Much has been made of how technology now enables workers – executives and rank-and-file employees alike – to do their jobs remotely. All of us have tried this, at least from time to time. And some workers have successfully migrated from office to home on a full-time basis.
Any suggestion that this isn’t the greatest idea is met with cries of “Luddite!” The argument for working from home goes like this: “I have broadband, a fast computer, a color printer and remote access to the company’s back-end data systems. I can do everything I need to do – and I save time on commuting!”
Well, I’ve tried and while all the arguments are at least partially true, working at home only has two advantages over working at the office: no time lost commuting and no colleagues interrupting and distracting me.
Here are the advantages of working at the office: the computer systems at home, while competent, are sorely deficient compared to the ease-of-use at work; while no colleagues can walk up and interrupt at home … spouses, kids and pets can, not to mention errant phone calls, deliveries and come-hither chores; if your task or project requires cooperation and coordination with colleagues, this is extraordinarily easier when physically in the office than trying to wrangle communication remotely – even though it’s “technically possible.”
In my view, there may be certain solitary jobs that can be done as well remotely as in the office. However, most jobs are not particularly solitary, and consequently cannot be done as well remotely. The occasional day – in a pinch – perhaps, but as standing operating procedure, I think not. You???
Erik Sorenson is CEO of Vault, the Web’s most comprehensive resource for career management and job search intelligence. Vault provides top talent with the insider information they need to make critical career decisions. An Emmy award-winning media industry veteran, Erik served as president of the MSNBC cable news channel through 2004. His experience spans radio, local and network broadcast television, cable and syndicated TV, and the Web.
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