Before the enormous boom in remote work over the past few years - especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic - working outside of the office was still gaining popularity. Coworking in coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels has been a benefit that many workers
had loved for a long time. Getting out of the office or home helped many workers get away from unnecessary distractions. Some employees have even found that a change of location can spark creativity or get them out of a rut with
At WorkChew, we have found that our customers really like the opportunity to keep their employees engaged. Remote working from new locations is a modern benefit that recognizes that people work differently, and have unique needs beyond what a traditional
office provides. Acknowledging that everyone works in their own way, we have also seen some workers struggle to adapt to remote work. WorkChew has found ways to ease those problems and bring comfort to those who struggle with all-virtual
What we thought would happen with remote work
Broadly speaking, many companies and employers didn't expect employees to be nearly as efficient or hard-working outside of a physical office. In practice, we have found that those initial assumptions were entirely incorrect.
Here are the most common misconceptions we found about working remotely.
Employees are more likely to get distracted
At the beginning of the remote work movement, many employers assumed that employees would be distracted and not work while at home. Instead, what we saw was employees empowered by their flexibility, bringing their work-life balance
up to a level that it had never been at before. On top of that, workers noted that they were equally if not more focused at work, getting more tasks done.
A survey by Flexjobs indicated that 95% of respondents agreed that they had higher work performance remotely,
68% said they had fewer interruptions, and 63% said they had more focused time! The fear that employees are more distracted is, in fact, not only untrue but the opposite of employees' experiences.
Remote workers aren’t as productive
A misconception is that if you can't see an employee sitting in their chair in the office, they might be slacking off. Due to these fears, many employers thought that remote workers would spend more time watching TV and browsing the web than working. Once employees got into the remote working space, however, the numbers spoke for themselves.
A study by Mercer in August 2020 showed that 94% of employers say that productivity has remained the same or even improved since their workers have begun working remotely. Not only had most employees kept their productivity levels, but many actually surpassed their previous performance.
IT security could be compromised
Security and IT teams worldwide panicked upon learning that their entire workforces may suddenly have to work remotely. While the fear of security compromises isn't unfounded, most of that fear comes from the unpreparedness for the sudden shift in working lifestyles that came with COVID-19. Things like virtual desktops and software companies’ improve security measures helped provide teams the tools they need to work remotely while also being secure.
Microsoft published an article discussing how the pandemic has accelerated the transformation of cybersecurity and the different technologies that companies have invested in for security, such as multi-factor authentication, endpoint device protections, and anti-phishing tools. The transition may not be immediate with all technology teams, and that is okay. With a bit of time and preparedness, many tools are constantly developing to help accommodate safe, secure remote working
What we lost by working remotely
While we were happy to find that many of our initial fears were unfounded in the weaknesses of remote work, there were a few things that proved to be problematic for new remote employees. From missing out on socialization to increased burnout, there are a couple of big problems workers are facing.
Water cooler conversations didn't happen as much
Chatting around the water cooler or coffee pot is more than just a trope. Employees working remotely miss these interactions and often feel like they miss out on social connections with coworkers. A Buffer
study saw that the biggest struggles for remote workers included "collaboration and communication" (20%) and "loneliness" (20%). Working remotely can feel isolating without the right tools in place to facilitate that same casual coworking experience.
Work/life balance is out of whack
Remote working has led to a pattern of overworking. When your office is also your bedroom, it can be harder to draw a hard line between work and daily life. A study by Robert Half saw that 68% of remote workers that transitioned to remote work during the pandemic work on the weekends.
45% of these remote employees said they regularly put in more than 8 hours of work during weekdays. With rising expectations of remote workers and further obstacles like children and family at home, work/life balance can get seriously disrupted.
How WorkChew solves remote work issues
Seeing these severe issues with remote work, WorkChew has found ways to help employees feel the freedom to not only change up their remote office for a change of pace but to connect with others. Here are just a few ways WorkChew has found they can help employees overcome issues of social connectedness and work/life balance:
Gets employees out of the house
WorkChew allows you to work at local hotels and restaurants to get you out of the house when working. Being at home is productive for some employees, but it can be a distraction for those with children, roommates, or families. Getting out of your traditional office can also help you think more creatively and get you out of a problem-solving rut, so sometimes just a change of scenery can be a huge benefit!
Gets you around people
With loneliness being a big remote working concern, getting out to a local public space can help you feel more interconnected socially. Especially when visiting the same location often, you will even start to build relationships with the employees at the cafe, restaurant, or hotel that you frequent! Sometimes, even just hearing background conversation can help you feel more socially stimulated.
Gives you another place to meet coworkers and clients
Many workers want to find ways to meet with coworkers, but may not have access to coworking spaces through their company and may not feel comfortable inviting clients to their homes. Through WorkChew, employees can plan coworking sessions together at different restaurants and locations, or workers can schedule their next meeting at a popular local spot. Finding ways to stay connected to colleagues and clients is crucial when many workers are slowly getting "Zoom fatigue" from online video meetings that can feel impersonal.
More relaxing / lower high-stakes than the traditional office
Being in a comfortable cafe or corner of a restaurant can be much more relaxing than the high-stress office environment. In an office, not only are you under pressure to perform but you are often getting pulled aside in the hall or through office visitors taking away time from your essential projects. In a cafe, you can relax away from those distractions in spaces explicitly made to be comfortable and inviting.
Gives you a place to eat / park for the day
Working at home can often mean that lunches turn into larger-preparation meals. In addition, rather than driving around to grab lunch, you can park and stay in one spot for the entire duration of your workday. Heading to a cafe or restaurant with WorkChew means employees have access to coffee and meals as much as needed during the workday that the restaurant can easily prepare for you without much effort for the employee.
There are many upsides to working remotely, but there are certainly challenges that come with it as well. From isolation to work/life balance, WorkChew can help your employees get out of the house and feel more socially connected. With our platform, we allow your workers to book space to work and eat at local restaurants and hotels.
We also ensure that your employees are safe with socially distanced workplaces, online reservations, and contactless ordering, letting workers change their scenery without the stress. WorkChew users also benefit from discounted menus, access to exclusive events, and notifications on the newest products to help improve remote working. To learn more about how we can enhance your employee's remote working experience, visit our website!