Despite the surge in working remotely, remote work skepticism persists. Remote work is widespread – and preferred by many employees – but remote working issues do exist.

Some high-profile cases of large companies like Yahoo retracting remote work policies made headlines not long ago. This news raises the question of if and why remote work doesn’t work.

While remote working can have its benefits, there are some valid reasons why remote work doesn’t work (for some companies and individuals). Fortunately, many of these problems have solutions.

Despite Willingness, Collaboration with Remote Workers Can Be an Issue for Some Company Cultures

For some companies, remote work is not a good fit for the company culture. Telecommuting is almost a given for many smaller companies. Still, there’s been a recent trend of larger corporate businesses ending their remote work experiments.

Many excellent solutions for remote collaboration and management do exist, and many smaller companies put these to excellent use. However, remote management tools aren’t always an adequate solution when collaborating with a team of 1,000 (instead of 10) remote employees.

Why? For many larger companies, innovation and collaboration are vital concerns when competing with smaller, more agile businesses. Corporate red tape can hinder innovation in larger companies. 

Effective, constant collaboration often acts as a catalyst behind innovation. An easy solution to the challenge of remote collaboration is to bring everyone back into the same physical space in the office to encourage this collaboration. 

For example, this need for better communication was the reason behind the Yahoo remote work ban by CEO Marissa Meyer.

Does work from homework? It does, but not for every company size or culture.

Is Accountability with Telecommuting Employees a Problem?

Although remote work statistics show an increase in productivity, this doesn’t mean that every remote worker will suddenly become a powerhouse of efficiency if they’re working remotely.

Managers with remote work skepticism are often concerned that their workers aren’t actually working – and sometimes they’re right. 

In one survey, 64% of remote workers said that they sometimes take care of something personal during their workday. Thirteen percent admitting that they always take care of personal items during work time. This time ranged from 30 minutes to over an hour.

remote work skepticism

Although this might be astonishing when viewed from a traditional perspective, this allocation of time isn’t necessarily abusing work from home privileges. After all, 70% of employers expect that their remote workforce is sometimes taking care of personal tasks. A quarter of these employers guessed that time to be for about two hours a day.

When viewed through the lens of remote work skepticism, this can seem like an obvious reason to call workers back into the office. On the other hand, work from home performance metrics show than many remote employees are still outperforming their in-office counterparts.

If employees are meeting deadlines, the way the remote workforce schedules their time probably isn’t a concern for most employers. However, in some cases, it’s resulted in a productivity drop – causing companies to revoke work from home privileges.

Concerned managers could use time-tracking software like TimeDoctor to track efficiency. The right remote management software lets them watch how employees are spending their hours on the clock. 

Even with the right tools, an individual employee’s dedication and character are worth considering when deciding who gets to work from home.

How Critical Is Face-to-face Time With the Teleworking Workforce?

While employers may be the most likely candidates for remote work skepticism, remote employees should also consider the consequences – like a lack of face time.

“Out of sight, out of mind,” is an old saying, and still holds some truth. Without facetime with managers and colleagues, it’s easier for them to forget about you and your contributions. This lack of face time could result in an employee who works remotely being passed over for a promotion or having their heroic efforts going unnoticed.

Does this mean you shouldn’t accept the offer to work remotely if you’re ambitious? Not necessarily – you can help make up for this distance by being aware of remote communication issues, regularly checking in with your managers, and staying in contact with your colleagues.

Don’t forget to make the most professional impression you can during this remote communication – use to increase the clarity of your calls by removing distracting background noise.

Statistics Show That Remote Jobs Can Impact Personal Life Negatively

Remote work skepticism raises another point: mental health issues.

remote work loneliness

For example, the most common complaint of remote workers is that working from home is depression. A lack of facetime with colleagues doesn’t just increase the chance that you’ll struggle to make a striking impression – it can also leave you isolated.

This isolation isn’t necessarily a reason not to work from home. Prioritizing social activities after work, or working from coworking spaces or cafes can help ease the loneliness.

Even so, remote workers can attest to another common problem: an indistinct boundary between professional and personal life. Leaving the office gives a clearly defined end-of-the-day for most workers in a traditional environment – but remote workers don’t always have that luxury.

This lack of a clearly-defined transition, plus the use of remote work collaboration tools like chat and email, can lead to an “always-on” state. Feeling like they’re on the clock 24/7 can lead to burnout and fatigue in remote workers.

There are ways to ease this problem. Have a post-work routine to help you transition into your personal life, and apply strict rules on the use of work-related communication apps during personal time.

Will Remote Employees Have Everything They Need for an Efficient Workflow?

For some professions, this is a problem – giving remote work skepticism a valid point. Some industries aren’t able to work from home for this reason. For example, expensive design appliances are impractical to afford in a home office.

Do you need these tools every day? If not, remote work is still an option on some days. Is there a coworking space or other area that offers access to these appliances? If so, are you able to batch up your work to take advantage of these appliances while still working remotely?

Don’t forget that office equipment can often be deducted from taxes, giving you a nice break on your second home-office monitor. In other cases, your employer might even offer to pay for this equipment.

Remote Work Skepticism Has Valid Concerns – but They’re Not a Showstopper

There are unquestionably challenges with working remotely. It’s not for every employee, company, or industry.

Fortunately, many of the concerns of remote work skepticism have solutions – and remote work trends suggest that it’s here to stay.