5 Myths About Remote Work, and What’s Actually True

Hey there! If you’re reading this, we think 1) you’re pretty cool, and 2) you might be interested in checking out what remote work looks like at ALX Community! Yeah? Terrific! We’ve only got a handful of offices left, so reach out to snag one before they’re gone!

It was the email heard ‘round the working world: In late April, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tapped out a lengthy manifesto to some 6,000 employees, announcing that they were now free to work from wherever they wanted—Airbnb was goin’ remote.

In the following weeks, more than one million people swarmed the Airbnb careers page, a fact shared by Chesky in an exclusive sit-down video interview with the Washington Post in May. Perched on a chair in a light-splashed room in New York—a leader by example, he’s been working remotely from Airbnbs since January—Chesky doubled down on his promise of permanent WFH status with one sweeping hot take: “The office as we know it is over.”

This kind of statement is why comment sections were invented. Commenter ‘Dc facts’ chimed in early with “THE FIRMS THAT GO BACK TO THE OFFICE WILL OUTPERFORM. COLLABORATION AND MEETING IN PERSON HAS ITS BENEFITS AS WELL” (true), to which ‘Havenpool’ responded, “It does BUT NOT IF EVERYBODY SHOUTS” (also true).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Image-from-iOS-21-2-1024x768.jpg
Our meeting rooms are all smiles, no shouting. All photos by ALX Community

The virtues of in-person meetings aside (which—fun fact—can also be held outside of traditional office board rooms, thanks to state-of-the-art meeting rooms with flexible rates like ours) one clear takeaway remains: People really, really like to work remotely (just ask the 4.54 million American workers who quit their jobs in March because they could no longer work from home). But people are also really, really confused about what that looks like, thanks to the jumble of words used to describe it (hybrid, telecommuting, flextime, coworking…).

Which underscores the point Chesky was trying to make all along. When asked by the Post why he thought his new work policy would be successful, he replied, “Ultimately, I don’t believe that CEOs can dictate how people work. The market will. The employees will. Flexibility will be the most important benefit after compensation.”

Flexibility will be the most important benefit after compensation.

Let’s debunk some myths then, shall we?

This could be you if your boss quits playin.’

Myth #1. Working remotely means sitting alone on the couch in sweatpants.

Remember that hazy sliver of time in March 2020 when the government told us to quarantine, meaning we couldn’t go to work, but no one knew for how long, so managers just kind of waited it out as employees passed the time learning Tik Tok dances with their parents? This is why we associate remote work with working alone on the couch in sweatpants—because two years ago, the only place you could work from was at home, and “work” meant little more than refreshing your email while waiting for a vague update from HR on what you could do for eight hours a day that would garner a paycheck, all the while binge watching Love Is Blind. On the couch. In sweatpants.

The context here is important. Pre-pandemic, only 5% of employees worked remotely. By May 2020, that number jumped to 60%. And stayed there. In February 2022, Pew Research reported that 59% of employees had chosen to continue working from home, because as it turns out, their jobs could have been done from home this whole time, and the increased work-life-balance sure was nice (as was the lighter dry cleaning bill). According to Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work, when asked where they’d prefer to work if the pandemic ended today, slightly more than half (59%) of people said they wanted to primarily work from home, and 41% wanted to work from other locations, such as coworking spaces like yours truly. All of which is to say: not on the couch wearing sweatpants.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is website-4.jpg
“I sure would hate to work on a waterfront patio,” said no one ever.

Myth #2. My productivity will suffer from working remotely.

Historically, the mention of “remote work” or “working from home” would fall somewhere between slacking off and playing hooky on an HR scorecard. However, a lot changed when the pandemic leveled the office playing field and sent everyone home to figure out how to, well, work. As it turns out, not only are employees incredibly adaptable to different work environments, but also incredibly productive. A two-year study of more than 800,000 employees at Fortune 500 companies found that most people reported stable or even increased productivity levels after working from home during the pandemic, versus the same period in 2019.

Myth #3. I’ll never feel like I’m “off.”

This is an incredibly common WFH fear, but one that can be easily tackled with a little creativity. Approach the work day like you normally would, starting with your usual morning routine (coffee, shower, kids’ drop-off). When it’s time to “go” to work, grab some items that you’d usually take to the office, such as your backpack or to-go mug of coffee, and take them with you to your work zone. Do this whether you’re heading to your kitchen table, a coworking space, or a picnic table in the park. Once your workday is finished, do the regular things you’d do before leaving the office, like closing every browser window and turning off your computer (or at least logging out). Then, grab your backpack and empty to-go mug and “leave” the office. It might sound silly at first, but even the smallest visceral moments can act as signals to your muscle memory that work is done for the day, whatever environment you’re in.

Relaxing with cocktails at Above ALX is one way to signal the end of the work day.

Myth #4. I can’t get anything done at home, so my only other option is the coffee shop.

File this under “remote work urban legends,” because coffee shops are nothing if not terrifying when it comes to the idea of focusing in order to do work. There’s the whirring espresso machine, beeping food warmer, and nonstop auctioning of drinks—forget trying to Zoom unless you enjoy being side-eyed by your colleagues on camera before having your boss tell you to mute yourself. If you’re in need of a workspace that’s neither your apartment nor the nearest Starbucks, we’ve got you: Our single-use day passes put you in charge on days when showing up is extra important, whether you’re looking for the promise of silence in one of our beautiful, serene Flex desk areas, or the AV tools to level things up in a private office for that next Zoom meeting.

Myth #5. My roommates won’t respect my schedule.

One word: boundaries. Set them, communicate them, and stick to them. Do you and your partner both work from home? Does one of you seem to have a bit more free time for video games? Or a penchant for pacing while on speaker phone? The moment you feel the tiniest prickle of annoyance, address the issue before it snowballs into resentment. Create a mutually agreed upon schedule and put it on a whiteboard tacked to shared turf such as the refrigerator. Maybe your partner plays video games while you hit the gym on your lunch hour, and you give advance notice of any calls and invest in a pair of wireless headphones that allow for pacing, minus the speaker phone.

Ready to call the shots on flexible work options? We’d love to connect! Book a tour today and get ready for your Zoom clout to soar.