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4 things remote managers get wrong about virtual offices

Remote technologies within the virtual office environment have many intrinsic advantages over traditional office space.

Virtual offices are here to stay! Over 58% of professionals in the United States already work one or more days from remote offices or home, and when professionals are given the opportunity to work remotely or flexibly (with their current employer, or a new prospective employer) 87% accept it - according to McKinsey & Co.

It is clear that remote work and virtual offices are going to continue to be a prominent feature in the landscape of the future of the workplace. So what are remote managers most often getting wrong about the virtual office space, and how are those misconceptions making them less adept at managing their remote employees?

1. “Remote work technology is limiting. This is so much easier in person. ”

Yes, there are some projects and even industries that benefit greatly from in-person communication and collaboration - but the right technology for the right use case can considerably increase efficiency, creativity, and productivity. It’s all about selecting the right set of tools for the job. Remote technologies do come with an inherent learning curve and require some degree of training and management in order to be appropriately implemented. However, when these systems are optimized for the task, the ensuing workflows can far surpass their manual in-person counterparts.

Remote technologies within the virtual office environment have many intrinsic advantages over traditional office space. A virtual ecosystem created by the right mix of technologies allows for real-time project management, task management, allocation of resources, and the attention of appropriate personnel, and most importantly reduces or eliminates redundancy, unnecessary interactions, and distraction from adjacent processes. Focused communication is also significantly more manageable with technologies like Vocal. As a manager, a great set of remote technologies will allow you to tune out the noise surrounding your remote worker and keep them on a clearly defined path to success.

2. “My remote workers have way less work-life balance and are probably distracted”

This is one of the most common objections to remote work that the managers of remote employees express. Despite the prevalence of this belief, Stanford economic research shows that remote workers are actually up to 13% more productive than employees working in traditional offices - with the primary factor being a higher rate of productivity per minute due to more control over their immediate work environment.

Frequent structured contact and expectation setting is a critical foundation of the manager-employee relationship, and in no environment is this more true than in remote work. It is the duty and responsibility of remote work managers to provide engaging technologies, appropriate structure to tasks, and set realistic expectations in the virtual workspace. 

A thoughtfully designed virtual workflow can actually improve work-life balance. The elimination of ancillary work-time investments (like commute time) allows employees to have more time to engage with the other important factors in their lives. Clear targets and goals, an interactive system of tracking and communication, and personalized direct contact can allow remote work to be a dramatically more enjoyable and productive experience in comparison to the traditional workspace.

3. “My team is in too many different places and time zones for remote work to make sense”

There are industries and cases in which the asynchronous nature of remote work across time zones may be a prohibitive factor. However, beyond those outliers, there are distinct advantages to a multi-zone remote workforce. Asynchronous workforces can oftentimes provide better support coverage across the nation or globe. In fact, 16% of global companies hire for exclusively remote positions.

Remote teams across time zones also allow managers to have more flexibility and engage in creative strategies for team and project differentiation and allow for hybrid big-picture strategies within those teams and projects. Remote workforces are inherently more accessible, more customizable, and easier to retask or re-focus as the needs of the project or company change.

4. “If I had a remote team, my company culture would suffer”

Company culture is about so much more than cocktail hours, corporate retreats, and water cooler talk.

Forbes lists “trust” and “values” as being the most important aspects of company culture, and that assessment is actually somewhat commonsensical when we consider it. The ability to frequently and dynamically convey company values and the provision of strong tools for collaboration are the cornerstones of using the remote work environment to enhance company culture.

In fact, many personality types engage with company culture more easily in the less direct and invasive environment of the virtual office. The diversity in the means of communication, and the ability to collaborate in more than one way is a great catalyst for blending the personality types of your team seamlessly into one organization with a singular purpose and enjoyable environment. The virtual office is also superior to the traditional office when it comes to real-time group measurement of accomplishment - a significant supporting factor within the construct of company culture.


According to Professor Nicholas Bloom in a Harvard Business Review special interview, when working remotely, “[employees] started earlier, took shorter breaks, and worked until the end of the day. They had no commute. They didn’t run errands at lunch. Sick days for employees working from home plummeted.” The reality is that remote work is replete with numerous benefits… if you know how to harness them.

Discover how you can unlock the potential of your remote work teams by getting started with Vocal for free, or request a demo today.   

Hassan Moore