Publication by Miro about the future of distributed teamwork

6 remote work myths

Gone are the days of four-wall, private offices with a secretary at the door. Today, more and more organizations are adopting an open flow workspace to encourage and facilitate teamwork and collaboration. These recent U.S. university studies place remote teams at the helm of the future of work.

While it’s lovely to be able to wave your development team over when you need to make a change to the most recent version of the next product release, the odds are that your team isn’t even in the building.

In order to build competent teams of skilled engineers and UI/UX designers, many businesses now look outside their zip code, and even their continent! And not only the team members’ location has changed, but the growth of remote teams has changed the way we work together.

Have you had a chance to read our most recent guide to remote teamwork? If you haven’t, make sure you do.

Being a trend, remote work gains more attention from different sources of digital media. But many aspects of remote collaboration are still mostly in the dark.

Working on a collaborative tool and being a partly remote team, we at Miro experiment a lot with remote collaboration. We believe that great collaboration can give your organization the ability to work at even greater efficiency, moving projects through the pipeline and development process faster and smoother than ever.

All you need is to overcome potential barriers with people, processes, and tools. If you seek guidance on how that is done, just read this guide.

6 remote work myths

Are there challenges to having an outsourced IT team while Ops is made up of remote team members throughout the United States? Sure, but the reality is there are so many myths associated with the complications of a remote workforce.

Let’s take a closer look at some the myths associated with remote work.

Myth 1: Remote workers are lonely and unhappy

The image of a telecommuter can bring to mind some sad scenarios. A salesman in a dark room, headset in his ear all day, or an engineer whose only form of human contact is the late night pizza delivery man.

The reality of the current telecommute workforce is 180 degrees from that perception.

Firstly, the option to work from home is consistently listed as a high priority and valuable benefit by today’s workforce, which more than ever is choosing quality of life as a priority in their career choices. Telecommuting allows employees to assist with childcare and have greater availability for minor day-to-day household needs. By adjusting their workday to meet their personal needs, employees are happier and more productive.

Secondly, the growth of telecommuting has created a cottage industry of alternative home office space for remote workers. Businesses like WeWork are creating an “office away from home” — offices for remote workers to share and enjoy, while libraries, coffee shops and restaurants have added charging stations and “quiet” areas, ideal for remote workers who want to get out of the house.

Myth 2: Reduced communication quality

Flexible work from home scenarios make up just a small slice of today’s remote workforce. The majority of these remote teams are created simply because these executives, engineers and highly skilled professionals are spread throughout the world.

Imagine a highly skilled engineer that meets deadlines, creates breakthroughs in product development and is an independent problem solver and team leader. But they live over 2000 miles away, speak another language and you’ve never met them in person. Can they really be an asset to your team?This idea creates doubt about the viability of remote team communication.

The rapid growth of global teams and a 24/7 workforce proves the opposite.

With the growth of remote teams continues to trend upwards, more and more companies are opting for quality over a local address.

How do these teams communicate?

Developing an open communications plan is simpler than it appears. The advent of applications like Slack or Skype allow real time “shout outs” whenever needed. Additionally, there is no need to track down missing “in-house” personnel. Simply open a group chat and get to work.

By streamlining discussions, updates and changes into one concise platform, teams and businesses have a constant, trackable and reliable communication history that leads to increased productivity.

The transfer of real-time communication from a boardroom to an online tool provides a valuable backup that all team members can access simultaneously and return to when required. For these remote teams and staff members, online communication are dependable, fast and easy.

Myth 3: Meetings are ineffective

The myth that online meetings are ineffective can be challenged by examining two big benefits of taking meetings to the cloud.

More prep work leads to greater efficiency

Remote meetings often require more advance preparation and organization. Inviting the right people and sending advance copies of the agenda and supporting material force the meeting organizer to be efficient and give attendees the opportunity to prepare as well.

Respect for other’s time is implicit

For remote teams in varying time zones, a remote meeting creates a sense of urgency. Everyone is cognizant and respectful of one another’s time and deadlines. By uniting remote teams virtually, major decisions can be debated and finalized more easily and quickly.

Myth 4: Productivity decrease

According to most remote workers, they feel more productive in a “work from home” environment. There are a couple valid reasons for this increased productivity.

Commute time replaced with work time

Get the kids on the bus, get in your car, stop for gas and then start your commute.Or get the kids on the bus and hit the day running.

According to the Census Bureau, the average commute for most U.S. based workers is 25.4 minutes. Working from home can add at least one hour/day of productivity.

Less office distractions

Lunches, monthly birthday cake celebrations and weekend updates are the relaxing part of the office life. But at the same time it slows down and distracts office based teams.

Everyone can relate to watching the clock tick by as your co-worker tells another long winded story as you nod with enthusiasm, gobble down cake and try to sneak back to your desk. While these important milestones and recognitions go a long way toward fostering a great work environment, they also shave minutes off everyone’s productivity.

Necessary solitude

Minute distractions such as noise, “wander by” greetings and unnecessary meetings can disrupt the concentration of even the most focused employees. Sometimes everyone can benefit from solitude and by avoiding constant miniature distractions of an office, employees consistently report a greater ability to get work done.

Myth 5: Brainstorming fails

Even the most confident leaders can find it hard to speak up in a room full of contemporaries. The ability to shout out unusual or new ideas is never more important than in a brainstorming session. So how does on-site compare to online brainstorming sessions?

Think about this. Have you ever asked for ideas and faced a room of silence and eyes looking everywhere but you? It’s a common problem in brainstorming sessions.

The growth of the Internet has completely changed the way we communicate online. For good or bad, there is a sense of anonymity or protection afforded when your “speak” your opinion online. This can be good when it comes to online brainstorming because even the most soft-spoken may feel compelled to jump in with next great idea.

But more importantly, remote teams tend to operate in a less conservative style, where members blurt out whatever comes to mind on messaging tools, with immediate collaborative responses that are echoed back from teammates around the world.

Myth 6: Corporate culture diminished

Corporate culture is defined, not diminished, through remote collaboration. By employing remote workers and virtual meetings, organizations can attract the best and most experienced experts, gathering them in an online collaboration tool that becomes a focal point of communication.

It’s important to choose platforms that match your corporate identity and culture. These tools become the driver for exciting, dynamic teams that enhance the atmosphere of your organization.

Don’t miss out on the benefits of remote collaboration

Is your organization eager to improve communication and collaboration on-site and for your growing remote teams? Consider the benefits that came to the surface as we discussed the myths of remote collaboration above.

Providing cutting edge collaboration tools for local and remote staff not only improve overall communication and productivity, but they give your organization an edge over the competition. These next generation tools provide the platform for a successful 24/7 global workforce that can achieve the business goals you desire.

In the following chapters, we will introduce the four essential remote collaboration types, look at their potential barriers, and introduce rules and techniques to help run them effectively.

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