Top 3 hybrid and remote work myths

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Both hybrid and remote workplaces are on the rise. Though the pandemic may have forced many businesses to adopt either arrangement, many of them still maintain the practice, while newer businesses implement them from the beginning. A 2023 study by Gallup found that approximately 5 in 10 remote-capable employees are working hybrid, while an estimated 3 in 10 are working completely remote, and only 2 in 10 are working entirely on site. 

However, despite the growing popularity and demand for hybrid or remote setups, many businesses are still reluctant to take up the practice. This is in part due to the myths that still surround both work models. This article addresses the three most predominant myths, how they are unfounded, and how businesses can actually benefit from hybrid and remote work models.  

Where do the myths come from?

Many of the misconceptions about hybrid and remote work come from a combination of preference for traditional methods, preconceptions about productivity, and uncertainty regarding the efficacy of the new models. Despite over two years proving otherwise, such preconceptions still linger throughout many industries where remote work is possible. 

The top 3 myths

Of the myths regarding hybrid and remote work, three rise to the top, representing the biggest concerns businesses have about either work model:

Myth #1: Hybrid and remote work reduce productivity

The biggest contention companies hold against hybrid work is that the reduced distinction between professional and personal lives will lead to reduced productivity. However, this flexibility can actually be a powerful tool for boosting productivity. By eliminating strict schedules and fostering a culture of trust and empowerment, hybrid work fosters environments where employees can thrive. 

This is further supported by research. The 2023 Buffer State of Remote Work Report showed that 70% of remote-working respondents experienced improved focus while working off site. In addition, 50% felt they had an easier time avoiding distractions, while 65% were better able to manage their stress. 

Furthermore, companies can address concerns about productivity by implementing the following tools and measures:

  • Collaboration tools: Platforms, such as Asana, Microsoft Planner, and Wrike, enable team members to manage task assignments, track project completion, and collaborate with one another without time- and fuel-consuming commutes to a central office space.
  • Regular communication: Whether it’s through email, video conferences, or chat applications, constant communication ensures every team member is aware of each others’ assignments, progress, availability, and whether any assistance is needed.
  • Established goals: Using both clear directives and project management tools, managers can ensure that their remote teams stay focused on their responsibilities.     
Related reading: Productivity in the hybrid workplace: Strategies and tips for an effective hybrid work setup

Myth #2: Hybrid and remote work are not secure

The other chief concern businesses have about remote work is that of security, particularly in regard to employees working on devices and networks outside of a company’s control. While concerns about data security and confidentiality are understandable, the reality is that the human element poses a far greater risk than hacking or malware. The 2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report discovered that 74% of data breaches were the result of human error, such as the mishandling of login credentials, or human malice, such as with social engineering attacks.

Fortunately, businesses can implement a few key strategies to minimize the risk of human error and better safeguard their data:

  • Secure connections: Virtual private networks (VPNs) and encrypted connections create a secure online environment for remote workers.
  • Employee education: Regular training sessions equip employees with the knowledge to identify phishing scams, secure their home networks, and handle company data responsibly.
  • Comprehensive protection: Ensure that all devices, both personal and work-issued, have the latest security patches and anti-malware software installed to provide an additional line of defense. In addition, multifactor authentication (MFA) provides an extra layer of security by requiring multiple verification steps before granting access.

By actively addressing potential security gaps, businesses can enjoy the benefits of remote work without compromising sensitive information.

Myth #3: Hybrid and remote work prevent innovation and collaboration

The hybrid work model also often faces skepticism regarding its impact on collaboration and innovation. Critics posit that the creativity fostered by face-to-face interactions diminishes when team members work from different, disparate locations. 

In truth, hybrid work, facilitated by properly managed cloud technologies, can actually improve innovation and collaboration in two key ways:

  • Diversity of thinking: The hybrid and remote work models free businesses from recruiting exclusively within a geographic area, enabling them to hire from farther afield, leading to a more diverse pool of perspectives, experiences, and ideas. 
  • Asynchronous collaboration: The same applications that allow such far-reaching collaboration also enable asynchronous input and feedback. Not everyone is well suited to generating ideas or providing constructive criticism in the moment, within the confines of a meeting. Outside of meetings, team members are free to generate and refine both their ideas and responses before sharing them with the team.

Speak with a Refresh Technologies expert to prepare your business for hybrid or remote work. Contact us today.