reality, remote workers tend to be very similar to office workers, at least when it comes to averages.
But while most remote workers today do have college degrees, the times are changing. As the demand for remote positions grows, more employers are looking for candidates with the right mix of experience and skills — and not how many letters than have after their name.
At the same time, the demographics have shifted in recent years, and remote work is no longer for those fresh out of college. In fact, digital nomads are starting later in life, and the average age of all remote workers is on the increase.
Myth #9: Remote Work Pays Less Than a Traditional Office Job
We're not sure where this one started, but it might be because of the previously busted myth that remote workers don't have as much to do. Overall, there isn't much difference between salaries for remote vs. office workers, but when we dig into the numbers, we can see that remote employees edge out their in-person counterparts.
As remote work becomes increasingly more popular and accepted, it's likely we'll see the pay rates continue to meet or exceed that of office workers.
Myth #10: Remote Workers Are Lonely and Unhappy
This is a tough one because it's true that remote workers do cite loneliness as one of their biggest challenges. However, they also say that they enjoy greater work/life balance, higher job satisfaction, and overall happiness due to their remote work status.
No matter where or how an employee works, their mental health matters. And what we can say for sure is this — switching to remote work is an adjustment, but it does get easier.
Experienced remote workers are more satisfied, more productive, and have a greater sense of belonging. So if you're anxious about making the leap, just know that it all gets better with time.
One More Myth About Remote Work
Myth: You don't have what it takes.
Truth: You 100 percent do.