November 21, 2018

Busting 4 Myths About Remote Accounting Work

remote work myths

You already know by now the remote revolution is upon us. Workers are embracing work from home options and flooding to the gig economy in droves. According to a 2017 report, 3.9 million employees currently work from home at least half the time. That’s a 115% increase in remote workers since 2005.

But misconceptions about remote work permeate the phenomenon. Popular opinion seems to be that most remote workers are millennials, but the average age of telecommuters is 46 years-old.

Let’s bust a few more remote work myths and fallacies in the accounting industry. Because according to the Ghostbusters theme song, bustin’ makes you feel good. And Ray Parker Jr. would never lie to us, even if he did borrow a few things from Huey Lewis.

MYTH #1: Remote workers are less productive

It seems intuitive enough: when you’re working remotely, you don’t have the boss looking over your shoulder and you’re surrounded by endless distractions. That should lead to less work getting done, right?

Not necessarily. A study featured in  the Harvard Business Review showed that workers at one business were 13.5% more productive when some remote work was permitted.

The reason? One-third of respondents said they got more done because their home is a quieter, less distracting environment. The other two-thirds cited the lack of a commute, fewer meetings, not running errands during lunch, and fewer sick days.

So the next time your boss tells you working from home is lazy, tell him Harvard says otherwise.

MYTH #2: Working remotely is lonely

Here’s a remote work myth that concerns you far more than your boss–will working remotely turn you into hoarding homebound hermit, stepping outside only to yell at kids to get off your lawn?

Probably not. If your firm is doing remote work right, you’ll still be in regular contact with your team through Slack, video conferencing, and project management sites like Asana and Wrike.

And you’ll still very much be “part of the team” (whether you like it or not.) A Gallup poll found that employees who telecommute most of the time actually feel more connected to each other and to the business than their in-office counterparts.

MYTH #3: Working remotely makes it impossible to shift out of “work-mode”

One of the advantages of working at an office is the physical separation between work life and home life. When you get home after a busy day, you can shift into “home-mode” easily, kicking off your shoes and enjoying a nice Netflix binge without an ounce of guilt.

When you start working from home, that barrier can fall away. You might feel like you’re always in “work-mode,” and that trying to enjoy yourself creates anxiety because you feel like there’s something you need to be doing.

While this obstacle is certainly real, the perception that’s it’s insurmountable is a remote work myth. There are many ways you can keep work life and home life separate when working remotely. Here are a few ideas:

  • Don’t work from home. Choose a quiet spot like a library or hotel lobby instead.
  • Rent out a colocation office space. These are becoming more ubiquitous and many are surprisingly cheap.
  • Block off an area of the house as your workspace. Set strict limits–only work can be done in this room, and this is the only room where work can be done.
  • Turn your phone off or put it in “no distraction” mode when relaxing. Taking it easy gets easier when you don’t hear the constant ding of new emails and messages.

MYTH #4: Remote workers never get promoted

This remote work myth actually can be true at firms that don’t have solid work-from-home policies. If you find yourself in that situation, encourage your bosses to implement better procedures ASAP.

The key to getting promoted when working remotely is project management software. If your firm isn’t using it, start insisting that they do. These apps keep track of the work you’ve done on every project, making it far easier for you to build a case for a promotion.

You probably will have to be a bit more proactive than an in-office employee–many remote workers do suffer from the “out of sight, out of mind” problem. But if you have quality project management software to back you up, it shouldn’t be hard to demonstrate your hard work and make a strong argument for a bump in pay or a higher position.

We thought about bringing in Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters to weigh in, but those guys are super expensive. There are many other myths out there about remote work, but you’ll have to bust ‘em on your own–for now, anyway.

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