This is an interesting article. They only interviewed three people, so I don’t think this is totally representative of the capabilities of remote workers. I can completely understand the viewpoint of establishing yourself and making the face-to-face connections when possible. It definitely helps in personalizing things. But what if you don’t have that kind of flexibility? One of the workers worked in the office for three months full-time, then part-time for another three, and only after six months were they able to establish that they could work effectively from home. The problem with this is that those people who work far away from jobs (like me) can’t leave home for those kinds of long stretches. I’ve never objected to going on the job interview, or spending a few days at the beginning of a gig for orientation and meeting people purposes, or even going into the office either once a month or a shortened day (due to commuting) once a week (depending on the job).
The biggest problem is what is said towards the end of the article–HR people and managers who have been burned or are nervous or are micromanagers tend to be the ones who can’t deal with remote work. A large segment of the kind of work that technical communicators create doesn’t require us being in the office all the time. Most of the jobs I’ve had in the last five years were remote positions–some were remote purposely. Due to Skype, WebEx, email, Google chats, instant messaging, and oh yeah, the telephone, work still got done globally. I’d be talking to people in India, Germany, Canada, and around different parts of the U.S., as well as other parts of the world from time to time. It doesn’t matter if you are in the company office or your home office if you are making those connections.
There will come a time that, as one of my mentors told me one time, that companies in cities will realize that the best talent is not right by them, and it’s not going to move to them, so they need to start reaching out and finding the appropriate talent they need. By offering remote options–full-time remote options–they will start getting the best talent to work for them. They will not have to pay for much of the overhead that is needed to house people in an office. The work-life balance will be better for many workers who choose this option.
We still have a long way to go in realizing remote work as a viable option.
What do you think? Include your comments below.