Remote Work Pros and Cons

As I said in my earlier post, I work remotely. I’ve been on all sides of the remote worker scheme. In my last job, I was an office worker who worked extensively with remote employees, a remote employee who worked with on-site workers, and a remote employee who worked with remote employees.

In the current job, I was the first try at remote employees. It was nice to be able to work through and figure out how to begin this. I’m happy to report that the hedge against the success (pay for own travel) was changed. Granted, I negotiated my own pay cut to get travel paid for. But it evens out pretty nicely. Part of the reason I so forcefully negotiated the change was that the new tax law meant that I didn’t get to take my work travel expenses.

In any case, the main indicator of success at implementing this is that now there are about a half dozen remote employees.

So what are the pros? Well, obviously working in yoga pants.

Pro – Disconnecting.

Seriously though – it is easier to disconnect when you need to just GSD. I’m a helper, and if I’m not careful, it starts eating away at the time I have for my day job. I remember in my last job, I was crunching on something and had my jabber on do not disturb, and my email off. So my coworker yelled over to ask for help. I eventually just booked a room on a different floor and told my boss where to find me.

When you are disconnected off-site, you are disconnected. My team all know my cell phone number, but that little bit of difference makes it easier to just head down work.

Con – Disconnected

You don’t have that OMG did you watch GOT last night water cooler. If someone is hired between visits, I haven’t met them in person, and that’s so different. I worked with some lovely women from Bengaluru for a few years. I liked them, we got along, but we weren’t close until I was sent to do some training in their office and we got to sit around and gossip during tea break, and ride in a rickshaw making fun of my shrieks (dude Bengaluru traffic is… special). My current boss was my current boss for two months before we met in person.

It takes effort to build friendships across the intertubes. Plus, sometimes an email exchange will make a problem worse, when a drive-by meeting would avoid bad feelings. You have to get a feel for when to pick up the phone.

Pro – no commute. My last commute was an hour each way. I shifted my schedule to miss rush hour, which meant getting out of the house at 6:30, in order to get home in time to make dinner. My husband’s last commute was 45 minutes. We have a reasonably fuel efficient car, but it gets expensive and increases your carbon footprint.

Con – sometimes I don’t leave the house enough. I don’t mean to be a hermit, but…

Pro – it’s cheaper. You don’t have my overhead, fewer days out of work for appointments, more efficiency.

Con – it’s expensive. I fly out four times a year, and they pay for it.

Pro – I get to live where it looks like this in the morning.

There is no con.

Actual unretouched (other than the text) picture of my yard. A couple of weeks ago, I watched a Baltimore Oriole. Yesterday, I watched an American Goldfinch from my desk. My kittens have a drawer in my desk.

It is lovely. Highly recommend.

Next strategies to make it work.

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