Even before the pandemic forced millions of people to work from home, the subject of remote work has been hotly debated by human resource professionals and managers. Some say, “Hey, we have all been able to connect through various technologies and services, so do we even need offices anymore?” On the other side of the debate, remote-work skeptics think having an entire team that’s displaced is a recipe for poor productivity and performance.  

Here are a few myths and facts surrounding remote work, and what companies can do to create a work environment that’s harmonious beyond the two dimensions of a screen. 

Myth: Remote work contributes to burnout culture 

Fact: Burnout schedules contribute to burnout culture 

Working from home can blur the boundaries of “office life” and “home life” — a clear boundary that was usually delineated by a commute. Now that the commute is removed from the equation, it’s easy to justify staying “at work” until well past quitting time. But failing to shut off is a bad idea for one big reason: Burnout. 

Burnout is a type of workplace-related stress that can arise when employees feel overworked, have unmanageable workloads, or feel as if there’s a lack of clarity in regards to their role at the company. When employees feel burnt out, productivity plummets.

Luckily, employers can get a jump on remote work burnout before morale takes a nosedive. Making your team feel valued and recognized beyond the work they produce is vital to keeping everyone healthy and happy. Virtual experiences, like weekly yoga classes, that offer time away from the grind of work can help keep your team active and engaged, while mitigating the threat of burnout. 

Myth: Remote work kills company culture 

Fact: Virtual experiences are a great way to offer socializing while everyone’s at home 

Remote work presents a lot of challenges for teams who’ve grown accustomed to the usual 9-to-5 office-life. A huge disadvantage of remote work is that it can be isolating for many people who rely on work as part of their daily socializing. When everyone is remote, there’s no opportunity for a quick five minute chat by the coffeemaker, nor is there a chance to head out to lunch together as a team. 

While technology can’t entirely replace the value of in-person bonding, it certainly can help ease the burden of isolation, reigniting your teams’ sense of purpose and connectedness. Setting aside time for your team to engage in virtual experiences is a great way to make everyone feel recognized and get them engaged. Apps like Houseparty and Discord are always a hit, but you could take it a step further and offer your employees a daily stipend to go get lunch and have a “separate but together” lunch power hour. Check out Thriver’s employee prepaid Treat Card here

Myth: It’s impossible to promote someone who works remotely

Fact:  There are plenty of opportunities to train remote employees, if you’re adaptable 

It’s a logical concern: if your employees aren’t present, how can you gauge their performance? How do you train an employee when you can’t keep tabs on them? And if you can’t train your employees, how will they grow? 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that employers can foster growth within their companies, while still operating remotely. According to one study, 87% of remote employees receive regular training from their management. 

Technology is your company’s greatest ally in facilitating your teams’ growth. E-learning courses, offered by Thriver, provide an invaluable mentorship opportunity that will allow your employees to grow professionally and personally.

Myth: Remote workers aren’t working a full eight hours

Fact: Remote workers are held to the same standard as in-office employees

Remote work doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Remote teams’ schedules are likely tied to your company’s working schedule, meaning they still have to operate within a standard eight hour working time frame. They still have to attend meetings, correspond with their coworkers and get projects in by their deadlines. So you don’t have to worry too much — just because employees are working remotely doesn’t mean they’re blowing off work to go to the salon or have a picnic. 

Still, if you want to improve productivity levels, you can start by clearly defining what’s expected of your employees, both in and out of office. Are you doing your part to make sure they feel engaged and recognized? Apps like monday.com, Zoom and Slack are free to use, easy to implement and can help facilitate daily communication with your team, and to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. 

The truth about remote work

Human beings are social creatures, and the office is a place of social bonding. While working at home certainly has its advantages, employers need to be wary of their employees feeling isolated and overworked while in a home-office setting. 

These unprecedented times provide a whole host of challenges outside of work, meaning that teams need to be stronger than ever in order to thrive. Setting aside even just a few hours a week to connect with your team members can mean the difference between a company that barely squeaks by during the pandemic, and one that comes out triumphant. 

Virtual experiences, curated by Thriver, allow you, the employer, to create team-building activities such as culture-based experiences and events, physical and mental health services and a wide variety of e-learning programs. Choose from over a hundred Thriver-certified instructors and vendors from across North America. Connect with Thriver for more information on how you can give your team the opportunity to learn, be entertained, relax, keep busy and improve their professional skills. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Investing time in your team is what will keep you thriving in a changing world.