Separating fact from fiction: 8 workplace myths debunked

, Product Marketing | May 10, 2017

“Truth” can be a game of smoke and mirrors, the difference between fact and fiction fuzzier now more than ever. But when working with our teams, it’s extremely important to understand our own biases and predispositions in order to collaborate at our best.

Teaming up with our friends at Trello and join.me, we surveyed 1,000 people about 8 workplace “myths.” Based in fact, these results give you the power to flush out processes that don’t work and build the ones that do.

Myth #1: Everyone loves teamwork

“Go team!” says about 36% of us. When asked, 36% said they prefer working on a team, compared to the 32% who prefer working independently and the 33% who could go either way.

Just because a teammate doesn’t have the “rah-rah” spirit that others may doesn’t make them any less important to the team. It’s actually very important to have a diversity of personalities on teams—introverts, extroverts, and everything in between.

Myth #2: We all use the same tools to get work done

It can be tempting to make everybody stick with the same suite of tools, given the sheer number of options out there. But simplicity for simplicity’s sake can be shortsighted.

We found that 78% of businesses plan to expand the number of SaaS platforms they use over the next three years, raising the average number of applications to 7.

Line up your stack with the tools that benefit your team, and take advantage of all the free or pay-per-seat options out there that won’t break your budget. Arm your sales team with join.me for flawless pitches, set your project manager up in Trello, and get everyone up and running on HipChat.

Sound overwhelming? It really isn’t, because these tools are built to work together. Integrations help your team work better together no matter which tools they use the most.

Myth #3: It’s cool to text my team after hours

We spend a lot of time on our phones, but that doesn’t mean we want to be working on them at all hours. We found that 29% (the majority by 12%) of people would like to eliminate texting as a communication for work—as did 28% (the majority by 11%) of Millennials aged 21 to 34.

Boundaries are your friends—yes, even if you’re the type that lives for the hustle. Encourage a “time and a place” for communication. Make only certain days of the week “meeting-friendly” to balance collaboration and GSD (get stuff done) time.

Use HipChat’s personalized status updates let others know if you’re available, away, or in “do not disturb” mode. And make sure to set notifications to reflect the importance of some rooms over others.

Myth #4: Everyone on my team has the same goals

First, define “your team”. Of those surveyed, 30% had multiple definitions, and none of those could be clearly defined as the most common.

Most teams have contributors from different departments or levels in your company—and with that, a tangled web of deadlines, priorities, goals, and approvals.

Create alignment by rallying your team around one common project goal. Set priorities early, and encourage real-time updates in your shared tools like Trello and HipChat.

When working with external stakeholders, nail communication on day one by sharing project goals and deadlines through video chat and screen sharing; this will help avoid any assumptions or unclear expectations down the line.

When working with outside vendors, ask them about competing priorities in the beginning, and set regular project reviews to ensure your deadline won’t slip.

Myth #5: Working remote will hinder my team

It’s 2017, and yes, you can work from anywhere—your couch, a coffee shop, or even the beach. You might think this hinders productivity, but it actually does the opposite.

We found that 32% of professionals work remotely at least one day a week, and 83% said it had little to no impact on their work. Even 80% of workers reported they were equally or more productive when working from home.

So don’t be afraid to let people work remotely. A happy employee is a productive employee. Recent surveys show that flexible work environments and work-life balance are the top two factors employees look for in their jobs, outpacing even salary.

As long as you have the right tools to stay connected, your team can just as easily (or more easily) get their stuff done, even if it’s in their pajamas.

Myth #6: Millennials don’t work well with others

There are a lot of negative assumptions out there about Millennials in the workplace, but our data shows that at least one of them is definitively untrue: Millennials actually tend to do more work in teams compared to other generations we surveyed. Most of their projects are team-oriented, and they like that!

But that doesn’t mean that Millennials should have team-only projects and roles. Along with teamwork, Millennials really value independent thinking. They want to have the option to think and produce on their own because they recognize that not everyone is built the same.

The most important thing for a manager or team lead is to get to know each one of your team members for who they are, and establish regular team check-ins and goal-setting to ensure you’re supporting their professional development.

Myth #7: Congratulating the team is enough

When the team crushes a goal or gets a project submitted ahead of time, kudos all around is deserved. But make sure you don’t ignore the individual efforts from your team members.

People report that teams are more often recognized for their work than individual contributors, but that people feel twice the emotional reward for recognition for individual work.

Create a 5-minute time slot in your weekly team meeting to recognize special efforts in a group setting. Dedicate a public HipChat room to recognizing achievements and encourage company-wide participation. (Bonus points for using Karma Bot, which awards and keeps track of “karma points” given to team members!)

Myth #8: It’s best to find fast fixes for team issues

There can be a lot of teamwork issues that crop up in a day, but finding quick fixes under pressure won’t get the long term results you’re looking for.

When surveyed about the top team problems, we found that 23% of people would like to communicate more often, 21% hope for more efficient meetings, 20% want task assignments to be better organized, and 18% would like to orchestrate team task handoffs more smoothly.

There’s a learning curve that comes with any new tool or process, so make sure to consider how the solutions you introduce will successfully scale over time as your team grows in size, location, and responsibilities. Plan out a timeframe to research, discuss, and draft up a solution, just like you would with any important project.

Check out all the data in the infographic, or click through the slideshow below!