Not Everyone is Cut Out for Remote Work and Here's Why

Nancy Anderson
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Remote work can help companies save on the cost of office space, benefits and training. Despite these savings, large companies such as IBM, Aetna and Bank of America began to scale back remote employees in May 2017. Employers are not the only ones who deal with the challenges of telecommuting, since employees might begin to realize that they're not cut out for this type of arrangement. Find out if you're one of these people.

1. Distractions

Remote work requires intense concentration. Even though you're working from home or in a trendy cafe sipping an espresso, you still must pay close attention to work details and respond quickly to any issues. If you're working from home, children, pets, family members or roommates may cause major distractions intentionally or unintentionally.

Having easy access to the internet might also distract you. When you receive personal messages on social media or in your inbox, you might be tempted to look and respond, which is a waste of time. Remote work might hinder your productivity, especially if you're used to having a full-time supervisor.

2. Disconnectedness

Video conferencing and conference calls offer a way to talk to your teammates when you have a remote work situation. However, this can lessen the camaraderie and community feeling you get when you're on a team. A desire to boost the social aspect and collaborative efforts of everyone on a dedicated team are two reasons why IBM eliminated telecommuters who work from home.

3. Feelings of Loneliness

Similar to disconnectedness, a feeling of loneliness is common when you work from home. Introverts may love the peace and quiet a home office provides. If you're an extrovert, this arrangement might not be the best idea. Extroverts typically thrive on being around other people. Although working from home offers great flexibility, you may miss the feelings of accomplishment, praise and positive feedback you get from being around your teammates. Your co-workers might also provide encouragement and solutions when you have a problem to solve.

4. Never Truly Leaving Work

Working from home could lead to spending less time with your family and loved ones, since work is always just a few steps away. While your productivity increases, you might actually increase stress and burnout because there's always a nagging feeling that you can always get more done. Working from an outside office lets you leave your work behind in the evenings and on weekends, and that leaves you more refreshed and ready to tackle 40 hours of work per week.

5. Lack of Promotions

Promotions happen when you are visibly present for work. Higher-ups need to see you at the office to gain a sense of trust in your work ethic. Remote work hinders your chances for earning promotions. If you want to climb the corporate ladder with an employer, telecommuting might not be for you.

Remote work can benefit you and your company. However, this arrangement may offer more disappointments than rewards if you're not cut out for it. What pros and cons do you consider when it comes to telecommuting?



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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Danielle C thanks for your comments. It's great that you found a remote position that you love. Truly you are blessed. There are many people who would love to work from home but are never given the opportunity. Even in today's technological world, companies want to see "butts in the seats". They want to see you work - even though you show results working remotely. They want to know that you are giving them what they are paying you for. Not everyone who works remotely is honest, either. They think that the company won't know as long as they are showing some results. I can't tell you how many jobs I have viewed that I would love to have if only the company would allow for a remote option. Sadly, no. I work remotely but never have a face-to-face because I am not located anywhere near them. So, no I am not out of touch nor am I someone who doesn't want progress or change. This is reality from chatting with many companies across many industries. Many managers feel that, since they have to be in the office, so do you and are not willing to discuss a remote option. That's the reality. The points presented in this article are definitely true - distractions - even the doorbell or the phone ringing can be harmful to your progress: feelings of loneliness and not belonging do happen - especially when there's a distance; you never really leave work - it's right there all of the time - even if you close the door. As for promotions - they typically come to the remote employee last. It's just human nature. Most of us weren't raised where anyone worked from home so it's still a new reality for both workers and companies. In the future, I foresee more remote options being made available but they will still be few and far between.

  • Danielle C.
    Danielle C.

    I think this article was written by someone who doesn't want progress/change, and that wants to keep the status quo. It's sad. If you're a responsible human being, and not an imbicile, there is NO reason why having the OPTION to work from home can not be a HUGE benefit for you. That being said, it's important that the company provide for you to work BOTH ways, because the reality is, with any job, actual face-to-face interaction is critical sometimes. But, that being said, it should be up to YOU. If you need interaction with your peers in-person, then the company should be capable of giving you a space you can utilize in the office. If you prefer to keep things remote, PLENTY of technology is available to allow for adequate communication to occur. At the end of the day, no matter WHERE you work, it's the TYPE of communication that matters, not the CHANNEL or method of communication. Bad communication is bad communication no matter where you are, and so it is with bad work. It's not the location, but the quality that makes a real difference. That's why ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) makes so much sense. It's not how many hours you spend I.

  • Danielle C.
    Danielle C.

    I worked from home for Gap Inc., and it was the most amazing experience of my life! It helped me achieve work/life balance!! Now, I won't take a job where I can't work from home! They called it "ROWE". So I owe my life to ROWE!! Thanks ROWE!!

  • Edward K.
    Edward K.

    I worked from home last tax season for Intuit and it was fantastic. Asked to return again this tax season and I'm eager to go back.

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