Working from Home?

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Interest in working from home exploded in 2020 when COVID hit and many companies who had never had any remove employees suddenly had to figure out how to make it work.  Most companies did it very successfully- including my employer.  I was lucky enough to be able to continue to work full time throughout the entire pandemic by being home for about a year.

But working from home wasn’t invented in 2020- I know people who had been doing it for years before COVID.  If you have Verizon cell service and you call customer service you are talking to someone working from home- they have closed all their call centers.  A large employer in my area, Principal, already had a significant work from home contingency pre COVID and has only increased it since.  These, and many other companies, have made the decision to reduce their expenses of owning/ leasing office space by having large portions of their workforce remote.

This is why it’s crazy that there are people who are SO ANGRY that complete strangers want to continue to work from home.  Typically these people site two reasons why it’s a bad idea, and neither of them are very good.

#1 People just want to screw around and not work.  I hate to break it to these folks, but it’s just as easy to waste time in the office, and personalities don’t change based on location.  Employees who work hard in the office will work hard at home.  Employees who waste a lot of time in the office will waste a lot of time at home.  And yes, my boss could still track if I was being productive, and so can everyone else’s.  If they say otherwise, they are either a micromanager who everyone hates already, or they have not done a good job of hiring the right people.

#2 The office/ company culture is too important to lose. Most of the time this is just an excuse for micromanagement.  Again, if you have hired well, your people are going to thrive anywhere.   And Zoom and other virtual meeting services exist.  It’s certainly possible to do team building and culture enforcing events online.  I have been involved in very successful ones myself.

I prefer going to the office.  I like having the division of where I work vs. where I relax.  But that’s just me.  I would never think less of someone because their preference is different, any more than think less of someone who has a different type of job than me.  It all comes down to personal preference and utilizing everyone’s unique skills and interests.   In 2022 the technology exists for many people to be able to work from home, and there isn’t any reason to look down on people who wish to pursue those opportunities.  So let’s not, OK?

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