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Working from home - the postives, negatives and long-term effects

The term “working remotely” is so popular now but one that was not in our vernacular 15 years ago. We have gotten a few searches that are 100 percent remote positions and more that are partially remote. I must admit I was one of the dinosaurs who resisted this trend for a long time. So what are the positives and negatives and long term-effects of working remotely?

Let’s start with the positives. The extra time and expense saved by not commuting is an easy one. “Flex-time”, the ability to work in the evenings and on weekends, is another one, although some might say that is not a benefit (employees may like the flexibility but employers may desire a schedule more in sync with traditional working hours). The lack of workplace interruptions such as meetings, long lunches, or just chit chat among your colleagues is also a potential positive. Some will say they get more done in a day at home than a day in the office. If you are a parent, it can offer more time and availability for your children. The money saved on a work wardrobe. Sounds silly but it is true. Also the company may save on rent by getting by with less space.

Now, what are the negatives? The biggest one I see is the damage to building a culture for a company. If you work with a team side by side and day after day you get a rhythm, style and understanding of culture and expectations. It is also how you learn from others. Sometimes a thought or suggestion comes up in a casual conversation when you are discussing your work that you otherwise would not have considered when interaction is limited to emails or impersonal technology. Some meetings are productive ones – issues are openly discussed, plans are made and accountability is assigned. It can also be good to separate your office from your home. I once read an article about a women who had a home office and she would go out the front door every day to the side door of her house and into the office just to have the separation both in mind and body.

There is no denying that working remotely is a viable alternative in the workplace. Two big factors will always be the type of job and the level of the individual. Jobs that are more technical and analytical in nature lend themselves better for a remote set up whereas a sales position and some management ones may not. Is the best scenario a compromise or maybe a 2 or 3 day option for remote work?

How do you feel about working remotely?

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