I met a lady at a coffee shop recently while working on a presentation for Finland. She shared that her 3 kids work in different industries (business, urban planning, and medical support), all of them work remotely in varying degrees: two have office space that they use… sometimes, and the other has a home office and also uses coffee shops when appropriate. The lady herself had a season of working from home, but openly admitted that the discipline to stay focused and not jump into house keeping tasks became a loosing battle, so she moved back into the formal office setting.
This ‘moving back to the office’ is not about failure or defeat, it’s more about knowing yourself, the environments in which you thrive, and your limits.
Over the past few weeks I have been considering what I like about remote work, and what elements I’m not crazy about. I’ve also been chatting to others, researching, and brainstorming with peers to learn about their experiences. The short and sweet of it? Remote workers like the ability to be flexible and have a choice about how, when, and where the work gets done. As well, the idea of intentionality regarding work results in great productivity, and calls for much creativity in overcoming possible barriers.
The flip side? Things like poor communication, inadequate technology, and undependable Internet access can create great frustration for both workers, and employers. This in addition to the on-going struggle to balance work and personal space (thus the need for good self-discipline!). One final aspect that many individuals working remotely battle with is a sense of isolation and lonelyness.
Like any work situation, you take the good with the not so good…the question lies in whether or not you can overcome, or accept, the aspects that are less than ideal. For me, and for most remote workers that I have engaged with, the pros are great enough that the commitment to finding a way to make remote work, work…is worth the effort.
The number of people working remotely (in varying formats) is growing; next blog join me as we take a closer look at how both the workers and the employers are creating some really successful outcomes.
In the meantime, check out this interview conducted with a remote worker regarding his experiences. And yes, it does beg the question… “What are the key differences between remote working and nomadic working?” Nathan describes the first as being in a position of having an office (whether a home, shared, or separate office space) and the second being in a state of having no constant. What are the advantages, draw backs, and risks of each? A question to be answered by a nomadic worker?
6 thoughts on “Remote working: the ups and downs”
great article, thanks for sharing! This is highly dependent on the individuals involved, but also on the company culture and the nature of the business. As the marketing manager for my company, I am grateful that I can work remotely, as it allows me to spend precious time with my two sons, but also allows me to contribute to my family. Some professions just aren’t set up for remote working.
Thanks for this! You are so right…industry, personality, org culture… all play a role in the success of the remote worker. I would love to learn more about how you manage the work-family balance and what advice you would give to those embarking on remote work for the first time.
Nice post! Would love to hear more about how you tackle those ‘downs’ so they no longer get you down 🙂
Thanks Donald. As I move forward in these post I’ve started to identify some of the areas that deal with those ‘downs’. I would love to hear how you deal with those times.
Stumbled across your latest post, but was drawn by this title. It’s so interesting that three years after this, most of us would live the WFH life, and this post would be kinda relevant. I myself still prefer the no-office arrangement, and can’t go back to a typical 9–5 setting. Anyway, thanks for this post!
Thanks for your comments Stuart. Going back to how things were is not a common desire for most. In my latest research I actually found that the majority of folks (who worked face to face pre-pandemic) are loving a hybrid approach; in other words, they want the choice of where and when work gets done. I’m with them!