Myths About Telecommuting in Indonesia

Telecommuting has become more common in the last few years. Reuters news agency reported in 2012 that about 20% of workers globally, work from home every day. In Indonesia, the percentage was higher, at 34%.

Culturally, however, people still tend to think that "If you are not working in the office, then you are not really working". This is despite the fact that telecommuting workers are paid just as much as those who go to the office.

Here are some other myths related to this growing method of working in Indonesia.

Myth #1: Disciplining employees is the biggest challenge with telecommuting

"Since noticing that I work from home, other parents in my child’s school often ask me to hangout with them while waiting for kids. I politely refuse by saying that I have to work. But sometimes they forced me a little bit by saying, 'Come on, no boss around, you’re free...' They don't understand that I, too, have deadline and target, which will be difficult to achieve if I’m not disciplined,” says Nelly, 30, a sales & marketing staff.  

Efi, a twenty-something who works as a social media manager also experienced this. "My mom often asks me to accompany her to the mall during office hours and I have to keep on reminding her that I am actually working," she says.

The biggest challenge actually lies in disciplining and changing the mindsets of the families and friends of employees.

Myth #2: You can do whatever you want, when you want

"I often get the comment, 'Oh how fun, you can sit back and relax. No need to get up early, you can even take a nap.' In fact, although I don’t have to go to office, I still keep my routines during office hours. I wake up in the morning, prepare myself –shower, breakfast– then work, break for lunch, then continue working again. The only difference is just I don’t need to go to the office.”,  says Indah, 34, who works as a manager for a private company in Jakarta.

While telecommuting gives one some flexibility, it is important to set up routines as if one is going to the office, i.e. starting work on time, observing deadlines. Otherwise, other team members' work will be adversely affected.

Myth #3: You will be less likely to get promoted

Ivan, a supervisor busts this myth, saying that "with telecommuting, the focus is in fact, on the output of an employee rather than his or her ability to play politics. Thus, someone who delivers and performs well has an equal chance of getting promoted."

Myth #4: You will die of boredom

Facing the computer screen for hours, not meeting anyone... Is it really how one should work remotely? Maya, 35, a financial consultant refutes this. "I can change my surrounding and atmosphere constantly. I either work in the garden or go to my favorite cafe," she says.

On the contrary, the telecommute system gives flexibility to the worker in choosing the environment of work that she or he desires. Nowadays, cubicle workers also choose meeting spots outside their office building to add variation to their routines. 

Myth #5: There will be less communication and a lot of difficulties in coordinating work

"We have a WhatsApp group within the team, so we freely share information and are able to chase people for tasks they have to complete,” says Ami, an office manager. "We also have a policy within the company that when we are in doubt, we need to communicate more, not less," she adds.

Using technology effectively is really important. File sharing platforms like Dropbox, Box as well as collaborative software like Wrike, make managing projects easy –even when team members are in different locations.

Telecommuting has clear benefits –not having to spend time in traffic, increased productivity and a more balanced life. However, it may not be for everyone. So examine yourself whether you are ready before asking your company or supervisor about this option.

Read also: 5 Skills that Every Fresh Graduate Should Have

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